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Quantifying Damage from Wild Pigs with Small Unmanned Aerial Systems

Samiappan, S., Prince Czarnecki, J. M., Foster, H., Strickland, B. K., Tegt, J. L., & Moorhead, R. J. (2018). Quantifying Damage from Wild Pigs with Small Unmanned Aerial Systems. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 42(2), 304-309. DOI:10.1002/wsb.868.

Abstract

Wild pig (Sus scrofa) population expansion and associated damage to crops,wildlife, and the environment is a growing concern in the United States. The destructive rooting behavior of wild pigs indicates where they have foraged and their general presence on the landscape. We used aerial imagery with a small unmanned aerial system to assess damage of corn (Zea mays) fields by wild pigs in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley of Mississippi, USA. Images were automatically classified using segmentation-based fractal texture analysis and support vector machines. We assessed the accuracy of automated classification with 5,400 GPS ground reference points collected in the fields. Classification accuracies for identification of damaged and non-damaged areas were between 65 and 78%. In general, automated classification underestimated the area of damage present within fields. Kappa values ranged from 0.26 to 0.51, on a scale of 0.0 to 1.0. Small unmanned aerial systems overcome limitations of existing methods because they can survey an entire field rapidly and without significant field labor.


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