A remote sensing and GIS approach to the relationship between canegrub infestations and natural vegetation in the sugarcane landscape of Queensland, Australia


Abstract: The greyback canegrub, Dermolepida albohirtum, remains a major problem in sugarcane areas in the north Queensland, Australia, despite years of control efforts. The adult beetle spends most of its life span swarming and feeding on trees along river banks, rainforest edges and scrubs or even in cane farms, where they aggregate, mate and then return to sugarcane fields to lay eggs. Remote sensing methodologies and Geographic Information System (GIS) analyses were developed to better understand the relationship between natural vegetation bordering the sugarcane fields and damage distribution. Very high spatial resolution images were processed through an object-based classification to map the sugarcane fields and different types of surrounding vegetation, which harbor the cane beetles feeding and mating trees. Preliminary results indicate that the mean distance to the closest vegetation patch is 35 m and does not exceed 154 m and therefore suggest that the trees bordering the sugarcane fields play a major role in damage occurrence.

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