Orusa, T; Orusa, R; Viani, A; Carella, E; Mondino, EB (2020). Geomatics and EO Data to Support Wildlife Diseases Assessment at Landscape Level: A Pilot Experience to Map Infectious Keratoconjunctivitis in Chamois and Phenological Trends in Aosta Valley (NW Italy). REMOTE SENSING, 12(21), 3542.

Geomatics and satellite remote sensing offer useful analysis tools for several technical-scientific fields. This work, with reference to a regional case of study, investigates remote sensing potentialities for describing relationships between environment and diseases affecting wildlife at landscape level in the light of climate change effects onto vegetation. Specifically, the infectious keratoconjunctivitis (IKC) of chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra L.) in Aosta Valley (NW Italy) was investigated at the regional level. IKC (Mycoplasma conjunctivae) is a contagious disease for domestic and wild ruminants (Caprinae and Ovinae). Two types of analysis were performed: one aimed at exploring by remotely sensed data phenological metrics (PMs) and evapotranspiration (ET) trends of vegetation in the area; one investigating the correlation between PMs and ET, versus IKC prevalence. The analysis was based on TERRA MODIS image time series ranging from 2000 to 2019. Ground data about IKC were available for a shorter time range: 2009-2019. Consequently, PMs and ET trend investigations were focused on the whole times range (2000-2019); conversely, correlation analysis was achieved with reference to the reduced 2009-2019 period. The whole study was based on freely available data from public archives. MODIS products, namely MOD13Q1 v.6 and MOD16A2, were used to derive PM and ET trends, respectively. Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) Digital Terrain Model (DTM) was used to describe local topography; CORINE Land Cover map was adopted to describe land use classes. PMs and ET (as derivable from EO data) proved to significantly changed their values in the last 20 years, with a continuous progressive trend. As far as correlation analysis was concerned, ET and some PMs (specifically, End of Season (EOS) and Length of Season (LOS) proved significantly condition IKC prevalence. According to results, the proposed methodology can be retained as an effective tool for supporting public health and eco-pathological sectors. Specifically, it can be intended for a continuous monitoring of effects that climatic dynamics determine onto wild animals in the Alpine area, included diseases and zoonosis, moving future environmental management and planning towards the One Health perspective.