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Assessment of Dothistroma Needle Blight of Pinus radiata Using Airborne Hyperspectral Imagery

December 2003 , Volume 93 , Number  12
Pages  1,524 - 1,532

N. Coops , M. Stanford , K. Old , M. Dudzinski , D. Culvenor , and C. Stone

First, second, and fifth authors: CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products, Private Bag 10, Clayton South 3169, Vic Australia; third and fourth authors: CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products, P.O. Box E4008, Kingston ACT 2604 Australia; and sixth author: Research and Development Division, State Forests of NSW, P.O. Box 100, Beecroft, NSW 2119 Australia

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Accepted for publication 7 July 2003.

Dothistroma needle blight is a serious foliar disease in Australian Pinus radiata plantations causing defoliation, decreased productivity and, in extreme cases, tree death. Conventional methods of monitoring forest health such as aerial survey and ground assessments are labor intensive, time consuming, and subjective. Remote sensing provides a synoptic view of the canopy and can indicate areas affected by damaging agents such as pests and pathogens. Hyperspectral airborne remote sensing imagery (CASI-2) was acquired over pine stands in southern New South Wales, Australia which had been ground assessed and ranked on an individual tree basis, according to the extent of Dothistroma needle blight. A series of spectral indices were tested using two different approaches for extracting crown-scale reflectance measurements and relating these to ground-based estimates of severity. Dothistroma needle blight is most severe in the lower crown and statistically significant relationships were found between crown reflectance values and ground estimates using a ‘halo’ approach (which ignored each tree crown's brightest central pixels). Independent accuracy assessment of the method indicated that the technique could successfully detect three levels of Dothistroma needle blight infection with an accuracy of over 70%.

Additional keyword: spectral reflectance.

© 2003 The American Phytopathological Society