Growing populations of wild boar (Sus scrofa L.) are causing more and more damage to agricultural land in Europe, requiring hundreds of thousands of Euros in compensation. A new drone-based method allows estimating crop damage in a fast, standardised and objective manner.
Anneleen Rutten, PhD student at the University of Antwerp and the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO, Brussels) will present the method at the ‘Ecology Across Borders’ conference in Ghent, Belgium this week. She uses a standard commercial drone to take aerial photographs of agricultural fields, which are analysed with an algorithm to identify the damaged areas.
Combined photograph of a maize field. The red areas are the damaged parts of the field, detected by an algorithm.
Image: Anneleen Rutten
Rising numbers of wild boar have been linked to higher crop damage, disease transmissions and car accidents in many European countries. In Flanders, wild boars have been absent for almost 50 years and only returned in 2006. Estimates from hunting bags show a growing population which is still expanding its range, from the Eastern province of Limburg towards the more central provinces of Antwerp and Vlaams-Brabant.
Landscape structures in Flanders changed in the years of absence of wild boar, resulting in a dense, mosaic-like pattern of agricultural, natural and urban areas. Thus, there have been many human-wildlife conflicts in the last years.
“I want to get a first insight into the extent of agricultural damage by wild boars because, in contrast to neighbouring regions and countries, this has not been monitored in the past and it is not known how high the financial damages are for this sector”, Anneleen Rutten says.
The method was developed to be affordable and easy to apply. “I connect my smartphone to the remote controller of my drone which allows me to see the camera visualisation. Damage is really clear on the camera: in maize fields, boars roll over the maize which results in gaping holes with broken stems in an otherwise green field. In grasslands, rooting causes a clear colour difference because the soil is rooted up”, Rutten explains.
For each field, many individual photographs with 75-85% overlap are taken. The high overlap enables combination of individual photographs into a single image, taking account of different perspectives and showing the entire field. The area of the field is then classified into damaged and undamaged parts using Object Based Image Analysis (OBIA). The algorithm reaches 93% of accuracy for maize fields and 94% for grasslands.
Traditionally, crop damage is estimated by trained experts measuring the damaged area in the field. “Flying and taking photographs of damaged fields does not take as long as doing an assessment by ground visits, making it more cost-effective”, Rutten adds. Another advantage is that the method is standardised allowing for direct comparisons between different fields and over time.
Anneleen Rutten will present her work at the conference ‘Ecology Across Borders’ on Tuesday, 12 December 2017.
This year’s annual meeting is jointly organised by the British Ecological Society, Gesellschaft für Ökologie (the Ecological Society of Germany, Switzerland and Austria), and Dutch-Flemish Ecological Society (NecoV), in association with the European Ecological Federation, bringing together 1,500 ecologists from around 60 countries to discuss the latest advances in ecological research across the whole discipline.
Juliane Röder | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
100 % Organic Farming in Bhutan – a Realistic Target?
15.06.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
What the size distribution of organisms tells us about the energetic efficiency of a lake
05.06.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...
Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.
From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
15.06.2018 | Materials Sciences
15.06.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
15.06.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering