APPLYING REMOTE SENSING IN DETECTING PLANTS AFFECTED BY VARIED DOSES OF OIL SPILLS

Ebele Josephine Emengini

Abstract


Spill from oil pipeline is one of the major sources of oil pollution and a threat to man and his environment. To control this menace, frequent, accurate and spatially-comprehensive monitoring and detection of oil spills is required. Remote sensing technologies have this potential by using plant spectral properties. To investigate this, ornamental fountain grass (pennisetum alopecuroides) and deciduous shrub called forsythia (forsythia suspensa) grown in pots were contaminated with refined oil at low, medium, and high levels. Plant heights and spectral measurements were undertaken every week and visual stress symptoms observed. Field portable GER 1500 spectroradiometer was used for all reflectance measurements. Results show a general increase and decrease of the reflectance spectra in the visible and the near infrared regions of the spectrum, respectively. The red region was most sensitive to oil spill at all levels for both plant species. Based on the ratio of change in plant height, both plants were significantly affected by oil spill. Visible stress symptoms observed include: chlorosis, dryness, and growth impairment in all the levels of pollution in both plants. This indicates that by detecting plant stress induced by oil, remote sensing has potential for detecting oil spills. Thus, it suggests further research that may focus in testing the robustness of this approach at larger scale and across species.

Key words: Remote sensing, Spectral reflectance, Plants, Stress, Oil spills

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