Revista de Biología Tropical ISSN Impreso: 0034-7744 ISSN electrónico: 2215-2075

Biomass and bioethanol production of the shrub Ulex europaeus (Fabaceae) estimated with remote sensor imagery in the Andean paramos


aboveground biomass
fuel load
Andean paramo
remote sensing
biomasa aérea;
carga de combustible;
retamo espinoso;
páramo andino;
sensores remotos;

How to Cite

Osorio-Castiblanco, D. F. (2024). Biomass and bioethanol production of the shrub Ulex europaeus (Fabaceae) estimated with remote sensor imagery in the Andean paramos. Revista De Biología Tropical, 72(1), e56364.


Introduction: Gorse (Ulex europaeus, family Fabaceae) is an evergreen shrub native to Europe and invasive in the Andean high-mountain tropical paramos. Objective: To quantify the extent of a biological invasion within a paramo near Los Nevados National Natural Park in Tolima, Colombia, and evaluate bioeconomic solutions to encourage shrub eradication while promoting the local economy and industry. Methods: An object-based supervised classification approach was conducted using UAS (Uncrewed Aircraft Systems)-based RGB imagery and a Planet-derived NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) layer, both from 2022, to quantify the area invaded. This value, the height obtained from a UAS-derived nDSM (Normalized Digital Surface Model), and a pair of allometric equations found in the literature were employed to estimate the gorse aboveground biomass (AGB) and aboveground available fuel, also known as fuel load. Then, documented bioethanol production estimations were applied to calculate its potential extraction based on the AGB values. Results: The invaded area was quantified to be 66 465 m2, with an overall accuracy rate of 85.3 %. Furthermore, the fuel load was found to be approximately half of the AGB, which poses a high risk of fire in the ecosystem. The findings also suggest that up to USD 88 933.7 could be generated if all gorse in the study area is exploited to produce bioethanol. Conclusions: This study underscores the urgency of managing the biological invasion of gorse in the Andean paramo and suggests the potential for bioeconomic solutions to mitigate the impact of these invasions.


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