Aerial imaging pinpoints diseased forest trees

British researchers have successfully used remote sensing technology to identify trees affected by Phytophthora ramorum.

Uninfected (left) vs. infected plots - image: University of Leicester
Uninfected (left) vs. infected plots - image: University of Leicester

LiDAR (light detection and ranging) maps collected using laser sensors supplied by aerial mapping company Bluesky have for the first time been used to successfully pinpoint individual larch trees affected by Phytophthora ramorum.

Professor Heiko Balzter of the University of Leicester said: "We hope that better ways of monitoring the outbreaks and spread of diseases in our forests will help the Forestry Commission and private land owners to respond more effectively to such outbreaks."

When trees show disease symptoms of defoliation and dieback, these show up as irregularities across the canopy. Sample plots of two study sites in Wales were assessed using different segmentation algorithms to detect these.

LiDAR has been used extensively to derive canopy height models, which form the basis of Bluesky’s National Tree Map. But its use to identify individual trees affected by diseases "has, until now, been underutilised", according to lead author of the study Chloe Barnes.

Balzter added: "University research in close collaboration with companies like Bluesky provides huge opportunities for turning research outcomes into real-world applications."

The research is published in the journal Remote Sensing.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Horticulture education update - staying on course

Horticulture education update - staying on course

Raised levels of investment in horticulture education and increased student take-up is welcome news for the industry, says Rachel Anderson.

Tree planting guide - three basic rules

Tree planting guide - three basic rules

Choosing the right plant, correct planting procedure and best aftercare are the three basic rules for sucessful tree planting, Sally Drury explains.

Tree planting - what are the benefits of planting trees?

Tree planting - what are the benefits of planting trees?

Mitigating climate change, providing windbreaks and reducing the risk of soil erosion are some of the best reasons for planting trees, says Sally Drury.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Arboriculture Contracts & Tenders

Jeremy Barrell On...

Jeremy Barrell

Tree consultant Jeremy Barrell reflects on the big issues in arboriculture.

Products & Kit Resources