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Mapping Forest Characteristics at Fine Resolution across Large Landscapes of the Southeastern United States Using NAIP Imagery and FIA Field Plot Data

Rocky Mountain Research Station, U.S. Forest Service, Missoula, MT 59801, USA
College of Forestry and Conservation, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59801, USA
U.S. Forest Service, Tallahassee, FL 32321, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2018, 7(4), 140;
Received: 15 February 2018 / Revised: 28 March 2018 / Accepted: 29 March 2018 / Published: 3 April 2018
PDF [28786 KB, uploaded 3 May 2018]


Accurate information is important for effective management of natural resources. In the field of forestry, field measurements of forest characteristics such as species composition, basal area, and stand density are used to inform and evaluate management activities. Quantifying these metrics accurately across large landscapes in a meaningful way is extremely important to facilitate informed decision-making. In this study, we present a remote sensing based methodology to estimate species composition, basal area and stand tree density for pine and hardwood tree species at the spatial resolution of a Forest Inventory Analysis (FIA) program plot (78 m by 70 m). Our methodology uses textural metrics derived at this spatial scale to relate plot summaries of forest characteristics to remotely sensed National Agricultural Imagery Program (NAIP) aerial imagery across broad extents. Our findings quantify strong relationships between NAIP imagery and FIA field data. On average, models of basal area and trees per acre accounted for 43% of the variation in the FIA data, while models identifying species composition had less than 15.2% error in predicted class probabilities. Moreover, these relationships can be used to spatially characterize the condition of forests at fine spatial resolutions across broad extents. View Full-Text
Keywords: NAIP; FIA; remote sensing; forest measurements NAIP; FIA; remote sensing; forest measurements

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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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Hogland, J.; Anderson, N.; St. Peter, J.; Drake, J.; Medley, P. Mapping Forest Characteristics at Fine Resolution across Large Landscapes of the Southeastern United States Using NAIP Imagery and FIA Field Plot Data. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2018, 7, 140.

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ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. EISSN 2220-9964 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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