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Comparing Spectral Differences Between Healthy and Early Infested Spruce Forests Caused by Bark Beetle Attacks using Satellite Images

Huo, Langning; Lindberg, Eva; Fransson, Johan E. S.; Persson, Henrik J.


Detecting forest insect damage before the visible discoloration (green attacks) using remote sensing data is challenging, but important for damage control. In recent years, the European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus, L.) has damaged large amounts of forest in Europe. However, it is still debatable how early the infestations can be detected with remote sensing data. Some studies showed a spectral difference between healthy and green-attacked spruce trees at the plot level, while others showed that spectral differences existed before attacks. Therefore, a hypothesis is proposed that no spectral difference can be identified between green-attacked forests compared to healthy forests if the differences do not exist before the attacks. In this study, we tested this hypothesis using Sentinel-2 and WorldView-3 SWIR images on 24 healthy plots and 24 plots with mild, moderate, and severe attacks. In the results, the severely attacked plots did not show significant spectral differences in the Sentinel-2 images until August, and the sensitivity was found in the blue, red, red-edge, and SWIR band. Only the red band showed a significant difference between the healthy and moderately attacked plots in August, and only the blue, red, and SWIR band showed significant differences in September, October, and November. No significant differences were observed in the WorldView-3 images at the plot or individual tree level. We accepted the hypothesis that green attacks do not show spectral differences with the healthy forests when the differences do not exist before the attacks. We concluded that the SWIR bands were sensitive to attacks in the Sentinel-2 images with 10 m resolution, but not in the WorldView-3 images with 3.7 m resolution. Further studies are needed to explore the methodology of using WorldView-3 SWIR images for the early detection of forest infestation.


Forest damage; bark beetles; short-wave infrared; Sentinel-2; WorldView-3; vulnerability

Publicerad i

IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium proceedings
2022, sidor: 7709-7712
Titel: IGARSS 2022 - 2022 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium : proceedings
ISBN: 978-1-6654-2792-0, eISBN: 978-1-6654-2792-0
Utgivare: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers


IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS), JUL 17-22, 2022, Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA