Date of Award

Spring 2023

Project Type


Program or Major

Natural Resources

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Russell G. Congalton

Second Advisor

Benjamin T. Fraser


Riparian areas are critical landscape features situated between terrestrial and aquatic environments, which provide a host of ecosystem functions and services. Although important to the environmental health of an ecosystem, riparian areas have been degraded by anthropogenic disturbances. These routine disturbances have decreased the resiliency of riparian areas and increased their vulnerability to invasive plant species. Invasive plant species are non-native species which cause harm to the ecosystem and thrive in riparian areas due to the access to optimal growing conditions.Remote sensing provides an opportunity to manage riparian habitats at a regional and local level with imagery collected by satellites and unmanned aerial systems (UAS). The aim of this study was two-fold: firstly, to investigate riparian delineation methods using moderate resolution satellite imagery; and secondly, the feasibility of UAS to detect the invasive plant Fallopia japonica (Japanese Knotweed) within the defined areas. I gathered imagery from the Landsat 8 OLI and Sentinel-2 satellites to complete the regional level study and collected UAS imagery at a study site in northern New Hampshire for the local level portion. I obtained a modest overall accuracy from the regional riparian classification of 59% using the Sentinel-2 imagery. The local invasive species classification yielded thematic maps with overall accuracies of up to 70%, which is comparable to other studies with the same focus species. Remote sensing is a valuable tool in the management of riparian habitat and invasive plant species.