The use of GPR and microwave tomography for the assessment of the internal structure of hollow trees

Tosti, Fabio ORCID:, Gennarelli, Gianluca, Lantini, Livia ORCID:, Catapano, Ilaria, Soldovieri, Francesco and Giannakis, Iraklis (2021) The use of GPR and microwave tomography for the assessment of the internal structure of hollow trees. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing. ISSN 0196-2892

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Internal decays in trees can rapidly escalate into a full decomposition of the inner structural layer, i.e., the “heartwood” layer, due to the action of aggressive diseases and fungal infections. This process leads to the formation of big cavities and hollows, which remain surrounded by the sapwood layer only. Estimating the thickness of the sapwood layer with a high degree of accuracy is therefore crucial for a correct assessment of the structural integrity of hollow trees, as well as an extremely challenging task. In this context, ground-penetrating radar (GPR) has proven effective in providing details of the internal structure of trees. Nevertheless, the existing GPR processing methods still offer limited information on their internal configuration. This study investigates the effectiveness of GPR enhanced by a microwave tomography inversion approach in the assessment of hollow trees. To this aim, a living hollow tree was investigated by performing a set of pseudo-circular scans along the bark perimeter with a hand-held common-offset GPR system. The tree was then felled, and sections were cut for testing purposes. A dedicated data processing framework was developed and tested through numerical simulations of hollow tree sections. The internal structure of the real trunk was therefore reconstructed via a tomographic imaging approach and the outcomes were quantitatively analysed by way of comparison with the real sections’ main geometric features. The tomographic approach has proven very accurate in locating the sapwood-cavity interface as well as in the evaluation of the sapwood layer thickness, with a centimetre prediction accuracy.

Item Type: Article
Identifier: 10.1109/TGRS.2021.3115408
Additional Information: © 2021 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works.
Keywords: ground-penetrating radar (GPR); hollow trees; sapwood layer thickness; microwave tomography; non-destructive testing (NDT); tree health monitoring
Subjects: Construction and engineering > Civil and environmental engineering
Construction and engineering > Digital signal processing
Construction and engineering > Electrical and electronic engineering
Construction and engineering
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Depositing User: Fabio Tosti
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2021 13:09
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 16:07


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