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Nondestructive evaluation of trees in urban environment through electroresistivity and ground penetrating radar methods combination

Abstract

It is known that afforestation brings several benefits, both aesthetic and functional, for human population and its environment. However, the lack of planning since the choice of the appropriate species and also the management of the trees imply in disorders, including hazards, damages and tree fall. At the present, it is verified that there are no established criteria for the correct diagnosis of the health condition or fall risk of a tree. Many analyzes are based upon invasive (such as the penetrograph) or visual-only assessments, which leads to mistaken decisions about tree management. Here we present an alternative tool for such analysis, combining the electroresistivity (electrical tomography - ET) and the GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) geophysical methods. ET method measure the electrical resistivity through the current injection and the GPR method uses the principle of reflection of high frequency electromagnetic waves. Both methods can obtain a high resolution image of the interior of a trunk, showing defects such as cavities and/or other damages, as well as of the root system, imaging the condition and spatial distribution of the roots underground. Different tests are planned to determine the best mode of data acquisition, as well as to identify and to differentiate patterns of anomalies found in tested samples. From these results, a software application will be developed for the analysis and interpretation of acquired data in field conditions and to build a database for future monitoring. In the presented context, the GPR shows potential to be a practical use tool that could, and should be, integrated with other types of analysis, improving the interpretation of the integrity of trunks and tree roots in urban environments. (AU)

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