Open areas, along with their non-forest vegetation, are often threatened by secondary succession, which causes deterioration of biodiversity and the habitat’s conservation status. The knowledge about characteristics and dynamics of the secondary succession process is very important in the context of management and proper planning of active protection of the Natura 2000 habitats. This paper presents research on the evaluation of the possibility of using selected methods of textural analysis to determine the spatial extent of trees and shrubs based on archival aerial photographs, and consequently on the investigation of the secondary succession process. The research was carried out on imagery from six different dates, from 1971 to 2015. The images differed from each other in spectral resolution (panchromatic, in natural colors, color infrared), in original spatial resolution, as well as in radiometric quality. Two methods of textural analysis were chosen for the analysis: Gray level co-occurrence matrix (GLCM) and granulometric analysis, in a number of variants, depending on the selected parameters of these transformations. The choice of methods has been challenged by their reliability and ease of implementation in practice. The accuracy assessment was carried out using the results of visual photo interpretation of orthophotomaps from particular years as reference data. As a result of the conducted analyses, significant efficacy of the analyzed methods has been proved, with granulometric analysis as the method of generally better suitability and greater stability. The obtained results show the impact of individual image features on the classification efficiency. They also show greater stability and reliability of texture analysis based on granulometric/morphological operations.
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