Project Team: Cumberland Ecological Forecasting Team
Team Location: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama
Daryl Ann Winstead
Dr. Jeffrey Luvall (NASA Global Hydrology and Climatology Center)
Invasive terrestrial plant groups, such as Asiatic bush honeysuckle, are capable of altering a habitat or ecosystem to such an extent that the inherent functions of the system are radically changed. These plants can change the structure of the soil, create erosion problems, and alter the availability of resources, such as water. These changes can have cascading effects felt throughout the entire ecosystem. Asiatic bush honeysuckle has spread rapidly throughout the Cumberland Plateau, averaging complete coverage of 0.1-0.4 hectare per year in several areas. Maps of this invasive shrub group are required to identify problematic areas in order to prioritize sites for management. The goal of this project was to map the location, density, and probability of movement for Asiatic bush honeysuckle throughout the Cumberland Plateau. Ground-survey data were collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Southern Research Station (USDAFS SRS). The data were then used to build a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database, where imagery were incorporated from Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+), Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI), and Terra Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Leaf Area Index (LAI) and Fraction of Photosynthetically Active Radiation (FPAR). Using the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and the Reaction-Diffusion (R-D) model of the species, a spread and habitat suitability model was constructed. Relative density and spread maps for Asiatic bush honeysuckle were derived, which predicted the spread rate and prioritized areas to focus current and future management.