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High resolution disturbance monitoring of the Emerald Ash Borer: the future of ash tree health in North America

Authors: Alexander Axiotis*, University of Toronto - Mississauga, Yuhong He, University of Toronto Mississauga
Topics: Remote Sensing
Keywords: Remote Sensing, Emerald Ash Borer, Disturbance, Vegetation Health, Terrestrial Ecosystems
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

In the past two decades, an invasive insect, the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), has continually expanded its range in North America. Now in thirty-five US states and five Canadian provinces, EAB has caused widespread mortality in ash trees (Fraxinus spp.), one of North America’s most widely distributed native tree genera. This has caused extensive ecological, cultural, social and economic ramifications and requires effective monitoring techniques to understand these impacts over large geographic areas. Combining field and airborne hyperspectral data collected from an old mixed-wood forest in King City, ON, we aim to detect various stages of ash tree health related to EAB infestations. This work involves three processing steps: 1) identifying ash trees in the forest using high accuracy GPS units, 2) delineating the ash trees on the images, and 3) relating ground observations with ash reflectance in the airborne hyperspectral. Using the spectral, spatial, and textural information from the hyperspectral data, we hope to propose a workflow to better map the severity of EAB infestations. This work will highlight the challenges and opportunities associated with using high spatial and spectral resolution data for disturbance detection.

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