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A first attempt to combine NIRS and plenoptic cameras for the assessment of grasslands functional diversity and species composition

Taugourdeau S., Dionisi M., Lascoste M., Lesnoff M., Capron J.M., Borne F., Borianne P., Julien L.. 2022. Agriculture (Basel), 12 (5) : 16 p..

DOI: 10.3390/agriculture12050704

Grassland represents more than half of the agricultural land. Numerous metrics (biomass, functional trait, species composition) can be used to describe grassland vegetation and its multiple functions. The measures of these metrics are generally destructive and laborious. Indirect measurements using optical tools are a possible alternative. Some tools have high spatial resolutions (digital camera), and others have high spectral resolutions (Near Infrared Spectrometry NIRS). A plenoptic camera is a multifocal camera that produces clear images at different depths in an image. The objective of this study was to test the interest of combining plenoptic images and NIRS data to characterize different descriptors of two Mediterranean legumes mixtures. On these mixtures, we measured biomass, species biomass, and functional trait diversity. NIRS and plenoptic images were acquired just before the field measurements. The plenoptic images were analyzed using Trainable Weka Segmentation ImageJ to evaluate the percentage of each species in the image. We calculated the average and standard deviation of the different colors (red, green, blue reflectance) in the image. We assessed the percentage of explanation of outputs of the images and NIRS analyses using variance partition and partial least squares. The biomass Trifolium michelianum and Vicia sativa were predicted with more than 50% variability explained. For the other descriptors, the variability explained was lower but nevertheless significant. The percentage variance explained was nevertheless quite low, and further work is required to produce a useable tool, but this work already demonstrates the interest in combining image analysis and NIRS.

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