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: Knowledge of the floral cycle and the spatial distribution and abundance of flowering plants is important for bee health studies to understand the relationship between landscape and bee hive productivity and honey flow.The key objective of this study was to show how AISA Eagle hyperspectral data and random forest (RF) can be optimally utilized to produce flowering and spatially explicit land use/land cover (LULC) maps for a study site in Kenya.Specifically, attention has been paid to factors that threaten honeybee health such as parasites, pathogens, abiotic stress factors, and land use and land cover (LULC) changes that often lead to a decrease in flowering plants within the landscape matrix.Essentially, the quality and quantity of honey and honey products is reliant on the availability of flowering melliferous plants (as pollen and nectar sources) in the landscape .
Hyperspectral data offer dozens to hundreds of narrow and contiguous spectral measurements in the visible (400–700 nm), near infrared (700–1300 nm), and often in the shortwave near infrared (SWIR:1300–2500 nm) regions of the electromagnetic spectrum [9,10] that allow the depiction of subtle spectral features often within complex landscapes such as semi-arid savannas [11,12].
The spatio-temporal floral coverage within a landscape mosaic depends mainly on local environmental factors [6,7], landscape fragmentation and land form.
Regular field investigations to better understand spatio-temporal floral patterns are costly, time-consuming, tedious, and relatively inaccurate especially if performed by various field observers.
We applied our classification approach to two different time points to evaluate the repeatability of our methods and test whether the approach could be transferable to different floral periods ( and is located about 17 km north of Mwingi town in the Kitui County of Kenya (0.770°S and 38.143°E, 933m above sea level) (Figure 1).
Mwingi is a semi-arid area with two rainy seasons that peak in April (147 mm mean annual precipitation in a normal period) and in November (270 mm mean annual precipitation in a normal period) .