Climate change affects the change of weather, which can be a great stress for trees. As a consequence of this threat to the vitality of many tree species, methods have begun to be sought that would provide surveillance of large areas under forest. A consortium of Austrian, Bavarian and German institutions, led by the Institute of Geomatics of the Agricultural University in Vienna, conducted an extensive field experiment, the “VitTree” project.
For the needs of the experiment, the scientists selected 140 trees in two groups of spruces of different ages in Bavaria on the border with Austria. Half of the trees had a part of the bark removed in the entire circumference of the tree, 20 centimeters wide at a height of 130 centimeters. Each experimental group consisted of five trees, and in the immediate vicinity there was a control group with also five trees from which part of the bark was not removed. Data collection was conducted at equal time intervals in two different vegetative periods and different geographical areas.
The scientists controlled the fall of the needles, the change in color of the needles, the formation of flowers and cones and the appearance of bark beetles, while the needles were analyzed in the laboratory. Hyperspectral imaging of the area was also performed using an airplane.
The research showed that the younger trees showed minimal changes in the period of two years after the removal of the bark, while the older trees showed changes on the needles and on the canopy. Interestingly, the changes in hyperspectral imaging were noticeable much earlier than in the field.
„The results showed great potential for hyperspectral imaging in detecting changes in tree vitality, ”explains Marcus Imicer of the Institute of Geomatics. In the coming years, several hyperspectral sensors with satellite support (CHIME, EnMap, PRISMA) will be available, which will enable accurate and free data collection.
Source: Energetski portal Srbije by www.energetskiportal.rs.
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