We tested components of a drought mortality decision tool for application in British Columbia forests. The previously estimated drought thresholds for lodgepole pine and western larch were tested and revised based on the field assessment of visible foliar drought indicators in relation to estimated soil moisture regimes using the ratio of actual evapotranspiration to potential evapotranspiration (AET/PET). Post-processed photography from drones flown over sites with known drought mortality was very successful at mapping dead trees. Using a supervised image classification, dead trees identified in the field were composed of 75% pixels identified as dead. Only 1% of the dead trees were composed of > 50% live pixels based on image classification. In combination, the drought assessment tool using AET/PET estimates, along with image-mapping tools, should be effective at identifying and preparing treatment maps for forests impacted by drought. Furthermore, these tools have the potential to map drought risk, allowing appropriate management planning.
DeLong, Craig S., Griesbauer, Hardy; Foord, Vanessa; Rogers, Bruce; Kyllo, Jared. 2022. Developing a Tool for the Early Detection of Drought-induced Forest Stress and Mortality in British Columbia. MoF. Technical Report (FLNRORD). TR141
Topic: FLNRORD Research Program
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