Mapping of drought stress in spruce using remote sensing

Spruce is an economically important tree species for the forestry industry in Norway. In recent years, with frequent periods of drought, it has been observed that spruce in several areas is susceptible to drought stress, which can lead to the death of trees either as a direct consequence of the drought or indirectly following bark beetle attacks. Therefore, there is a need to develop a mapping system that can provide a quick overview of the degree of drought stress for spruce stands within a given planning area.

Direct information on drought stress is not readily available through current forestry assessments. Even if these assessments were standard practice, the inventories them selves are not conducted frequently enough to provide timely information. The repercussions of drought stress can materialize within the same growing season, making it crucial to prioritize harvesting in stands where there is a higher likelihood that trees will rapidly depreciate in timber value. This project aims to establish a system that utilizes remotely sensed information to predict indicators of drought stress in spruce stands through modeling. Our specific focus will be on leveraging drones, and we will also explore whether existing terrain models can enhance the accuracy of our predictive models.

NMBU leads the project, and AT-skog, Glommen Mjøsen Skog, and Viken Skog are project partners. The project period is from January 1 to December 31, 2024, and the funding comes from the Skogtiltaksfondet , Utviklingsfondet for skogbruket, and NMBU.