University of Oulu

Elina Isokangas, Corine Davids, Katharina Kujala, Anssi Rauhala, Anna-Kaisa Ronkanen, Pekka M. Rossi, Combining unmanned aerial vehicle-based remote sensing and stable water isotope analysis to monitor treatment peatlands of mining areas, Ecological Engineering, Volume 133, 2019, Pages 137-147, ISSN 0925-8574,

Combining unmanned aerial vehicle-based remote sensing and stable water isotope analysis to monitor treatment peatlands of mining areas

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Author: Isokangas, Elina1; Davids, Corine2; Kujala, Katharina1;
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Technology, Water, Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Unit, P.O. Box 4300, FI-90014, Finland
2NORCE Norwegian Research Centre AS, P.O. Box 6434, NO-9294 Tromsø, Norway
3University of Oulu, Structures and Construction Technology, P.O. Box 4200, FI-90014, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2019
Publish Date: 2021-05-03


Treatment peatlands are water purification systems located on existing mires. They are commonly used to treat different types of waters, ranging from municipal wastewaters to mine effluent. This study evaluated the capacity of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-based thermal infrared (TIR) imaging, color infrared imaging, and stable water isotopes as a combined method for monitoring the functioning of a treatment peatland purifying mine process effluent water under boreal conditions in northern Finland. The results showed that TIR was an efficient tool for pinpointing cold groundwater seepage points in the peatland area that were not otherwise visible. Color infrared imaging was used to define Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), as an indicator of plant health in the treatment area. A NDVI map of the area, measured on a day representing the main growing season (summer, +12 °C day temperature), revealed areas with stressed coniferous trees. This was probably due to excess water in these areas, resulting from successful spread of the process effluent water to the treatment peatland. Stable water isotopes were able to spatially differentiate the treated process effluent water, surface waters, and groundwater in different parts of the treatment peatland. This first attempt at combining these methods in monitoring of treatment peatlands was promising, as the results obtained with different methods complemented each other. While they produce only a snapshot of prevailing conditions, all three methods, singly and in combination, could be valuable tools in treatment peatland management.

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Series: Ecological engineering
ISSN: 0925-8574
ISSN-E: 1872-6992
ISSN-L: 0925-8574
Volume: 133
Pages: 137 - 147
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2019.04.024
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 218 Environmental engineering
Copyright information: © 2019. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license