Plant pathologists here have been trying to get an eye-in-the-sky project off the ground that would use airborne cameras and thermal imaging detectors to map at risk trees, long before symptoms are visible to the human eye. But so far the funding bid has been rejected. The technology has already been successfully used in Australia for 10 years to arrest the spread of serious tree diseases. Meanwhile, in Italy a devastating and fast-spreading infection known as Xylella fastidiosa, that’s killing some of its iconic olive trees is also being detected from the air. Dr Ian Horner, is a plant pathologist heading the Plant & Food Research team trying to protect kauri trees. Associate Professor Paul Barber is from the forest health management company ArborCarbon.