PROJECT: Early Detection of the European Spruce Bark Beetle Infestation Using UAVs

Project title: Early Detection of the European Spruce Bark Beetle Infestation Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Project number: 
Programme: Technology Agency of the Czech Republic, Programme "Zeta" (the programme focuses on supporting cooperation between the academia and companies by putting together students of MA and doctorate study programmes at universities and young research workers aged up to 35). 
Project coordinator: FES; Project partner: HSI
Project leader: Ondrej Lagner
Project schedule: 1/2018-12/2019
Total project budget: 5,8 mil CZK


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The European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) is one of the most prominent pests found in the Czech Republic. Infestation of timber stands with this species has severe consequences as the bark beetle is capable of destroying decades of foresters' work inside a few seasons. The most efficient measure is to selectively salvage the infested trees, which prevents the beetles from spreading.

Once the tree is infested with bark beetles, some of its properties change, including its spectral reflectance and temperature, the change of which occurs before appearance of visually detectable changes. Using remote sensing is a promising way of monitoring major continuous timber stands.

In this project, we aim to form a certified method of early detection of timber stands infestation with spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus) using unmanned aerial vehicles carrying multispectral and thermal sensors and, based on this method, to develop a software suitable for use in practice. Such an early detection of infested trees on a detail scale resulting from this project could literally detect individual infested trees and thus acquired information can be utilized for prevention of both economic and environmental damages in the timber stands. Within the framework of the project, we would also like to present this method to both major forestry businesses and small individual forest landowners.

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