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Mapping radiation interception in row-structured orchards using 3D simulation and high-resolution airborne imagery acquired from a UAV

AuthorsGuillén-Climent, M. Luz ; Zarco-Tejada, Pablo J. ; Berni, José A. J.; North, Peter R. J.; Villalobos, Francisco J.
KeywordsModel inversion
Radiative transfer model
Row-structured tree canopies
Airborne imagery
Remote sensing
Issue DateAug-2012
CitationPrecision Agriculture 13(4): 473-500 (2012)
AbstractThis study was conducted to model the fraction of intercepted photosynthetically active radiation (fIPAR) in heterogeneous row-structured orchards, and to develop methodologies for accurate mapping of the instantaneous fIPAR at field scale using remote sensing imagery. The generation of high-resolution maps delineating the spatial variation of the radiation interception is critical for precision agriculture purposes such as adjusting management actions and harvesting in homogeneous within-field areas. Scaling-up and model inversion methods were investigated to estimate fIPAR using the 3D radiative transfer model, Forest Light Interaction Model (FLIGHT). The model was tested against airborne and field measurements of canopy reflectance and fIPAR acquired on two commercial peach and citrus orchards, where study plots showing a gradient in the canopy structure were selected. High-resolution airborne multi-spectral imagery was acquired at 10 nm bandwidth and 150 mm spatial resolution using a miniaturized multi-spectral camera on board an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). In addition, simulations of the land surface bidirectional reflectance were conducted to understand the relationships between canopy architecture and fIPAR. Input parameters used for the canopy model, such as the leaf and soil optical properties, canopy architecture, and sun geometry were studied in order to assess the effect of these inputs on canopy reflectance, vegetation indices and fIPAR. The 3D canopy model approach used to simulate the discontinuous row-tree canopies yielded spectral RMSE values below 0. 03 (visible region) and below 0. 05 (near-infrared) when compared against airborne canopy reflectance imagery acquired over the sites under study. The FLIGHT model assessment conducted for fIPAR estimation against field measurements yielded RMSE values below 0. 08. The simulations conducted suggested the usefulness of these modeling methods in heterogeneous row-structured orchards, and the high sensitivity of the normalized difference vegetation index and fIPAR to background, row orientation, percentage cover and sun geometry. Mapping fIPAR from high-resolution airborne imagery through scaling-up and model inversion methods conducted with the 3D model yielded RMSE error values below 0. 09 for the scaling-up approach, and below 0. 10 for the model inversion conducted with a look-up table. The generation of intercepted radiation maps in row-structured tree orchards is demonstrated to be feasible using a miniaturized multi-spectral camera on board UAV platforms for precision agriculture purposes. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/s11119-012-9263-8
issn: 1385-2256
e-issn: 1573-1618
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