The USGS has teamed up with the NPS, the USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN), and the Sonoran Desert Buffelgrass Coordination Center (SABCC) to monitor the phenology of invasive buffelgrass and to use this information to improve management treatment strategies. Buffelgrass is a perennial grass invasive to the Sonoran Desert that threatens desert ecosystems by out-competing native species and altering fire regimes. Current adaptive management actions have concluded that efforts to eradicate buffelgrass must include application of herbicide, but the herbicide is only effective if applied when the buffelgrass is green. Data on buffelgrass phenology and distributions from citizen (volunteer) scientists and existing NPS inventories will be integrated with climate data and land surface phenology from MODIS data to develop models that detect when and where buffelgrass is photosynthetically active. This information will enhance the effectiveness and optimize the timing of herbicide treatment for buffelgrass by alerting NPS managers in a timely manner so they can implement condition-based management and treat the invasive buffelgrass during optimal conditions.
Ground-based percent greenness observed in buffelgrass (green curve, right axis) plotted with coincident satellite-based MODIS Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) greenness (red curve, left axis), 2010 to 2013.