To determine what is driving Colorado forest dieback.

Key to understanding the impact of widespread tree mortality in Colorado’s forests is teasing apart the interaction between insect infestations, drought, and fire. Data from UAS could provide the missing observations that are needed to understand forest dynamics at the landscape scale. We propose to connect UAS data collected as part of overflights in western Boulder County with tree inventory and canopy health data collected at the Niwot Ridge LTER and Mountain Research Station. We also propose to integrate satellite-based and other aerial-flight information on beetle-kill and fire, and in situ data on past and current climate.


  1. Develop and a small UAS to carry a suite of imaging instruments over western Boulder County
  2. Conduct flight operations to collect data for Earth Lab curation and analysis to address the challenge question