Evaluating the performance of xanthophyll, chlorophyll and structure-sensitive spectral indices to detect water stress in five fruit tree species
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AuthorBallester, Carlos; Zarco-Tejada, Pablo J.; Nicolás, Emilio; Alarcón, Juan J.; Fereres, E.; Intrigliolo, Diego S.; Gonzalez-Dugo, V.
Cita bibliográficaBallester, C.; Zarco-Tejada, P. J.; Nicolas, E.; Alarcon, J. J.; Fereres, E.; Intrigliolo, D. S.; Gonzalez-Dugo, V. (2018). Evaluating the performance of xanthophyll, chlorophyll and structure-sensitive spectral indices to detect water stress in five fruit tree species. Precision Agriculture, 19(1), 178-193.
This study assessed the capability of several xanthophyll, chlorophyll and structure-sensitive spectral indices to detect water stress in a commercial farm consisting of five fruit tree crop species with contrasting phenology and canopy architecture. Plots irrigated and non-irrigated for eight days of each species were used to promote a range of plant water status. Multi-spectral and thermal images were acquired from an unmanned aerial system while concomitant measurements of stomatal conductance (g(s)), stem water potential (psi(s)) and photosynthesis were taken. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), red-edge ratio (R-700/R-670), Transformed Chlorophyll Absorption in Reflectance Index normalized by the Optimized Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index (TCARI/OSAVI), the Photochemical Reflectance Index using reflectance at 530 (PRI) and 515 nm [PRI(570-515)] and the normalized PRI (PRInorm) were obtained from the narrow-band multi-spectral images and the relationship with the in-field measurements explored. Results showed that within the Prunus species, psi(s) yielded the best correlations with PRI and PRI(570-515) (r(2) = 0.53) in almond trees, with TCARI/OSAVI (r(2) = 0.88) in apricot trees and with PRInorm, R-700/R-670 and NDVI (r(2) from 0.72 to 0.88) in peach trees. Weak or no correlations were found for the Citrus species due to the low level of water stress reached by the trees. Results from the sensitivity analysis pointed out the canopy temperature (T-c) and PRI(570-515) as the first and second most sensitive indicators to the imposed water conditions in all the crops with the exception of apricot trees, in which psi(s) was the most sensitive indicator at midday. PRInorm was the least sensitive index among all the water stress indicators studied. When all the crops were analyzed together, PRI(570-515) and NDVI were the indices that better correlations yielded with Crop Water Stress Index, g(s) and, particularly, psi(s) (r(2) = 0.61 and 0.65, respectively). This work demonstrated the feasibility of using narrow-band multispectral-derived indices to retrieve water status for a variety of crop species with contrasting phenology and canopy architecture.