To read the full paper click HERE

Climate change forecasts higher temperatures in urban environments worsening the urban heat island effect (UHI). Green infrastructure (GI) in cities could reduce UHI by regulating and reducing ambient temperatures. Forest cities (i.e. Melbourne, Australia) aimed for large-scale planting of trees to adapt to climate change in the next decade. Therefore, monitoring the green infrastructure of cities requires close assessment of growth and water status at the tree-by-tree resolution for its proper maintenance, and needs to be automated and efficient. This project proposed a novel monitoring system using an integrated visible and infrared thermal camera mounted on top of moving vehicles. Automated computer vision algorithms were used to analyze data gathered at an Elm trees avenue in the city of Melbourne, Australia (n = 172 trees) to obtain tree growth in the form of effective leaf area index (LAIe) and tree water stress index (TWSI), among other parameters. Results showed the tree-by-tree variation of trees monitored (5.04 km) between 2016-17. The growth and water stress parameters obtained were mapped using customized codes and corresponded with weather trends and urban management. The proposed urban tree monitoring system could be a useful tool for city planning and GI monitoring, which can graphically show the diurnal, spatial, and temporal patterns of change of LAIe and TWSI to monitor the effects of climate change on the GI of cities.