The functions of river floodplains often conflict spatially, for example, water conveyance during peak discharge and diverse riparian ecology. Such functions are often associated with floodplain vegetation. Frequent monitoring of floodplain land cover is necessary to capture the dynamics of this vegetation. However, low classification accuracies are found with existing methods, especially for relatively similar vegetation types, such as grassland and herbaceous vegetation. Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery has great potential to improve the classification of these vegetation types owing to its high spatial resolution and flexibility in image acquisition timing. This study aimed to evaluate the increase in classification accuracy obtained using multitemporal UAV images versus single time step data on floodplain land cover classification and to assess the effect of varying the number and timing of imagery acquisition moments. We obtained a dataset of multitemporal UAV imagery and field reference observations and applied object-based Random Forest classification (RF) to data of different time step combinations. High overall accuracies (OA) exceeding 90% were found for the RF of floodplain land cover, with six vegetation classes and four non-vegetation classes. Using two or more time steps compared with a single time step increased the OA from 96.9% to 99.3%. The user’s accuracies of the classes with large similarity, such as natural grassland and herbaceous vegetation, also exceeded 90%. The combination of imagery from June and September resulted in the highest OA (98%) for two time steps. Our method is a practical and highly accurate solution for monitoring areas of a few square kilometres. For large-scale monitoring of floodplains, the same method can be used, but with data from airborne platforms covering larger extents.
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