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Combining in-situ monitoring and remote sensing to detect spatial patterns of volcanic sulphur impact on pine needles

AuthorsWeiser, Frank; Walentowitz, Anna; Baumann, Esther; Shatto, Christopher; Guerrero-Campos, María; Jentsch, Anke; Nogales, Manuel CSIC ORCID ; Medina, Félix Manuel; Vetaas, Ole Reidar; Beierkuhnlein, Carl
KeywordsPinus canariensis
pulse dynamics
earth observation
Remote sensing
leaf chemistry
Issue DateOct-2023
PublisherElsevier BV
CitationForest Ecology and Management, 549(1), 121468: 1-17 (2023)
AbstractVolcanic eruptions have a strong environmental impact on surrounding forests. Trees are affected by mechanical damage, tephra deposition and volcanic gases. Oceanic islands are shaped by relatively frequent volcanic eruptions and thus offer the opportunity to study the effect of volcanic activity on biodiversity. We investigate the impact of volcanic gas emissions and tephra deposition during the 2021 Tajogaite eruption on the Canary Pine forests of the island of La Palma, Spain, characterized by monospecific stands of the endemic pine species Pinus canariensis C. Sm. ex D.C. Large quantities of volcanic sulphur dioxide caused chlorotic damage up to approximately 7 km around the crater, followed by widespread resprouting of P. canariensis. To detect the spatial pattern of impacts, we sampled P. canariensis needles from all over the island of La Palma and analyzed their sulphur (S), nitrogen (N) and carbon (C) content. We found a strong increase of S needle content close to the crater, while C decreased significantly. S levels were strongly related to distance to the crater, C and N were mostly influenced by S content. Trees affected by volcanic gases allocate resources to resprouting, leading to lower levels of C due to translocation of C as a building block. Surprisingly, we found higher N levels in needles with high levels of S and a less clear pattern compared to C, likely due to a multitude of environmental factors influencing N needle levels. We investigated how canopy damage patterns detected in Sentinel-2 remote sensing imagery after the eruption correlated to the in-situ needle contents. However, we did not find a clear correlation between in-situ needle values and spectral responses in remote sensing. While satellite images were well suited to analyse large scale patterns of canopy damage following the eruption, needle levels varied strongly on a local, tree-based level, which is not reflected in remote sensing imagery.
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