Research Brief: Innovative detection system allows researchers to differentiate oak wilt and drought

February 6, 2024

Oak forests play a vital role in our ecosystem, providing climate regulation and erosion control across North America. However, these forests face compounding threats from drought and oak wilt, and it can be challenging to tell these two issues apart. 

Using an innovative approach that combines remote sensing tools with physiological measurements, University of Minnesota researchers developed a way to detect oak wilt early and accurately — an important step in safeguarding the health of oak-dominated forests. 

Newly published research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences demonstrates the ability to predict physiological processes related to oak wilt and drought stress from light reflected from canopies. Read the full brief.