Time Series Remote Sensing in Monitoring the Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of Plant Invasions: A Study of Invasive Saltcedar (Tamarix Spp.)
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In today’s big data era, the increasing availability of satellite and airborne platforms at various spatial and temporal scales creates unprecedented opportunities to understand the complex and dynamic systems (e.g., plant invasion). Time series remote sensing is becoming more and more important to monitor the earth system dynamics and interactions. To date, most of the time series remote sensing studies have been conducted with the images acquired at coarse spatial scale, due to their relatively high temporal resolution. The construction of time series at fine spatial scale, however, is limited to few or discrete images acquired within or across years. The objective of this research is to advance the time series remote sensing at fine spatial scale, particularly to shift from discrete time series remote sensing to continuous time series remote sensing. The objective will be achieved through the following aims: 1) Advance intra-annual time series remote sensing under the pure-pixel assumption; 2) Advance intra-annual time series remote sensing under the mixed-pixel assumption; 3) Advance inter-annual time series remote sensing in monitoring the land surface dynamics; and 4) Advance the species distribution model with time series remote sensing. Taking invasive saltcedar as an example, four methods (i.e., phenological time series remote sensing model, temporal partial unmixing method, multiyear spectral angle clustering model, and time series remote sensing-based spatially explicit species distribution model) were developed to achieve the objectives. Results indicated that the phenological time series remote sensing model could effectively map saltcedar distributions through characterizing the seasonal phenological dynamics of plant species throughout the year. The proposed temporal partial unmixing method, compared to conventional unmixing methods, could more accurately estimate saltcedar abundance within a pixel by exploiting the adequate temporal signatures of saltcedar. The multiyear spectral angle clustering model could guide the selection of the most representative remotely sensed image for repetitive saltcedar mapping over space and time. Through incorporating spatial autocorrelation, the species distribution model developed in the study could identify the suitable habitats of saltcedar at a fine spatial scale and locate appropriate areas at high risk of saltcedar infestation. Among 10 environmental variables, the distance to the river and the phenological attributes summarized by the time series remote sensing were regarded as the most important. These methods developed in the study provide new perspectives on how the continuous time series can be leveraged under various conditions to investigate the plant invasion dynamics.