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Airborne Thermal Imagery to Detect the Seasonal Evolution of Crop Water Status in Peach, Nectarine and Saturn Peach Orchards

AutorBellvert, Joaquim; Marsal, Jordi; Girona, Joan; González-Dugo, Victoria ; Fereres Castiel, Elías ; Ustin, S. L.; Zarco-Tejada, Pablo J.
Fecha de publicación5-ene-2016
EditorMultidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
CitaciónRemote Sensing 8(1): 39 (2016)
ResumenIn the current scenario of worldwide limited water supplies, conserving water is a major concern in agricultural areas. Characterizing within-orchard spatial heterogeneity in water requirements would assist in improving irrigation water use efficiency and conserve water. The crop water stress index (CWSI) has been successfully used as a crop water status indicator in several fruit tree species. In this study, the CWSI was developed in three <i>Prunus persica</i> L. cultivars at different phenological stages of the 2012 to 2014 growing seasons, using canopy temperature measurements of well-watered trees. The CWSI was then remotely estimated using high-resolution thermal imagery acquired from an airborne platform and related to leaf water potential (Ѱ<sub>L</sub>) throughout the season. The feasibility of mapping within-orchard spatial variability of Ѱ<sub>L</sub> from thermal imagery was also explored. Results indicated that CWSI can be calculated using a common non-water-stressed baseline (NWSB), upper and lower limits for the entire growing season and for the three studied cultivars. Nevertheless, a phenological effect was detected in the CWSI <i>vs.</i> Ѱ<sub>L</sub> relationships. For a specific given CWSI value, Ѱ<sub>L</sub> was more negative as the crop developed. This different seasonal response followed the same trend for the three studied cultivars. The approach presented in this study demonstrated that CWSI is a feasible method to assess the spatial variability of tree water status in heterogeneous orchards, and to derive Ѱ<sub>L</sub> maps throughout a complete growing season. A sensitivity analysis of varying pixel size showed that a pixel size of 0.8 m or less was needed for precise Ѱ<sub>L</sub> mapping of peach and nectarine orchards with a tree crown area between 3.0 to 5.0 m<sup>2</sup>.
Versión del editorhttps://doi.org/10.3390/rs8010039
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