Land cover classification (LCC) in complex surface-mined landscapes has become very important for understanding the influence of mining activities on the regional geo-environment. There are three characteristics of complex surface-mined areas limiting LCC: significant three-dimensional terrain, strong temporal-spatial variability of surface cover, and spectral-spatial homogeneity. Thus, determining effective feature sets are very important as input dataset to improve detailed extent of classification schemes and classification accuracy. In this study, data such as various feature sets derived from ZiYuan-3 stereo satellite imagery, a feature subset resulting from a feature selection (FS) procedure, training data polygons, and test sample sets were firstly obtained; then, feature sets’ effects on classification accuracy was assessed based on different feature set combination schemes, a FS procedure, and random forest algorithm. The following conclusions were drawn. (1) The importance of feature set could be divided into three grades: the vegetation index (VI), principal component bands (PCs), mean filters (Mean), standard deviation filters (StDev), texture measures (Textures), and topographic variables (TVs) were important; the Gaussian low-pass filters (GLP) was just positive; and none were useless. The descending order of their importance was TVs, StDev, Textures, Mean, PCs, VI, and GLP. (2) TVs and StDev both significantly outperformed VI, PCs, GLP, and Mean; Mean outperformed GLP; all other pairs of feature sets had no difference. In general, the study assessed different feature sets’ effects on LCC in complex surface-mined landscapes.
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