Title: Preliminary Use of Ground-Penetrating Radar and Electrical Resistivity Tomography to Study Tree Roots in Pine Forests and Poplar Plantations
Citation: FUNCTIONAL PLANT BIOLOGY vol. 35 p. 1047-1058
Publication Year: 2008
JRC N°: JRC47085
ISSN: 1445-4408
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC47085
DOI: 10.1071/FP08062
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: In this study we assess the possibility of using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) as indirect non destructive techniques for root detection Two experimental sites were investigated: a poplar plantation (mean height of plants 25.7 m DbH 33 cm) and a pinewood forest mainly composed of Pinus pinea and Pinus pinaster (mean height 17 m, DBH 29 cm). GPR measures were taken using antennas of 900 and 1500 MHz applied in square and circular grids. ERT was previously tested along 2D lines, compared with GPR sections and direct observation of the roots, and then using a complete 3D acquisition technique. Threedimensional reconstructions using grids of electrodes centered and evenly spaced around the tree were used in all cases (poplar and pine), and repeated in different periods in the pine forest (April, June and September) to investigate the influence of water saturation on the results obtainable. The investigated roots systems were entirely excavated using AIR-SPADE® Series 2000. In order to acquire morphological information on the root system, to be compared with the GPR and ERT, poplar and pine roots were scanned using a portable on ground scanning LIDAR. In test sections analyzed around the poplar trees GPR with a high frequency antenna proved to be able to detect roots with very small 41 diameters and different angles, with the geometry of survey lines ruling the intensity of individual reflectors. The comparison between 3D images of the extracted roots obtained with a Laser scan data point cloud and the GPR profile proved the potential of high density 3-D GPR in mapping the entire system in unsaturated soil, with a preference for sandy and silty terrain, with problems arising when clay is predominant. Clutter produced by gravel and pebbles, mixed with the presence of roots, can also be sources of noise for the GPR signals. The work performed on the pine trees shows that the shape, distribution and volume of roots system, can be coupled to the 3-D electrical resistivity variation of the soil model map. Geophysical surveys can be a useful approach to root investigation in describing both the shape and behaviour of the roots in the subsoil.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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