Development of a novel method for continuous monitoring of vegetation regrowth on a rehabilitated minesite using a simple LED spectroradiometer

Development of a novel method for continuous monitoring of vegetation regrowth on a rehabilitated minesite using a simple LED spectroradiometer

Thu, 25/10/2012 - 12:30

About the Presenter

Andrew Esparon

Andrew Esparon has a BE in Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering and B.Sc in Human Physiology from Monash University (Clayton, Victoria). 

Upon completion I worked as a Biomedical Engineer at the Royal Darwin Hospital for four years before joining the Supervising Scientist Division (SSD) which is part of the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC). 

Initially I worked in the Environmental Radioactivity group for three years before moving to the Spatial Science and Data Integration group (SSDI) where I have worked for the last 4 years.


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In recent years, the Ranger Uranium Mine (RUM) located in the Alligators Rivers Region (ARR), Northern Territory, has established a 8 hectare trial land form (TLF) to determine the components required for successful mine site rehabilitation. An important aspect in the development of the final rehabilitated land form once RUM closes, is the re-vegetation process, and this is being explored on the TLF by the plantation of various species of plants and implementation of different planting methods.

For a site like RUM, it is important to continuously monitor plant growth in a cost and time efficient manner, thereby enabling the vegetation response to changing environmental conditions throughout the year to be characterised. A traditional remote sensing method for monitoring plant vigour and health involves using a field spectrometer to calculate Spectral Vegetation Indicies (SVIs) such as the commonly used Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI).

There are a number of disadvantages in using a field spectrometer for this purpose: they are large and not highly mobile; expensive; and can not undertake continuous field measurements.

An alternative in addressing these limitations, is to use a simple spectroradiometer using light emitting diodes (LEDs) as sensors. Simple spectroradiometers are low cost and will enable continuous measurement of the NDVI and other SVIs for a variety of plant species in the field. These measurements will determine the health of the vegetation and the fraction of vegetation green cover within the Field of View (FOV). More importantly, the continuous measurements will enable investigation of diurnal and annual variations in vegetation structure and metabolism variables.

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