Development of in-situ imaging tools to quantify vegetation stress, plant mortality, and species composition

Friday, 19 December 2014: 5:45 PM
Michael Goulden, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA, United States
We have developed and deployed an imaging system at an eddy covariance site in a Southern California Pinyon-Juniper woodland; our goals are to quantify the species-level patterns of stress and mortality over time, and also to learn how to better interpret the Landsat record. Our imaging system combines a four channel spectrometer with cameras that are sensitive to Visible, Near Infrared (NIR), Shortwave Infrared (SWIR), and Thermal radiation; these cameras include filters that mimic the spectral sensitivity of several Landsat bands. The cameras and spectrometer foreoptic are positioned on a pan-tilt mount on the tower that scans a 300o x 90o area every hour and allows us to collect images of hundreds of distinct plants. The imaging system is being used to test several approaches that have been proposed to detect vegetation stress, mortality, and species composition. We are exploring the potential to detect stomatal closure and stress by: a) increased canopy temperature with decreased evaporative cooling, b) Photochemical Reflectance Index (PRI), c) Fraunhofer line fluorescence, and d) water band indices. Similarly, we are exploring the potential to detect plant mortality by: a) NIR reflectance, b) SWIR reflectance, and c) radiance temperature with soil exposure, and to identify plant species by: a) differential phenological and interannual patterns, b) spectral reflectance, and c) BRDF and the effect of solar angle.