Using UAV-based remote sensing to assess grapevine canopy damage due to fire smoke

J Sci Food Agric. 2020 Sep;100(12):4531-4539. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.10494. Epub 2020 Jun 15.


Background: Bushfires are becoming an increasing issue for the wine sector due to grape and vine losses and smoke taint in wine. Smoke affects vine physiology and the smoke's volatile phenols are absorbed by plants and berries, contaminating the wine. Our hypothesis was that, for the first time, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-based visible images can be used to study the physiology of smoke-affected vines and to assess compromised vines.

Results: Procanico vines were exposed to two smoke treatments, a week apart. Gas exchanges and leaf biochemical traits were measured in the short term (30 min after smoke exposure) and in the long term (24 h after smoke exposure). Canopy damage was assessed with conventional vegetation indices (VIs) and by an innovative index derived by UAV-based visible images, the Canopy Area Health Index (CAHI). Gas exchange showed a reduction after the first smoke exposure, but the vines recovered within 24 h. The second smoke exposure led to an irreversible reduction in functional parameters. The VIs exhibited significant differences and CAHI presented a damage gradient related to bushfire nearby.

Conclusion: The vineyard damage assessment by UAV-based visible images may represent a tool to study the physiological activity of smoke-affected vines and to quantify the loss of destroyed or damaged vines. © 2020 Society of Chemical Industry.

Keywords: RGB image; Vitis vinifera; smoke-taint; unmanned aerial vehicle; vegetation indices.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants
  • Fires
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Fruit / drug effects*
  • Fruit / growth & development
  • Fruit / radiation effects
  • Phenols / adverse effects
  • Remote Sensing Technology / instrumentation
  • Remote Sensing Technology / methods*
  • Smoke / adverse effects*
  • Ultraviolet Rays
  • Vitis / chemistry
  • Vitis / drug effects*
  • Vitis / growth & development
  • Vitis / radiation effects
  • Wine / analysis


  • Air Pollutants
  • Phenols
  • Smoke