Investigating mangrove species composition is a basic and important topic in wetland management and conservation. This study aims to explore the potential of close-range hyperspectral imaging with a snapshot hyperspectral sensor for identifying mangrove species under field conditions. Specifically, we assessed the data pre-processing and transformation, waveband selection and machine-learning techniques to develop an optimal classification scheme for eight mangrove species in Qi’ao Island of Zhuhai, Guangdong, China. After data pre-processing and transformation, five spectral datasets, which included the reflectance spectra R and its first-order derivative d(R), the logarithm of the reflectance spectra log(R) and its first-order derivative d[log(R)], and hyperspectral vegetation indices (VIs), were used as the input data for each classifier. Consequently, three waveband selection methods, including the stepwise discriminant analysis (SDA), correlation-based feature selection (CFS), and successive projections algorithm (SPA) were used to reduce dimensionality and select the effective wavebands for identifying mangrove species. Furthermore, we evaluated the performance of mangrove species classification using four classifiers, including linear discriminant analysis (LDA), k-nearest neighbor (KNN), random forest (RF), and support vector machine (SVM). Application of the four considered classifiers on the reflectance spectra of all wavebands yielded overall classification accuracies of the eight mangrove species higher than 80%, with SVM having the highest accuracy of 93.54% (Kappa = 0.9256). Using the selected wavebands derived from SPA, the accuracy of SVM reached 93.13% (Kappa = 0.9208). The addition of hyperspectral VIs and d[log(R)] spectral datasets further improves the accuracies to 93.54% (Kappa = 0.9253) and 96.46% (Kappa = 0.9591), respectively. These results suggest that it is highly effective to apply field close-range snapshot hyperspectral images and machine-learning classifiers to classify mangrove species.
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