Measuring beetle kill using high-resolution satellite data

Philip Dennison, Andrea Brunelle, and Vachel Carter, Assessing canopy mortality during a mountain pine beetle outbreak using GeoEye-1 high spatial resolution satellite data, Remote Sensing of Environment, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2010.05.018

Large areas of lodgepole pine have been killed by severe outbreaks of mountain pine beetle across western North America in recent years. Satellite-based analyses to date have focused on red canopy associated with recent tree mortality. This study uses newly available GeoEye-1 data at a spatial resolution of 0.5 meter (1.5 feet) to map areas of red canopy as well as the grey canopy that emerges after red needles have dropped. The remotely sensed estimates of green, red, and gray cover were within 2% of the field-estimated cover for twelve field plots in southeast Wyoming.