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Remote Sens. 2015, 7(5), 6041-6058; doi:10.3390/rs70506041

Phenology-Based Vegetation Index Differencing for Mapping of Rubber Plantations Using Landsat OLI Data

Asian International Rivers Center of Yunnan University, Yunnan Key Laboratory of International Rivers and Transboundary Eco-Security, Kunming 650091, China
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Academic Editors: Alfredo R. Huete and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 10 March 2015 / Revised: 23 April 2015 / Accepted: 6 May 2015 / Published: 15 May 2015
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Abstract

Accurate and up-to-date mapping and monitoring of rubber plantations is challenging. In this study, we presented a simple method for rapidly and accurately mapping rubber plantations in the Xishuangbanna region of southwest China using phenology-based vegetation index differencing. Temporal profiles of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI), Atmospherically Resistant Vegetation Index (ARVI), Normalized Difference Moisture Index (NDMI), and Tasselled Cap Greenness (TCG) for rubber trees, natural forests and croplands were constructed using 11 Landsat 8 OLI images acquired within one year. These vegetation index time series accurately demonstrated the unique seasonal phenological dynamics of rubber trees. Two distinct phenological phases (i.e., defoliation and foliation) of rubber trees were clearly distinguishable from natural forests and croplands. Rubber trees undergo a brief defoliation-foliation process between late December and mid-March. Therefore, vegetation index differencing between the nearly complete defoliation (leaf-off) and full foliation (leaf flushing) phases was used to delineate rubber plantations within fragmented tropical mountainous landscapes. The method presented herein greatly improved rubber plantation classification accuracy. Overall classification accuracies derived from the differences of the five vegetation indices varied from 92% to 96% with corresponding kappa coefficients of 0.84–0.92. These results demonstrate the promising potential of phenology-based vegetation index differencing for mapping and monitoring rubber expansion at the regional scale. View Full-Text
Keywords: rubber plantations; phenology; image differencing; thresholding; Landsat 8 OLI; Xishuangbanna; Lancang-Mekong rubber plantations; phenology; image differencing; thresholding; Landsat 8 OLI; Xishuangbanna; Lancang-Mekong
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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

Fan, H.; Fu, X.; Zhang, Z.; Wu, Q. Phenology-Based Vegetation Index Differencing for Mapping of Rubber Plantations Using Landsat OLI Data. Remote Sens. 2015, 7, 6041-6058.

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