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Bioindicators of Forest Sustainability: Progress Report

AuthorsSampson, P. H.; Mohammed, G. H.; Colombo, S. J.; Noland, Thomas L.; Miller, John R.; Zarco-Tejada, Pablo J. CSIC ORCID
Forest health
Remote sensing
Issue Date1998
PublisherOntario Ministry of Natural Resources
CitationForest Research Information Paper No. 142. 18p
AbstractMeasurable indicators are needed to gauge the effects of management activities and natural phenomena on forest sustainability. To meet this need, the Bioindicators of Forest Sustainability Project is testing physiological approaches to develop a Forest Condition Rating (FCR) system. An FCR system would directly support provincial policy (e.g., Forest Resource Assessment Policy) and national initiatives (e.g., Criteria and Indicators) by providing an understanding of ecosystem condition. Furthermore, this project addresses a pressing need for indicators that can support operational forest management and possible concerns of sustainability at the local level. Development of an FCR system involves interpreting remotely sensed spectral information with the aid of ground-based assessments of structural and functional (i.e., physiological) aspects of forest condition. Analysis of this spectral information may reveal indicators of health across a wide range of tree species and ages. Current research activities include controlled laboratory studies, ground-based field assessments and acquisition of hyperspectral airborne data to develop gradients in key spectral features that correspond to actual differences in physiology. This report provides first-year progress results. Preliminary correlations in controlled experiments have been made between leaf-based spectral reflectance and physiological status. Compilation of a leaf-based spectral database has been initiated. The database shows the influence of species, leaf age, stress status, season and other factors on spectral features. Other physiological and structural measures, such as foliar biochemistry, stem electrical resistance, and leaf area index, have also been linked to forest decline status. Finally, a brief summary of collaborative projects and proposed research activities is provided.
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