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Remote Sensing, Astronomy,
and Invasive Species
- A History, Glossary, and more! -

- Barry Rice -
- Invasive Species Team -

- First light: November 2004 -
- Most recent revision: October 2008 -

Notice regarding document freshness: This archived version of the Remote Sensing Primer is being kindly housed by bugwood.org staff. However, another, possibly fresher version of the document is managed on Barry Rice's Remote Sensing site.

This page summarizes current information regarding the science and art of remote sensing, especially as it is used in detecting invasive species in natural areas. Currently, this section includes all the basic elements that I think will get you started in your exploration of remote sensing. In the future, I would like to see additional sections that can highlight the invasive species work natural area managers (not just from The Nature Conservancy) are doing that involves remote sensing. While I generated the remote sensing content that forms the core of this web site, guest submissions will be gratefully appreciated and the authors will be attributed. Thanks for sending them to us!

Remote Sensing: a Primer
This set of pages is a guide to the theory of remote sensing technologies, especially as it is applied to natural area management. It starts with a definition of remote sensing and a review of its historical development. Then it describes the pros and cons of digital data vs. good old fashioned film emulsion. An in-depth description of data types is provided (i.e. panchromatic data, multispectral data, hyperspectral, etc.). Definitions of spatial/spectral "resolutions " and "coverage " are provided. Finally, commonly used remote sensing platforms are profiled. Very useful, this last part!

Glossary: Remote Sensing Terminology
Definitions for all the cool insider terminology used in remote sensing. Use them, and you will sound like a pro.

A Physics Review, with Love
A painless, and perhaps even pleasant, review of all the electromagnetism you will need to understand the essentials of remote sensing. If you decide to live without knowing this material, expect to brandish a blank, lost face while all the nerds around you talk about spectral signatures, atmospheric windows, and Wien's Law.

Related Technologies
Methodologies that are almost, but not quite, what we normally think of as remote sensing.

Remote Sensing Projects (in preparation)
Reviews of some remote sensing projects that are noteworthy, interesting, or otherwise caught my eye for whatever reason.

A Remote Sensing Bibliography (in preparation)
Useful papers and web sites on remote sensing of vegetation (and related fields), with very short summary statements on each.

The Nature Conservancy's Global Invasive Species Team staff would like to thank in particular the many sources of images used in our remote sensing web pages. The sources of all of the images shown on the remote sensing platform profiles are explicitly credited, a few images (such as the thumbnails above) are not credited. Those are credited on our acknowledgments page. We thank you!

Voluntary Codes of Conduct in horticulture
All about the set of practices being adopted that will help stop invasions from horticulture.
Weed Information Management System (WIMS)
A fully-integrated hardware and software application for mapping invasives and tracking management actions.
Templates and examples
Adaptive management planning tools such as model plans for sites, weed control templates, etc. Very useful!
Invasive species learning networks
Learn about Invasive Species Networks that help promote best practices for invasive species abatement among staff in The Nature Conservancy, partner agencies, and other organizations.
Volunteer coordination and public outreach
Powerpoint presentations on invasive species, weed pamphlets, on developing weed management areas, and more.

Other site resources

Conservation stories
Invasive species management is not impossible. Read these success stories and be inspired.
Assessments and regional plans
Assessments of invasive species issues for various operating units in The Nature Conservancy.
Weed Control Methods Handbook
An electronic handbook provides detailed information on the use of manual and mechanical techniques, grazing, prescribed fire, biocontrol, and herbicides, to help you control undesirable invasive plants.
Join our listserve to voice your frustrations and trumpet your successes.

Updated March 2009
©The Nature Conservancy, 2005