Plot Monitoring With 360 Camera Photography
360 camera photography is used to study wildfire mitigation's impact on forest stands, enabling accurate canopy cover analysis.
Frontera originally started using 360 camera photography in our fire and fuels monitoring work for the Resort Municipality of Whistler. The monitoring project is aimed at researching the effect of wildfire mitigation work on forest stands. Most wildfire fuel management treatments involve tree thinning, decreasing stand density (stems per hectare) and reducing canopy closure (how close the tree canopies are to each other). With reductions in canopy closure also comes increased sunlight exposure in the stand, which could lead to decreased soil moisture, decreased fuel moisture, and increases in shrub and tree regeneration. One of the principle aims of our monitoring study is to quantify the canopy cover in thinned vs. undisturbed stands.
Why does this innovation matter?
Determining canopy closure is notoriously tricky and can be quite subjective, depending on the method used to measure it. In order to capture the best canopy closure data, Frontera decided to use 360 camera photography, which gives a full 360-degree view of the canopy in each of our monitoring plots. The high-quality photography can then be analyzed, allowing us to determine the possible correlation of the recorded canopy closure to the effects on the understory environment - both structural and in terms of micro-climate (temperature, relative humidity, fuel moisture content).