Applicability of UAV-based optical imagery and classification algorithms for detecting pine wilt disease at different infection stages

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Abstract

As a quarantine disease with a rapid spread tendency in the context of climate change, accurate detection and location of pine wilt disease (PWD) at different infection stages is critical for maintaining forest health and being highly productivity. In recent years, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-based optical remote-sensing images have provided new instruments for timely and accurate PWD monitoring. Numerous corresponding analysis algorithms have been proposed for UAV-based image classification, but their applicability of detecting different PWD infection stages has not yet been evaluated under a uniform conditions and criteria. This research aims to systematically assess the performance of multi-source images for detecting different PWD infection stages, analyze effective classification algorithms, and further analyze the validity of thermal images for early detection of PWD. In this study, PWD infection was divided into four stages: healthy, chlorosis, red and gray, and UAV-based hyperspectral (HSI), multispectral (MSI), and MSI with a thermal band (MSI&TIR) datasets were used as the data sources. Spectral analysis, support vector machine (SVM), random forest (RF), two- and three-dimensional convolutional network (2D- and 3D-CNN) algorithms were applied to these datasets to compare their classification abilities. The results were as follows: (I) The classification accuracy of the healthy, red, and gray stages using the MSI dataset was close to that obtained when using the MSI&TIR dataset with the same algorithms, whereas the HSI dataset displayed no obvious advantages. (II) The RF and 3D-CNN algorithms were the most accurate for all datasets (RF: overall accuracy = 94.26%, 3D-CNN: overall accuracy = 93.31%), while the spectral analysis method is also valid for the MSI&TIR dataset. (III) Thermal band displayed significant potential in detection of the chlorosis stage, and the MSI&TIR dataset displayed the best performance for detection of all infection stages. Considering this, we suggest that the MSI&TIR dataset can essentially satisfy PWD identification requirements at various stages, and the RF algorithm provides the best choice, especially in actual forest investigations. In addition, the performance of thermal imaging in the early monitoring of PWD is worthy of further investigation. These findings are expected to provide insight into future research and actual surveys regarding the selection of both remote sensing datasets and data analysis algorithms for detection requirements of different PWD infection stages to detect the disease earlier and prevent losses.

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Zhang, N., Chai, X., Li, N., Zhang, J., & Sun, T. (2023). Applicability of UAV-based optical imagery and classification algorithms for detecting pine wilt disease at different infection stages. GIScience and Remote Sensing, 60(1). https://doi.org/10.1080/15481603.2023.2170479

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