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Title: Hyperspectral, thermal and LiDAR remote sensing for red band needle blight detection in pine plantation forests
Authors: Śmigaj, Magdalena
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Climate change indirectly affects the distribution and abundance of forest insect pests and pathogens, as well as the severity of tree diseases. Red band needle blight is a disease which has a particularly significant economic impact on pine plantation forests worldwide, affecting diameter and height growth. Monitoring its spread and intensity is complicated by the fact that the diseased trees are often only visible from aircraft in the advanced stages of the epidemic. There is therefore a need for a more robust method to map the extent and severity of the disease. This thesis examined the use of a range of remote sensing techniques and instrumentation, including thermography, hyperspectral imaging and laser scanning, for the identification of tree stress symptoms caused by the onset of red band needle blight. Three study plots, located in a plantation forest within the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park that exhibited a range of red band needle blight infection levels, were established and surveyed. Airborne hyperspectral and LiDAR data were acquired for two Lodgepole pine stands, whilst for one Scots pine stand, airborne LiDAR and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle-borne (UAV-borne) thermal imagery were acquired alongside leaf spectroscopic measurements. Analysis of the acquired data demonstrated the potential for the use of thermographic, hyperspectral and LiDAR sensors for detection of red band needle blight-induced changes in pine trees. The three datasets were sensitive to different disease symptoms, i.e. thermography to alterations in transpiration, LiDAR to defoliation, and hyperspectral imagery to changes in leaf biochemical properties. The combination of the sensors could therefore enhance the ability to diagnose the infection.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Engineering

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