Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) Detection Using Coarse and High Resolution Multispectral Data uri icon


  • Efficient detection and monitoring procedures of invasive plant species are required. It is of crucial importance to deal with such plants in aquatic ecosystems, since they can affect biodiversity and, ultimately, ecosystem function and services. In this study, it is intended to detect water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) using multispectral data with different spatial resolutions. For this purpose, high-resolution data (<0.1 m) acquired from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and coarse-resolution data (10 m) from Sentinel-2 MSI were used. Three areas with a high incidence of water hyacinth located in the Lower Mondego region (Portugal) were surveyed. Different classifiers were used to perform a pixel-based detection of this invasive species in both datasets. From the different classifiers used, the results were achieved by the random forest classifiers stand-out (overall accuracy (OA): 0.94). On the other hand, support vector machine performed worst (OA: 0.87), followed by Gaussian naive Bayes (OA: 0.88), k-nearest neighbours (OA: 0.90), and artificial neural networks (OA: 0.91). The higher spatial resolution from UAV-based data enabled us to detect small amounts of water hyacinth, which could not be detected in Sentinel-2 data. However, and despite the coarser resolution, satellite data analysis enabled us to identify water hyacinth coverage, compared well with a UAV-based survey. Combining both datasets and even considering the different resolutions, it was possible to observe the temporal and spatial evolution of water hyacinth. This approach proved to be an effective way to assess the effects of the mitigation/control measures taken in the study areas. Thus, this approach can be applied to detect invasive species in aquatic environments and to monitor their changes over time.
  • This research activity was funded by POCI-FEDER as part of the project “BioComp_2.0— Produção de compostos orgânicos biológicos para o controlo do jacinto de água e para a valorização de subprodutos agropecuários, florestais e agroindustriais” (POCI-01-0247-FEDER-070123) and by national funds through FCT (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) under the projects UIDB/04033/2020 and UIDB/00690/2020.

publication date

  • February 2022

published in