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
Fungicides as an underestimated hazard for freshwater organisms
17.09.2019 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
Study: We need more realistic experiments on the impact of climate change on ecosystems
16.09.2019 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
How long the battery of your phone or computer lasts depends on how many lithium ions can be stored in the battery's negative electrode material. If the battery runs out of these ions, it can't generate an electrical current to run a device and ultimately fails.
Materials with a higher lithium ion storage capacity are either too heavy or the wrong shape to replace graphite, the electrode material currently used in...
To process information, photons must interact. However, these tiny packets of light want nothing to do with each other, each passing by without altering the...
Researchers from the Department of Atomically Resolved Dynamics of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg, the University of Hamburg and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) outstation in the city have developed a new method to watch biomolecules at work. This method dramatically simplifies starting enzymatic reactions by mixing a cocktail of small amounts of liquids with protein crystals. Determination of the protein structures at different times after mixing can be assembled into a time-lapse sequence that shows the molecular foundations of biology.
The functions of biomolecules are determined by their motions and structural changes. Yet it is a formidable challenge to understand these dynamic motions.
At the International Symposium on Automotive Lighting 2019 (ISAL) in Darmstadt from September 23 to 25, 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, will present OLED light strips of any length with additional functionalities for the first time at booth no. 37.
Almost everyone is familiar with light strips for interior design. LED strips are available by the metre in DIY stores around the corner and are just as often...
Later during this century, around 2060, a paradigm shift in global energy consumption is expected: we will spend more energy for cooling than for heating....
19.09.2019 | Event News
10.09.2019 | Event News
04.09.2019 | Event News
20.09.2019 | Life Sciences
20.09.2019 | Life Sciences
20.09.2019 | Life Sciences