Although remote sensing technology has long been used in wetland inventory and monitoring, the accuracy and detail level of wetland maps derived with moderate resolution imagery and traditional techniques have been limited and often unsatisfactory. We explored and evaluated the utility of a newly launched high-resolution, eight-band satellite system (Worldview-2; WV2) for identifying and classifying freshwater deltaic wetland vegetation and aquatic habitats in the Selenga River Delta of Lake Baikal, Russia, using a hybrid approach and a novel application of Indicator Species Analysis (ISA). We achieved an overall classification accuracy of 86.5% (Kappa coefficient: 0.85) for 22 classes of aquatic and wetland habitats and found that additional metrics, such as the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index and image texture, were valuable for improving the overall classification accuracy and particularly for discriminating among certain habitat classes. Our analysis demonstrated that including WV2’s four spectral bands from parts of the spectrum less commonly used in remote sensing analyses, along with the more traditional bandwidths, contributed to the increase in the overall classification accuracy by ~4% overall, but with considerable increases in our ability to discriminate certain communities. The coastal band improved differentiating open water and aquatic (i.e.
, vegetated) habitats, and the yellow, red-edge, and near-infrared 2 bands improved discrimination among different vegetated aquatic and terrestrial habitats. The use of ISA provided statistical rigor in developing associations between spectral classes and field-based data. Our analyses demonstrated the utility of a hybrid approach and the benefit of additional bands and metrics in providing the first spatially explicit mapping of a large and heterogeneous wetland system.
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