Monday, December 11, 2006

Assessing forest health at the speed of light: Applying remote sensing technology to a destructive forest insect

John J. Riggins, jriggin@uark.edu1, Jason A. Tullis, jatullis@cast.uark.edu2, and Fred M. Stephen, fsteph@uark.edu1. (1) University of Arkansas, Department of Entomology, AGRI-319, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, (2) University of Arkansas, Department of Geosciences/Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies, 12 Ozark Hall, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR

Extensive oak mortality due in part to a native wood-boring beetle, the red oak borer Enaphalodes rufulus (Haldeman) (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) has been occurring in the Arkansas Ozarks. The death of millions of hectares of northern red oaks (Quercus rubra L.) over the last decade has caused economic, ecological, and public safety concerns. Beetle population estimates in 2001 and 2003 were considerably higher than any recorded previously. The spatial pattern and causes of this exponential population increase are still poorly understood. The 2005 population seems to have undergone a dramatic decrease that has been equally elusive to explain. High resolution remotely sensed data allows forest health assessment at a landscape scale. Remotely sensed data were used to detect the distribution and relative stress of individual trees. High spatial resolution LIDAR and multispectral aerial photography were used to generate an oak decline map. The aforementioned datasets were then uploaded to a GIS where they were analyzed for spatial patterns in conjunction with existing digital datasets.

Species 1: Coleoptera Cerambycidae Enaphalodes rufulus (red oak borer)