DFG PAK 823-825: Development of area-wide functional indicators using remotely sensed data [funded by DFG] - Status: closed

Project staff:

Prof. Dr. Jörg Bendix


 The main aim of this project is at the development and implementation of area-wide functional indicators (Evapotranspiration, Primary Production, and Water Use Efficiency) which can be used to monitor changes in tree water relations due to environmental change (land use and climate change) and to identify water sensitive indicator trees. Calibration and quality assessment of the algorithms are conducted, among others, with scintillometry above the tree canopy and porometry. At a regional perspective this project also aims at at the retrieval of area-wide structural and multi-/hyperspectral predictor variables from remote sensing data. Scientific findings will be used to implement an operational monitoring system together with the non-university cooperation partners in South Ecuador.


For more information please refer to the official project website:



 We investigate heat fluxes, evapotranspiration, and productivity at the canopy scale on the core plot in the valley of the San Francisco (South Ecuador). 

Observation towers with scintillometer beam (left) and project conceptual scheme (right).


Two observation towers (30 m height) are erected in the forest core plot in the research station for measurements of heat fluxes and evapotranspiration (ET) at the leaf and canopy level. Automatic scintillometer and weather sensors operate on the top of the towers and on ground for measuring heat fluxes and evapotranspiration at the canopy level. Porometry at leaf level is used for direct comparison with the canopy fluxes, including leaf photosynthesis. Individual tree crowns will be delineated to determine the indicators at crown level from high-resolution satellite data. Ancillary spectroscopy data has been carried out from the towers to obtain canopy spectral signatures and indices (e.g. water and vegetation indices), which will be used to calibrate/validate satellite data and to upscale the indicators from leaf to crown and landscape scales. Satellites (e.g. Worldview, Quickbird) have been deployed to acquire new high-resolution data throughout three years of monitoring. Field campaigns allow the characterization of the vegetation layer and the estimation of functional indicators at regional level.

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