Advances in Earth Science ›› 2009, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (6): 606-611. doi: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2009.06.0606

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The Application of Ground Penetrating Radar to Plant Root System Detection

Cui Xihong, Chen Jin, Guan Linlin   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, College of Resources & Technology,Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875,China
  • Received:2008-12-22 Revised:2009-05-13 Online:2009-06-10 Published:2009-06-10

Cui Xihong, Chen Jin, Guan Linlin. The Application of Ground Penetrating Radar to Plant Root System Detection[J]. Advances in Earth Science, 2009, 24(6): 606-611.

 With the recognition of the important functions of roots in ecosystems, root-related parameters such as root size, biomass, distribution, structure and 3D architecture are urgently required for a better understanding of root functions, biogeochemical cycles, and various aspects of global change. Traditional methods for measuring roots are labor intensive and destructive in nature, limiting quantitative and repeated assessments in long-term research on roots. Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR) offers a nondestructive measurement for plant roots. This article aims to introduce the GPR principles and to review the existing researches involved in the application of GPR to map plant root systems, measure root diameters and estimate root biomass. The results suggest that high antenna frequency and small profile grid is required in order to map root systems distribution with higher spatial resolution by GPR. Moreover, estimating root diameters and biomass with higher accuracy are mainly depended on feature extraction from GPR reflecting signals. Meanwhile, advanced data analysis and processing technique is also critical with urgent needs for practical applications. Although significant further works are needed, the GPR provides good potential to support plant root system detection and measure.

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