DDD Conference

Mr. Christos Theocharidis

Monitoring Forest Health Through Remote Sensing Time Series Analysis to Assess the Effects of Extreme Drought Events in Forest Seasonality

ERATOSTHENES Centre of Excellence & Cyprus University of Technology, Cyprus

Climate change in the Mediterranean region is anticipated to result in heat stress and water scarcity, leading to more frequent drought occurrences, increasing forest mortality events, and thus affecting forest biodiversity. Therefore, it is vital to evaluate the forest stands’ vulnerability to extreme climatic events such as drought in the Mediterranean forest tree species, even if they are considered drought resistant. Inside all these forecasts, the already affected Cyprus’s natural resources are expected to further aggravate climate change pressure due to the island’s semi-arid climatic conditions. Satellite image time-series data contributed notably to monitoring the effects of drought events on forest health and forest phenology since they allow us to observe how climate change has affected these ecosystems and how this will change in the following years. This study conducts a time-series analysis using the BFAST time-series decomposition algorithm to detect possible abrupt changes in forest seasonality and the impacts of extreme drought events on forest health, examining four remote sensing indices from 2017-2021. Land Surface Temperature (LST) derived from Landsat-8, Normalised Difference Moisture Index (NDMI), Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI), and Green Chlorophyll Index (GCI) were created by Sentinel-2 and assessed to find possible correlations between them. The study area focuses on the forest of Paphos due to its unspoiled vegetation and the highly reduced number of forest wildfires in this area in recent years, favouring the reliability of the research’s results.

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