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Open AccessArticle

UAS-GEOBIA Approach to Sapling Identification in Jack Pine Barrens after Fire

Geography, Environment, and Spatial Science, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
Aviation and Transportation Technology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Drones 2018, 2(4), 40;
Received: 30 August 2018 / Revised: 13 November 2018 / Accepted: 14 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
Jack pine (pinus banksiana) forests are unique ecosystems controlled by wildfire. Understanding the traits of revegetation after wildfire is important for sustainable forest management, as these forests not only provide economic resources, but also are home to specialized species, like the Kirtland Warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii). Individual tree detection of jack pine saplings after fire events can provide information about an environment’s recovery. Traditional satellite and manned aerial sensors lack the flexibility and spatial resolution required for identifying saplings in early post-fire analysis. Here we evaluated the use of unmanned aerial systems and geographic object-based image analysis for jack pine sapling identification in a region burned during the 2012 Duck Lake Fire in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Results of this study indicate that sapling identification accuracies can top 90%, and that accuracy improves with the inclusion of red and near infrared spectral bands. Results also indicated that late season imagery performed best when discriminating between young (<5 years) jack pines and herbaceous ground cover in these environments. View Full-Text
Keywords: UAV; jack pine; succession; forest disturbance; fire UAV; jack pine; succession; forest disturbance; fire
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White, R.A.; Bomber, M.; Hupy, J.P.; Shortridge, A. UAS-GEOBIA Approach to Sapling Identification in Jack Pine Barrens after Fire. Drones 2018, 2, 40.

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