New project to use drones for Emerald Ash Borer research in Boulder

Posted at 5:37 AM, Jul 13, 2017

A new project is coming to Boulder to study ash trees from above.

Arbor Drone LLC, Spectrabotics LLC, and researchers from Colorado College will collect data using drone flights over southwest Boulder this week to study trees affected by Emerald Ash Borer.

Drone LLC says the main purpose of the Boulder drone flights is to use a multispectral sensor to study the light reflectance of ash trees attacked by EAB. The high-resolution sensor collects light in both the visible and infrared spectrum to study plant health.

Researchers say understanding how trees react when attacked by EAB will help urban forest managers to follow the disease and to manage pests in real time.  

The City and County of Denver is funding this early study to collect high-resolution data on its urban forest to better manage EAB when it arrives there. Denver is also being proactive with its program called Be A Smart Ash. Residents can apply for a new tree before losiing established ones to EAB.

EAB was brought to the U.S. from Asia in the early 2000s and popped up in Boulder for the first time in 2013.

The beetles feed on the tree and the tree can no longer absorb water, resulting in the tree dying.