Manchester Metropolitan University's Research Repository

Estimating foliar nitrogen concentration of heather (Calluna vulgaris) from field and laboratory spectra

Kalaitzidis, Chariton, Caporn, Simon J.M. and Cutler, Mark E.J. (2008) Estimating foliar nitrogen concentration of heather (Calluna vulgaris) from field and laboratory spectra. ISSN 0049-6979

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Regional botanical surveys supported by field experiments suggest that atmospheric nitrogen deposition threatens the balance between species and causes loss of biodiversity within plant communities. Methods are required to monitor the nitrogen status of vegetation at a landscape scale and therefore the potential for ecological change. Remote sensing has the potential to monitor a number of plant biophysical and chemical variables, but its application to monitor the nitrogen status of native vegetation remains limited and untested. Using field spectroscopy, canopy reflectance measurements were taken from two heathland field sites and heather (Calluna vulgaris) plants grown in a greenhouse. The nitrogen concentration was determined through destructive sampling and chemical analysis. Stepwise multiple regression analysis was used to identify the wavebands most associated with nitrogen concentration and despite high variation in the selected wavebands between the three datasets, most of these wavebands were associated with nitrogen and protein absorption features within the spectral region 1,990–2,170 nm. Results highlight the potential of remote sensing as a bio-monitoring technique to estimate foliar nitrogen status in native plants.

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