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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(8), 857;

A Robust Algorithm for Estimating Surface Fractional Vegetation Cover from Landsat Data

State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Institute of Remote Sensing Science and Engineering, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 July 2017 / Revised: 10 August 2017 / Accepted: 10 August 2017 / Published: 19 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Agriculture and Vegetation)
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Fractional vegetation cover (FVC) is an essential land surface parameter for Earth surface process simulations and global change studies. The currently existing FVC products are mostly obtained from low or medium resolution remotely sensed data, while many applications require the fine spatial resolution FVC product. The availability of well-calibrated coverage of Landsat imagery over large areas offers an opportunity for the production of FVC at fine spatial resolution. Therefore, the objective of this study is to develop a general and reliable land surface FVC estimation algorithm for Landsat surface reflectance data under various land surface conditions. Two machine learning methods multivariate adaptive regression splines (MARS) model and back-propagation neural networks (BPNNs) were trained using samples from PROSPECT leaf optical properties model and the scattering by arbitrarily inclined leaves (SAIL) model simulations, which included Landsat reflectance and corresponding FVC values, and evaluated to choose the method which had better performance. Thereafter, the MARS model, which had better performance in the independent validation, was evaluated using ground FVC measurements from two case study areas. The direct validation of the FVC estimated using the proposed algorithm (Heihe: R2 = 0.8825, RMSE = 0.097; Chengde using Landsat 7 ETM+: R2 = 0.8571, RMSE = 0.078, Chengde using Landsat 8 OLI: R2 = 0.8598, RMSE = 0.078) showed the proposed method had good performance. Spatial-temporal assessment of the estimated FVC from Landsat 7 ETM+ and Landsat 8 OLI data confirmed the robustness and consistency of the proposed method. All these results indicated that the proposed algorithm could obtain satisfactory accuracy and had the potential for the production of high-quality FVC estimates from Landsat surface reflectance data. View Full-Text
Keywords: fractional vegetation cover (FVC); PROSAIL; multivariate adaptive regression splines (MARS); Landsat; machine learning fractional vegetation cover (FVC); PROSAIL; multivariate adaptive regression splines (MARS); Landsat; machine learning

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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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Yang, L.; Jia, K.; Liang, S.; Wei, X.; Yao, Y.; Zhang, X. A Robust Algorithm for Estimating Surface Fractional Vegetation Cover from Landsat Data. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 857.

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