Canadian Forest Service Publications

Challenges for the operational detection of mountain pine beetle green attack with remote sensing. 2009. Wulder, M.A.; White, J.C.; Carroll, A.L.; Coops, N.C. The Forestry Chronicle 85(1): 32-38.

Year: 2009

Available from: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 29235

Language: English

CFS Availability: Order paper copy (free), PDF (download)


Mountain pine beetle infestations are spatially correlated; current (green) attack is often located near previous (red) attack. This spatial correlation between the green and red attack stages enables operational survey methods, as detection of red attack trees-typically from an airborne survey such as a helicopter GPS survey or aerial photography-guides the location of subsequent ground surveys for green attack trees. Forest managers, in an attempt to understand beetle movement and infestation patterns, hope to utilize remotely sensed data to detect and map green attack trees, with the expectation that the spatial extent, accuracy, and timeliness afforded by remotely sensed data will greatly improve the efficacy of beetle treatment and control. In this communication, we present the biological, logistical, and technological factors that limit the operational utility of remotely sensed data for green attack detection and mapping. To provide context for these limitations, we identify the operational information needs associated with green attack and discuss how these requirements dictate the characteristics of any potential remotely sensed data source (e.g., spatial, spectral, and temporal characteristics). Based upon our assessment, we conclude that the remote detection of green attack is not operationally viable, and is unlikely to become so unless the limiting factors we have identified are altered substantially or removed.

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