iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Detecting mistletoe infestation on Silver fir using hyperspectral images

Mario Ančić (1)   , Renata Pernar (1), Milan Bajić (2), Ante Seletković (1), Jelena Kolić (1)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 7, Issue 2, Pages 85-91 (2014)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1035-006
Published: Dec 18, 2013 - Copyright © 2014 SISEF

Technical Advances

Silver fir is one of the most important commercial and ecological species in Croatia, and is currently the most damaged tree species in Croatian forests. It is increasingly being infested by white mistletoe, whose irrational consumption of water and nutrients contributes to physiological weakening of the tree. Mistletoe may indicate the presence of stress factors in the site and may even cause premature death. The increment of mistletoe-infested trees is lower compared to that of non-infested trees. Hence, these trees should have a cutting priority, while their timber still retains its commercial value. Areas of mistletoe-infested fir forests are expanding; therefore, there is a high correlation between silver fir forest damage and mistletoe distribution, with an almost exponential increase in mistletoe populations. The purpose of this research was to develop an efficient and reliable method of mistletoe detection. Surveying was performed in the mountain area of beech-fir forests, using a hyperspectral scanner. The Spectral Angle Mapper (SAM) classification for 5° proved to be the best classification method. The results were also confirmed by terrestrial validation, i.e. aerial surveying with a non-pilot aircraft from a height of ~30 m above the crowns. The results of this research do not differ significantly from the results obtained with standard ground methods. Limitations of standard ground methods further highlight the importance and efficiency of hyperspectral imagery in mistletoe detection. Furthermore, the first “spectral signatures” - endmembers for fir and mistletoe, were determined, and entered into a spectral library database. The results of this research are applicable primarily in the field of forest management, protection and harvesting, but they can also supply experts in other fields with a basis for explaining various observed phenomena. It outlines some of the possibilities of the application both in scientific and operative fields.


Remote Sensing, Hyperspectral Images, Spectral Signatures, Mistletoe Detection, Health Status, Silver Fir

Authors’ address

Mario Ančić
Renata Pernar
Ante Seletković
Jelena Kolić
Faculty of Forestry University of Zagreb, Svetošimunska cesta 25, 10000 Zagreb (Croatia)
Milan Bajić
Faculty of Geodesy University of Zagreb, Kačićeva 26, 10000 Zagreb (Croatia)

Corresponding author

Mario Ančić


Ančić M, Pernar R, Bajić M, Seletković A, Kolić J (2014). Detecting mistletoe infestation on Silver fir using hyperspectral images. iForest 7: 85-91. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1035-006

Academic Editor

Alberto Santini

Paper history

Received: May 07, 2013
Accepted: Oct 31, 2013

First online: Dec 18, 2013
Publication Date: Apr 02, 2014
Publication Time: 1.60 months

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