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Investigating the relationship between functional and spectral diversity of restored forests of São Paulo state using artificial intelligence and remote sensing methods

Abstract

This Visiting Researcher Grant proposal aims to fund the visit of Dr. Matheus Pinheiro Ferreira, Adjunct Professor of the Cartographic Engineering Section of the Military Institute of Engineering (IME) at the Department of Forestry Sciences of the Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture of the University of São Paulo (ESALQ/USP). During one year, Dr. Matheus Ferreira will work with data from the NewFor project supported by FAPESP (process nº 18/18416-2). Over three years, NewFor has been collecting inventory data about the structure, diversity, and function of "new forests" (restored forests, those undergoing natural regeneration and agroforests) with advanced remote sensing technologies such as light detection and ranging (LiDAR) and imaging spectroscopy. Recently, the project completed the construction of a unique database based on collecting leaf optical properties and functional traits of several tree species in different forest formations. Such a database provides a unique opportunity to investigate the relationship between functional and spectral diversity in restored tropical forests. The visiting researcher intends to explore this relationship at the leaf and canopy level using advanced artificial intelligence methods. Furthermore, the research will explore one of the main bottlenecks of the NewFor project and remote sensing as a whole, which is the remote measurement of biodiversity. This is an important frontier of knowledge that will be explored based on the combination of unique databases (>700 field plots and a spectral database of >400 tree species), sophisticated pieces of equipment (drone-lidar-hyperspectral system ), and a researcher of excellence in the subject, generating multiple academic benefits, with an impact on public policies (supporting the future development of monitoring systems for large-scale restoration) and on the training of human resources (through training and qualification of students from undergraduate and graduate courses involved in the research). It is hoped that the research results will contribute to NewFor achieving its central objective, which is related to obtaining information about the diversity, structure, and function of the "new forests" of São Paulo. As benefits of the visit, it is worth highlighting the expansion of the NewFor database through the acquisition of hyperspectral images, the intensification of scientific partnerships with other institutions in São Paulo with which the visiting researcher has partnerships and benefits related to guidance and participation in student committees of undergraduate and graduate courses. (AU)

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