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Moth and Birch

Pivotti, Valentina (2017) MASM01 20171
Mathematical Statistics
Abstract
The goal of this thesis is to build a near-real time defoliation detector that
could be used, early in the spring, to find out which areas of a birch forest are
being affected by an insect outbreak. The importance of a reliable detection
at the beginning of the spring lies on the possibility for an early intervention.
The data on which the study is based is the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), which is calculated from the 8-days interval measurements, obtained from the MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer
(MODIS). Further available information that is included in the analysis are
the forest fraction and the altitude of each pixel.
The first step of the analysis is fitting a function to the measurements
of... (More)
The goal of this thesis is to build a near-real time defoliation detector that
could be used, early in the spring, to find out which areas of a birch forest are
being affected by an insect outbreak. The importance of a reliable detection
at the beginning of the spring lies on the possibility for an early intervention.
The data on which the study is based is the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), which is calculated from the 8-days interval measurements, obtained from the MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer
(MODIS). Further available information that is included in the analysis are
the forest fraction and the altitude of each pixel.
The first step of the analysis is fitting a function to the measurements
of each pixel whose parameters could capture the important aspects of the
changes in NDVI values. Among them, the final NDVI value that is reached
during the summer is of particular interest since an abnormally low value
could be the indication of an insect infestation.
Different assumptions are made on the error distribution. The first ones,
more simplystic, do not manage to counteract the noise. A more complex
error structure is thus taken into account, leading to a better estimate which
is then used to build the estimator.
The idea behind the detector is to identify those pixels for which the
NDVI does not reach its high late spring/summer values fast enough, with
respect to other pixels and previous years. It is known that the two years,
among those available in the dataset, that have suffered a moth outbreak
are 2004 and 2013. Hence, the estimation of the fitting function is run for
2000-2003, the detector is tried on 2004 and finally tested on 2013, since
for this year a few locations of the outbreak were known. The discrepancy
between field data and the results generated by the detector suggests further
adjustments that would improve the capacity to detect moth infestation. (Less)
Popular Abstract
Early and reliable detection of pest infestation in forests is crucial to protect
the health of trees. Insect outbreaks are an important cause of defoliation:
they delay the blossoming of leaves and thereby affect the growth of trees.
Such delays lower the economic potential of forests as well as their capacity
to absorb atmospheric CO
2
. The aim of this thesis is to use mathematical
models to build a near real-time detector that can identify abnormal behavior in forest growth, which can be the sign of pest infestation. In order
for the detector to provide effective early warnings, the analysis uses high
time-resolution satellite images.
In particular, the detector is based on data collected at the Abisko National Park in the... (More)
Early and reliable detection of pest infestation in forests is crucial to protect
the health of trees. Insect outbreaks are an important cause of defoliation:
they delay the blossoming of leaves and thereby affect the growth of trees.
Such delays lower the economic potential of forests as well as their capacity
to absorb atmospheric CO
2
. The aim of this thesis is to use mathematical
models to build a near real-time detector that can identify abnormal behavior in forest growth, which can be the sign of pest infestation. In order
for the detector to provide effective early warnings, the analysis uses high
time-resolution satellite images.
In particular, the detector is based on data collected at the Abisko National Park in the north of Sweden. The insect that is known to threaten
this birch forest is a moth called Epirrita Autumnata, whose larvae feed on
the bursting leaves early in the spring.
The data used to study the behaviour of green mass is the Normalized
Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). A dataset of 14 years of measurements
was available over an area of 350 km
2
. The index is calculated based on
images collected by the MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer
(MODIS), which is placed on two satellites that orbit Earth and collects
images of the surface daily. The analysis also includes information on forest
fraction and altitude for each pixel of the area.
The first step of the analysis is fitting a function to the NDVI measurements of each pixel. The chosen function captures all important aspects of
the change in NDVI during the spring. Different methods are used to fit
the function to the NDVI. The first, simplistic models fail to fit the fuction
because of the strong noise that affects the measurements. Therefore more
robust and complex estimators are tried out. The final, best performing
technique is used to construct the detector.
The idea behind the detector is to identify those pixels for which NDVI
grows slower than expected, based on the values of other pixels and previous
years, during the spring. In particular, it is known that, within the available
dataset, the two years that have suffered a moth outbreak are 2004 and 2013.
Hence, the chosen function is fitted to the data from 2000-2003, in order to
get a sense of the behaviour of NDVI during ”healthy” years. The detection
of abnormal behaviour is done for 2004 and it is then tested on 2013. For
this last year, a few locations of the outbreak were known, so that the results
generated by the detector could be verified. The discrepancy between field
data and the results generated by the detector suggests further adjustments
that would improve the capacity to detect moth infestation. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Pivotti, Valentina
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Detection of moth-induced defoliation in birch forest, using remote sensing
course
MASM01 20171
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
language
English
id
8918248
date added to LUP
2017-06-22 08:33:26
date last changed
2017-06-22 08:33:26
@misc{8918248,
  abstract     = {The goal of this thesis is to build a near-real time defoliation detector that
could be used, early in the spring, to find out which areas of a birch forest are
being affected by an insect outbreak. The importance of a reliable detection
at the beginning of the spring lies on the possibility for an early intervention.
The data on which the study is based is the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), which is calculated from the 8-days interval measurements, obtained from the MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer
(MODIS). Further available information that is included in the analysis are
the forest fraction and the altitude of each pixel.
The first step of the analysis is fitting a function to the measurements
of each pixel whose parameters could capture the important aspects of the
changes in NDVI values. Among them, the final NDVI value that is reached
during the summer is of particular interest since an abnormally low value
could be the indication of an insect infestation.
Different assumptions are made on the error distribution. The first ones,
more simplystic, do not manage to counteract the noise. A more complex
error structure is thus taken into account, leading to a better estimate which
is then used to build the estimator.
The idea behind the detector is to identify those pixels for which the
NDVI does not reach its high late spring/summer values fast enough, with
respect to other pixels and previous years. It is known that the two years,
among those available in the dataset, that have suffered a moth outbreak
are 2004 and 2013. Hence, the estimation of the fitting function is run for
2000-2003, the detector is tried on 2004 and finally tested on 2013, since
for this year a few locations of the outbreak were known. The discrepancy
between field data and the results generated by the detector suggests further
adjustments that would improve the capacity to detect moth infestation.},
  author       = {Pivotti, Valentina},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Moth and Birch},
  year         = {2017},
}