In recent decades, rice disease co-epidemics have caused tremendous damage to crop production in both China and Southeast Asia. A variety of remote sensing based approaches have been developed and applied to map diseases distribution using coarse- to moderate-resolution imagery. However, the detection and discrimination of various disease species infecting rice were seldom assessed using high spatial resolution data. The aims of this study were (1) to develop a set of normalized two-stage vegetation indices (VIs) for characterizing the progressive development of different diseases with rice; (2) to explore the performance of combined normalized two-stage VIs in partial least square discriminant analysis (PLS-DA); and (3) to map and evaluate the damage caused by rice diseases at fine spatial scales, for the first time using bi-temporal, high spatial resolution imagery from PlanetScope datasets at a 3 m spatial resolution. Our findings suggest that the primary biophysical parameters caused by different disease (e.g., changes in leaf area, pigment contents, or canopy morphology) can be captured using combined normalized two-stage VIs. PLS-DA was able to classify rice diseases at a sub-field scale, with an overall accuracy of 75.62% and a Kappa value of 0.47. The approach was successfully applied during a typical co-epidemic outbreak of rice dwarf (Rice dwarf virus, RDV), rice blast (Magnaporthe oryzae), and glume blight (Phyllosticta glumarum) in Guangxi Province, China. Furthermore, our approach highlighted the feasibility of the method in capturing heterogeneous disease patterns at fine spatial scales over the large spatial extents.
Keywords: PlanetScope; damage mapping; feature extraction; glume blight; high spatial resolution; rice blast; rice dwarf.