Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Quantifying expansion and removal of Spartina alterniflora on Chongming island, China, using time series Landsat images during 1995-2018.

Abstract

The rampant encroachment of Spartina alterniflora into coastal wetlands of China over the past decades has adversely affected both coastal ecosystems and socio-economic systems. However, there are no annual or multi-year epoch maps of Spartina saltmarsh in China, which hinders our understanding and management of Spartina invasion. In this study, we selected Chongming island, China, where Spartina saltmarsh had expanded rapidly since its introduction in the 1990s. We investigated phenology of Spartina, Phragmites and Scirpus saltmarshes, and the time series vegetation indices derived from Landsat images showed that Spartina saltmarsh did not green-up in April-May and stayed green in December-January, which differed from the phenology of Phragmites and Scirpus saltmarshes. We developed a pixel- and phenology-based algorithm that used time series Landsat data to identify and map Spartina saltmarsh, and we applied it to quantify the temporal dynamics (expansion and removal) of Spartina saltmarsh on Chongming island during 1995-2018. The resultant maps showed that Spartina saltmarsh area on Chongming island increased from ~4 ha in 1995 to ~2067 ha in 2012 but dropped substantially to ~729 ha in 2016 after a large-scale ecological engineering project (US$ 186 million) was started to remove Spartina during 2013-2016. Chongming island still had ~1315 ha Spartina saltmarsh in 2018, and majority of it was distributed outside the Chongming Dongtan National Nature Reserve, which could serve as the sources for reinvasion in the near future. This study demonstrates the feasibility of using time series Landsat images, pixel- and phenology-based algorithm, and GEE platform to identify and map Spartina saltmarsh over years in the region, which is useful to the management of invasive plants in coastal wetlands.