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Remote Sens. 2015, 7(12), 16315-16338; doi:10.3390/rs71215830

Estimation of Alpine Forest Structural Variables from Imaging Spectrometer Data

Remote Sensing Laboratories (RSL), University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland
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Academic Editors: Sangram Ganguly, Compton Tucker, Randolph H. Wynne and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 7 October 2015 / Revised: 23 November 2015 / Accepted: 27 November 2015 / Published: 3 December 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Vegetation Structure and Dynamics)
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Abstract

Spatial information of forest structural variables is crucial for sustainable forest management planning, forest monitoring, and the assessment of forest ecosystem productivity. We investigate a complex alpine forest ecosystem located in the Swiss National Park (SNP) and apply empirical models to retrieve the structural variables canopy closure, basal area, and timber volume at plot scale. We used imaging spectrometer (IS) data from the Airborne Prism EXperiment (APEX) in combination with in-situ measurements of forest structural variables to develop empirical models. These models are based on simple and stepwise multiple regressions, while all potential two narrow-band combinations of the Simple Ratio (SR), the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), the perpendicular vegetation index (PVI), the second soil-adjusted vegetation index (SAVI2), and band depth indices were tested. The accuracy of the estimated structural attributes was evaluated using a leave-one-out cross-validation technique. Using stepwise multiple regression models, we obtained a moderate to good accuracy when estimating canopy closure (R2 = 0.81, rRMSE = 10%), basal area (R2 = 0.68, rRMSE = 20%), and timber volume (R2 = 0.73, rRMSE = 22%). We discuss the reliability of empirical approaches for estimates of canopy structural parameters considering the causality of light interaction and surface information. View Full-Text
Keywords: forest structural variables; imaging spectrometer data; empirical approach; narrow-band vegetation indices; band depth indices; APEX; Swiss National Park forest structural variables; imaging spectrometer data; empirical approach; narrow-band vegetation indices; band depth indices; APEX; Swiss National Park
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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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Fatehi, P.; Damm, A.; Schaepman, M.E.; Kneubühler, M. Estimation of Alpine Forest Structural Variables from Imaging Spectrometer Data. Remote Sens. 2015, 7, 16315-16338.

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