Accurate identification of cacti, whether seen as an indicator of ecosystem health or an invasive menace, is important. Technological improvements in hyperspectral remote sensing systems with high spatial resolutions make it possible to now monitor cacti around the world. Cacti produce a unique spectral signature because of their morphological and anatomical characteristics. We demonstrate in this paper that we can leverage a reflectance dip around 972 nm, due to cacti’s morphological structure, to distinguish cacti vegetation from non-cacti vegetation in a desert landscape. We also show the ability to calculate two normalized vegetation indices that highlight cacti. Furthermore, we explore the impacts of spatial resolution by presenting spectral signatures from cacti samples taken with a handheld field spectroradiometer, drone-based hyperspectral sensor, and aerial hyperspectral sensor. These cacti indices will help measure baseline levels of cacti around the world and examine changes due to climate, disturbance, and management influences.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Global and Planetary Change
- Nature and Landscape Conservation