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Unmanned aerial vehicle for the assessment of woody and herbaceous phytomass in Sahelian savanna

Bossoukpe M., Ndiaye O., Diatta O., Diatta S., Audebert A., Couteron P., Leroux L., Diouf A.A., Dendoncker M., Faye E., Taugourdeau S.. 2021. Revue d'Elevage et de Médecine Vétérinaire des Pays Tropicaux, 74 (4) : p. 199-205.

DOI: 10.19182/remvt.36802

The phytomass of herbaceous and woody plants is the main source of feed for pastoral livestock in the Sahelian savanna. The assessment of the available feedstock plays a key role in national livestock policies and generally requires many field measurements of both herbaceous and woody plants. In this study, we tested the possibility of using a red-green-blue (RGB) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to evaluate the phytomass of both woody and herbaceous species. We thus mapped 38 one hectare plots with a Dji Spark UAV in Northern Senegal. The herbaceous phytomass was measured on the ground. For the woody communities, we evaluated the leaf phytomass using dendrometric parameters combined with allometric equations. We performed partial-least square regressions between UAV-based three-dimension and color indices and phytomass. Results showed a Q² (cross validation results for each response variable) of 0.57 for woody phytomass, 0.68 for herbaceous dry mass, and 0.76 for their fresh mass. This study confirmed the relevance of using low-cost RGB UAV to assess savanna phytomass.

Mots-clés : cartographie de l'occupation du sol; biomasse aérienne; biomasse; plante herbacée; plante ligneuse; savane; conduite des herbages; sahel; sénégal; drone

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