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Remote Sens. 2013, 5(12), 6461-6480; doi:10.3390/rs5126461

Canopy Fuel Load Mapping of Mediterranean Pine Sites Based on Individual Tree-Crown Delineation

2,* , 3
1 Department of Forestry and Management of the Environment and Natural Resources, Democritus University of Thrace, Orestiada 68200, Greece 2 The Global Fire Monitoring Center, Fire Ecology Research Group,c/o Freiburg University, Georges-Köhler-Allee 75, D-79110 Freiburg, Germany 3 Department of Cadastre, Photogrammetry and Cartography, Faculty of Rural and Surveying Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki 54124, Greece 4 School of Forestry and Natural Environment, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki 54124, Greece
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 August 2013 / Revised: 25 November 2013 / Accepted: 26 November 2013 / Published: 2 December 2013
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This study presents an individual tree-crown-based approach for canopy fuel load estimation and mapping in two Mediterranean pine stands. Based on destructive sampling, an allometric equation was developed for the estimation of crown fuel weight considering only pine crown width, a tree characteristic that can be estimated from passive imagery. Two high resolution images were used originally for discriminating Aleppo and Calabrian pines crown regions through a geographic object based image analysis approach. Subsequently, the crown region images were segmented using a watershed segmentation algorithm and crown width was extracted. The overall accuracy of the tree crown isolation expressed through a perfect match between the reference and the delineated crowns was 34.00% for the Kassandra site and 48.11% for the Thessaloniki site, while the coefficient of determination between the ground measured and the satellite extracted crown width was 0.5. Canopy fuel load values estimated in the current study presented mean values from 1.29 ± 0.6 to 1.65 ± 0.7 kg/m2 similar to other conifers worldwide. Despite the modest accuracies attained in this first study of individual tree crown fuel load mapping, the combination of the allometric equations with satellite-based extracted crown width information, can contribute to the spatially explicit mapping of canopy fuel load in Mediterranean areas. These maps can be used among others in fire behavior prediction, in fuel reduction treatments prioritization and during active fire suppression.
Keywords: tree crown extraction; GEOBIA; object based; canopy fuel load; forest parameters tree crown extraction; GEOBIA; object based; canopy fuel load; forest parameters
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Mallinis, G.; Mitsopoulos, Ι.; Stournara, P.; Patias, P.; Dimitrakopoulos, A. Canopy Fuel Load Mapping of Mediterranean Pine Sites Based on Individual Tree-Crown Delineation. Remote Sens. 2013, 5, 6461-6480.

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