Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)


College of Arts and Sciences


Environmental Management

First Advisor

Aviva Rossi


Invasive plants cause significant impacts to ecosystems, the economy, and human health. California has experienced significant plant invasions and is well suited to future invasion because of its Mediterranean climate and human disturbance. Eradication or control of invasive plant species requires a detailed understanding of their spatial distribution, which typically involves on the ground surveys that can be expensive or inconsistent. Remote sensing offers a potential alternative or supplement to in-person invasive plant mapping. This study performed a comparative analysis of 41 remote sensing studies that mapped the distribution of California invasive plants. I found that while high spectral resolution hyperspectral imagery was most often and successfully used to map California invasive plant species, recent studies suggest that employing low cost, color or color-infrared imagery are capable of overcoming lower spectral resolution with higher spatial or temporal resolution. Imagery obtained by UAVs are becoming increasingly more accessible for the use of mapping invasive plants at the site-scale. From this study, I examine two case studies that illustrate the use of remote sensing for large scale invasive plant management. One case study examines the use of remote sensing to monitor widespread infestations of salt cedar (Tamarix spp.) across the Western U.S.. A second case study examines the use of remote sensing to monitor invasive plants in a complex and regulatorily challenging landscape: The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. I recommend that land managers can incorporate remote sensing to monitor invasive plants by using low cost, color or color-infrared imagery obtained by drone or UAVs, developing partnerships with other relevant agencies, and collecting in-person data using methods that facilitate remote sensing analysis.