Detecting red palm weevil infections

Red Palm Weevil (RPW) is considered as a key pest of palms with immense economic and environmental impacts, with consequences on food security and rural community livelihood in date palm oases. Adult weevils colonize the palms as they fly between them, while transnational infestations are due to the trade of infested plants. Direct losses can be attributed to the value of the destroyed palms and, for date palms, the consecutive loss of date production.

For a proper and efficient monitoring of red palm weevils, it is essential to work on the complete set of contextual, structural, spatial, spectral and temporal information available from remote sensing. 

The PalmWatch project will investigate whether detection of red palm weevil infestation is feasible using airborne and spaceborne remote sensing (RS) techniques.

An assessment will be made at what stage of the infestation a confident red palm weevil detection can be provided, and which remote sensing data is needed for this purpose. 

Our agricultural experts will focus on:

  • providing new insights into the disease-plant interaction mechanism
  • develop a processing chain for non-destructive and effective red palm weevil detection
  • setup a visualization platform indicating infestation probabilities

The PalmWatch project started 01/05/2019 and will have a duration of 30 months. The partners are Wageningen University, Phoenix Research Station and VITO Remote Sensing

PalmWatch is a research project financed by the Research Programme of Earth Observation STEREO III by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO).