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Special Issue "Mapping Tree Species Diversity"

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Remote Sensing".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2021) | Viewed by 36809

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Markus Immitzer
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Geomatics, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU), Peter Jordan Strasse 82, 1190 Vienna, Austria
Interests: remote sensing based on optical data with high to very high spatial and spectral resolution for forest mapping; vegetation stress monitoring; modeling of biophysical parameters; and land cover classification—focus on temperate forests
Prof. Dr. Onisimo Mutanga
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Professor and SARChI Chair on Land Use Planning, School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Kwazulu-Natal, Glenwood, Durban 4041, South Africa
Interests: remote sensing; land use; environment; vegetation; hyperspectral remote sensing; ecosystem ecology; spatial analysis; climate change impact analysist; vegetation mapping
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Clement Atzberger
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Professor, Institute of Geomatics, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna, Austria
Interests: remote sensing of vegetation with focus on time series analysis and use of physically based radiative transfer models for mapping biochemical and biophysical traits
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The current UN report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services depicts an alarming and shocking picture of the Earth. With accelerating rates of species extinction, our environment is declining globally at unprecedented rates. Transformative economic and societal change is necessary, and will involve far-reaching alterations in thoughts and actions at both local and global levels. To cope with the pace of global change, a rapid increase in knowledge about species numbers, compositions, and conditions is required, as well as species interactions and environments. Remote sensing provides the only feasible way to cost-effectively and repeatedly measure and monitor these changes. Today’s satellite, aircraft, and UAV instruments provide a wide range of observational capability in terms of spatial, temporal, and spectral resolutions. Machine learning approaches and computational capacity are improving quickly, offering huge potential for improved data analysis, including “big data” and the development of powerful monitoring systems.

This Special Issue will include studies focused on the remote observation of spatial patterns and temporal changes in the biodiversity of forests, at local to global scales.  We invite authors to submit recent research that specifically addresses the detection or monitoring of

  • biodiversity of forests in the context of classical species diversity;
  • the mapping of changes in diversity;
  • the floristic composition of forests;
  • invasive species; and
  • the functional diversity of forests.

Review articles are also welcome.

Dr. Markus Immitzer
Prof. Dr. Onisimo Mutanga
Prof. Dr. Clement Atzberger
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • tree species mapping
  • biological diversity
  • multispectral optical remote sensing
  • hyperspectral optical remote sensing
  • synthetic aperture radar
  • multi-temporal remote sensing
  • satellites, aircraft, UAVs
  • sensor fusion

Published Papers (19 papers)

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Research

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Communication
Combination of Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 Data for Tree Species Classification in a Central European Biosphere Reserve
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(11), 2687; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14112687 - 03 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1931
Abstract
Microwave and optical imaging methods react differently to different land surface parameters and, thus, provide highly complementary information. However, the contribution of individual features from these two domains of the electromagnetic spectrum for tree species classification is still unclear. For large-scale forest assessments, [...] Read more.
Microwave and optical imaging methods react differently to different land surface parameters and, thus, provide highly complementary information. However, the contribution of individual features from these two domains of the electromagnetic spectrum for tree species classification is still unclear. For large-scale forest assessments, it is moreover important to better understand the domain-specific limitations of the two sensor families, such as the impact of cloudiness and low signal-to-noise-ratio, respectively. In this study, seven deciduous and five coniferous tree species of the Austrian Biosphere Reserve Wienerwald (105,000 ha) were classified using Breiman’s random forest classifier, labeled with help of forest enterprise data. In nine test cases, variations of Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 imagery were passed to the classifier to evaluate their respective contributions. By solely using a high number of Sentinel-2 scenes well spread over the growing season, an overall accuracy of 83.2% was achieved. With ample Sentinel-2 scenes available, the additional use of Sentinel-1 data improved the results by 0.5 percentage points. This changed when only a single Sentinel-2 scene was supposedly available. In this case, the full set of Sentinel-1-derived features increased the overall accuracy on average by 4.7 percentage points. The same level of accuracy could be obtained using three Sentinel-2 scenes spread over the vegetation period. On the other hand, the sole use of Sentinel-1 including phenological indicators and additional features derived from the time series did not yield satisfactory overall classification accuracies (55.7%), as only coniferous species were well separated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Tree Species Diversity)
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Article
Mapping the Abundance of Multipurpose Agroforestry Faidherbia albida Trees in Senegal
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(3), 662; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14030662 - 29 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1039
Abstract
Multi-purpose Faidherbia albida trees represent a vital component of agroforestry parklands in West Africa as they provide resources (fodder for livestock, fruits and firewood) and support water lifting and nutrient recycling for cropping. Faidherbia albida trees are characterized by their inverse phenology, growing [...] Read more.
Multi-purpose Faidherbia albida trees represent a vital component of agroforestry parklands in West Africa as they provide resources (fodder for livestock, fruits and firewood) and support water lifting and nutrient recycling for cropping. Faidherbia albida trees are characterized by their inverse phenology, growing leaf flowers and pods during the dry season, thereby providing fodder and shedding leaves during the wet season, which minimizes competition with pastures and crops for resources. Multi-spectral and multi-temporal satellite systems and novel computational methods open new doors for classifying single trees and identifying species. This study used a Multi-Layer Perception feedforward artificial neural network to classify pixels covered by Faidherbia albida canopies from Sentinel-2 time series in Senegal, West Africa. To better discriminate the Faidherbia albida signal from the background, monthly images from vegetation indices were used to form relevant variables for the model. We found that NDI54/NDVI from the period covering onset of leaf senescence (February) until end of senescence (leaf-off in June) to be the most important, resulting in a high precision and recall rate of 0.91 and 0.85. We compared our result with a potential Faidherbia albida occurrence map derived by empirical modelling of the species ecology, which deviates notably from the actual species occurrence mapped by this study. We have shown that even small differences in dry season leaf phenology can be used to distinguish tree species. The Faidherbia albida distribution maps, as provided here, will be key in managing farmlands in drylands, helping to optimize economic and ecological services from both tree and crop products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Tree Species Diversity)
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Article
Machine Learning Classification of Endangered Tree Species in a Tropical Submontane Forest Using WorldView-2 Multispectral Satellite Imagery and Imbalanced Dataset
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(24), 4970; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13244970 - 07 Dec 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1064
Abstract
Accurate maps of the spatial distribution of tropical tree species provide valuable insights for ecologists and forest management. The discrimination of tree species for economic, ecological, and technical reasons is usually necessary for achieving promising results in tree species mapping. Most of the [...] Read more.
Accurate maps of the spatial distribution of tropical tree species provide valuable insights for ecologists and forest management. The discrimination of tree species for economic, ecological, and technical reasons is usually necessary for achieving promising results in tree species mapping. Most of the data used in tree species mapping normally have some degree of imbalance. This study aimed to assess the effects of imbalanced data in identifying and mapping trees species under threat in a selectively logged sub-montane heterogeneous tropical forest using random forest (RF) and support vector machine with radial basis function (RBF-SVM) kernel classifiers and WorldView-2 multispectral imagery. For comparison purposes, the original imbalanced dataset was standardized using three data sampling techniques: oversampling, undersampling, and combined oversampling and undersampling techniques in R. The combined oversampling and undersampling technique produced the best results: F1-scores of 68.56 ± 2.6% for RF and 64.64 ± 3.4% for SVM. The balanced dataset recorded improved classification accuracy compared to the original imbalanced dataset. This research observed that more separable classes recorded higher F1-scores. Among the species, Syzygium guineense and Zanthoxylum gilletii were the most accurately mapped whereas Newtonia buchananii was the least accurately mapped. The most important spectral bands with the ability to detect and distinguish between tree species as measured by random forest classifier, were the Red, Red Edge, Near Infrared 1, and Near Infrared 2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Tree Species Diversity)
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Article
How Spatial Resolution Affects Forest Phenology and Tree-Species Classification Based on Satellite and Up-Scaled Time-Series Images
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(14), 2716; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13142716 - 10 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1130
Abstract
The distribution of forest tree species provides crucial data for regional forest management and ecological research. Although medium-high spatial resolution remote sensing images are widely used for dynamic monitoring of forest vegetation phenology and species identification, the use of multiresolution images for similar [...] Read more.
The distribution of forest tree species provides crucial data for regional forest management and ecological research. Although medium-high spatial resolution remote sensing images are widely used for dynamic monitoring of forest vegetation phenology and species identification, the use of multiresolution images for similar applications remains highly uncertain. Moreover, it is necessary to explore to what extent spectral variation is responsible for the discrepancies in the estimation of forest phenology and classification of various tree species when using up-scaled images. To clarify this situation, we studied the forest area in Harqin Banner in northeast China by using year-round multiple-resolution time-series images (at four spatial resolutions: 4, 10, 16, and 30 m) and eight phenological metrics of four deciduous forest tree species in 2018, to explore potential impacts of relevant results caused by various resolutions. We also investigated the effect of using up-scaled time-series images by comparing the corresponding results that use pixel-aggregation algorithms with the four spatial resolutions. The results indicate that both phenology and classification accuracy of the dominant forest tree species are markedly affected by the spatial resolution of time-series remote sensing data (p < 0.05): the spring phenology of four deciduous forest tree species first rises and then falls as the image resolution varies from 4 to 30 m; similarly, the accuracy of tree species classification increases as the image resolution varies from 4 to 10 m, and then decreases as the image resolution gradually falls to 30 m (p < 0.05). Therefore, there remains a profound discrepancy between the results obtained by up-scaled and actual remote sensing data at the given spatial resolutions (p < 0.05). The results also suggest that combining phenological metrics and time-series NDVI data can be applied to identify the regional dominant tree species across different spatial resolutions, which would help advance the use of multiscale time-series satellite data for forest resource management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Tree Species Diversity)
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Article
Deep Learning and Phenology Enhance Large-Scale Tree Species Classification in Aerial Imagery during a Biosecurity Response
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(9), 1789; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13091789 - 04 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1285
Abstract
The ability of deep convolutional neural networks (deep learning) to learn complex visual characteristics offers a new method to classify tree species using lower-cost data such as regional aerial RGB imagery. In this study, we use 10 cm resolution imagery and 4600 trees [...] Read more.
The ability of deep convolutional neural networks (deep learning) to learn complex visual characteristics offers a new method to classify tree species using lower-cost data such as regional aerial RGB imagery. In this study, we use 10 cm resolution imagery and 4600 trees to develop a deep learning model to identify Metrosideros excelsa (pōhutukawa)—a culturally important New Zealand tree that displays distinctive red flowers during summer and is under threat from the invasive pathogen Austropuccinia psidii (myrtle rust). Our objectives were to compare the accuracy of deep learning models that could learn the distinctive visual characteristics of the canopies with tree-based models (XGBoost) that used spectral and textural metrics. We tested whether the phenology of pōhutukawa could be used to enhance classification by using multitemporal aerial imagery that showed the same trees with and without widespread flowering. The XGBoost model achieved an accuracy of 86.7% on the dataset with strong phenology (flowering). Without phenology, the accuracy fell to 79.4% and the model relied on the blueish hue and texture of the canopies. The deep learning model achieved 97.4% accuracy with 96.5% sensitivity and 98.3% specificity when leveraging phenology—even though the intensity of flowering varied substantially. Without strong phenology, the accuracy of the deep learning model remained high at 92.7% with sensitivity of 91.2% and specificity of 94.3% despite significant variation in the appearance of non-flowering pōhutukawa. Pooling time-series imagery did not enhance either approach. The accuracy of XGBoost and deep learning models were, respectively, 83.2% and 95.2%, which were of intermediate precision between the separate models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Tree Species Diversity)
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Article
Evaluating Multi-Sensors Spectral and Spatial Resolutions for Tree Species Diversity Prediction
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(5), 1033; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13051033 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1530
Abstract
Forests contribute significantly to terrestrial biodiversity conservation. Monitoring of tree species diversity is vital due to climate change factors. Remote sensing imagery is a means of data collection for predicting diversity of tree species. Since various sensors have different spectral and spatial resolutions, [...] Read more.
Forests contribute significantly to terrestrial biodiversity conservation. Monitoring of tree species diversity is vital due to climate change factors. Remote sensing imagery is a means of data collection for predicting diversity of tree species. Since various sensors have different spectral and spatial resolutions, it is worth comparing them to ascertain which could influence the accuracy of prediction of tree species diversity. Hence, this study evaluated the influence of the spectral and spatial resolutions of PlanetScope, RapidEye, Sentinel 2 and Landsat 8 images in diversity prediction based on the Shannon diversity index (H′), Simpson diversity Index (D1) and Species richness (S). The Random Forest regression was applied for the prediction using the spectral bands of the sensors as variables. The Sentinel 2 was the best image, producing the highest coefficient of determination (R2) under both the Shannon Index (R2 = 0.926) and the Species richness (R2 = 0.923). Both the Sentinel and RapidEye produced comparable higher accuracy for the Simpson Index (R2 = 0.917 and R2 = 0.915, respectively). The PlanetScope was the second-accurate for the Species richness (R2 = 0.90), whiles the Landsat 8 was the least accurate for the three diversity indices. The outcomes of this study suggest that both the spectral and spatial resolutions influence prediction accuracies of satellite imagery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Tree Species Diversity)
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Article
A New Individual Tree Species Recognition Method Based on a Convolutional Neural Network and High-Spatial Resolution Remote Sensing Imagery
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(3), 479; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13030479 - 29 Jan 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1515
Abstract
Tree species surveys are crucial to forest resource management and can provide references for forest protection policy making. The traditional tree species survey in the field is labor-intensive and time-consuming, supporting the practical significance of remote sensing. The availability of high-resolution satellite remote [...] Read more.
Tree species surveys are crucial to forest resource management and can provide references for forest protection policy making. The traditional tree species survey in the field is labor-intensive and time-consuming, supporting the practical significance of remote sensing. The availability of high-resolution satellite remote sensing data enable individual tree species (ITS) recognition at low cost. In this study, the potential of the combination of such images and a convolutional neural network (CNN) to recognize ITS was explored. Firstly, individual tree crowns were delineated from a high-spatial resolution WorldView-3 (WV3) image and manually labeled as different tree species. Next, a dataset of the image subsets of the labeled individual tree crowns was built, and several CNN models were trained based on the dataset for ITS recognition. The models were then applied to the WV3 image. The results show that the distribution maps of six ITS offered an overall accuracy of 82.7% and a kappa coefficient of 0.79 based on the modified GoogLeNet, which used the multi-scale convolution kernel to extract features of the tree crown samples and was modified for small-scale samples. The ITS recognition method proposed in this study, with multi-scale individual tree crown delineation, avoids artificial tree crown delineation. Compared with the random forest (RF) and support vector machine (SVM) approaches, this method can automatically extract features and outperform RF and SVM in the classification of six tree species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Tree Species Diversity)
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Article
Tree Species Classification of Forest Stands Using Multisource Remote Sensing Data
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(1), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13010144 - 04 Jan 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2154
Abstract
The spatial distribution of forest stands is one of the fundamental properties of forests. Timely and accurately obtained stand distribution can help people better understand, manage, and utilize forests. The development of remote sensing technology has made it possible to map the distribution [...] Read more.
The spatial distribution of forest stands is one of the fundamental properties of forests. Timely and accurately obtained stand distribution can help people better understand, manage, and utilize forests. The development of remote sensing technology has made it possible to map the distribution of tree species in a timely and accurate manner. At present, a large amount of remote sensing data have been accumulated, including high-spatial-resolution images, time-series images, light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data, etc. However, these data have not been fully utilized. To accurately identify the tree species of forest stands, various and complementary data need to be synthesized for classification. A curve matching based method called the fusion of spectral image and point data (FSP) algorithm was developed to fuse high-spatial-resolution images, time-series images, and LiDAR data for forest stand classification. In this method, the multispectral Sentinel-2 image and high-spatial-resolution aerial images were first fused. Then, the fused images were segmented to derive forest stands, which are the basic unit for classification. To extract features from forest stands, the gray histogram of each band was extracted from the aerial images. The average reflectance in each stand was calculated and stacked for the time-series images. The profile curve of forest structure was generated from the LiDAR data. Finally, the features of forest stands were compared with training samples using curve matching methods to derive the tree species. The developed method was tested in a forest farm to classify 11 tree species. The average accuracy of the FSP method for ten performances was between 0.900 and 0.913, and the maximum accuracy was 0.945. The experiments demonstrate that the FSP method is more accurate and stable than traditional machine learning classification methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Tree Species Diversity)
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Article
CNN-Based Tree Species Classification Using High Resolution RGB Image Data from Automated UAV Observations
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(23), 3892; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12233892 - 27 Nov 2020
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 2046
Abstract
Data on the distribution of tree species are often requested by forest managers, inventory agencies, foresters as well as private and municipal forest owners. However, the automated detection of tree species based on passive remote sensing data from aerial surveys is still not [...] Read more.
Data on the distribution of tree species are often requested by forest managers, inventory agencies, foresters as well as private and municipal forest owners. However, the automated detection of tree species based on passive remote sensing data from aerial surveys is still not sufficiently developed to achieve reliable results independent of the phenological stage, time of day, season, tree vitality and prevailing atmospheric conditions. Here, we introduce a novel tree species classification approach based on high resolution RGB image data gathered during automated UAV flights that overcomes these insufficiencies. For the classification task, a computationally lightweight convolutional neural network (CNN) was designed. We show that with the chosen CNN model architecture, average classification accuracies of 92% can be reached independently of the illumination conditions and the phenological stages of four different tree species. We also show that a minimal ground sampling density of 1.6 cm/px is needed for the classification model to be able to make use of the spatial-structural information in the data. Finally, to demonstrate the applicability of the presented approach to derive spatially explicit tree species information, a gridded product is generated that yields an average classification accuracy of 88%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Tree Species Diversity)
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Article
Object-Based Approach Using Very High Spatial Resolution 16-Band WorldView-3 and LiDAR Data for Tree Species Classification in a Broadleaf Forest in Quebec, Canada
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(18), 3092; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12183092 - 21 Sep 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2123
Abstract
Species identification in Quebec, Canada, is usually performed with photo-interpretation at the stand level, and often results in a lack of precision which affects forest management. Very high spatial resolution imagery, such as WorldView-3 and Light Detection and Ranging have the potential to [...] Read more.
Species identification in Quebec, Canada, is usually performed with photo-interpretation at the stand level, and often results in a lack of precision which affects forest management. Very high spatial resolution imagery, such as WorldView-3 and Light Detection and Ranging have the potential to overcome this issue. The main objective of this study is to map 11 tree species at the tree level using an object-based approach. For modeling, 240 variables were derived from WorldView-3 with pixel-based and arithmetic feature calculation techniques. A global approach (11 species) was compared to a hierarchical approach at two levels: (1) tree type (broadleaf/conifer) and (2) individual broadleaf (five) and conifer (six) species. Five different model techniques were compared: support vector machine, classification and regression tree, random forest (RF), k-nearest neighbors, and linear discriminant analysis. Each model was assessed using 16-band or first 8-band derived variables, with the results indicating higher precision for the RF technique. Higher accuracies were found using 16-band instead of 8-band derived variables for the global approach (overall accuracy (OA): 75% vs. 71%, Kappa index of agreement (KIA): 0.72 vs. 0.67) and tree type level (OA: 99% vs. 97%, KIA: 0.97 vs. 0.95). For broadleaf individual species, higher accuracy was found using first 8-band derived variables (OA: 70% vs. 68%, KIA: 0.63 vs. 0.60). No distinction was found for individual conifer species (OA: 94%, KIA: 0.93). This paper demonstrates that a hierarchical classification approach gives better results for conifer species and that using an 8-band WorldView-3 instead of a 16-band is sufficient. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Tree Species Diversity)
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Article
Spatio-Temporal Classification Framework for Mapping Woody Vegetation from Multi-Temporal Sentinel-2 Imagery
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2845; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172845 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2562
Abstract
The inventory of woody vegetation is of great importance for good forest management. Advancements of remote sensing techniques have provided excellent tools for such purposes, reducing the required amount of time and labor, yet with high accuracy and the information richness. Sentinel-2 is [...] Read more.
The inventory of woody vegetation is of great importance for good forest management. Advancements of remote sensing techniques have provided excellent tools for such purposes, reducing the required amount of time and labor, yet with high accuracy and the information richness. Sentinel-2 is one of the relatively new satellite missions, whose 13 spectral bands and short revisit time proved to be very useful when it comes to forest monitoring. In this study, the novel spatio-temporal classification framework for mapping woody vegetation from Sentinel-2 multitemporal data has been proposed. The used framework is based on the probability random forest classification, where temporal information is explicitly defined in the model. Because of this, several predictions are made for each pixel of the study area, which allow for specific spatio-temporal aggregation to be performed. The proposed methodology has been successfully applied for mapping eight potential forest and shrubby vegetation types over the study area of Serbia. Several spatio-temporal aggregation approaches have been tested, divided into two main groups: pixel-based and neighborhood-based. The validation metrics show that determining the most common vegetation type classes in the neighborhood of 5 × 5 pixels provides the best results. The overall accuracy and kappa coefficient obtained from five-fold cross validation of the results are 82.97% and 0.75, respectively. The corresponding producer’s accuracies range from 36.74% to 97.99% and user’s accuracies range from 46.31% to 98.43%. The proposed methodology proved to be applicable for mapping woody vegetation in Serbia and shows a potential to be implemented in other areas as well. Further testing is necessary to confirm such assumptions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Tree Species Diversity)
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Article
Inferring Species Diversity and Variability over Climatic Gradient with Spectral Diversity Metrics
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(13), 2130; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12132130 - 02 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1291
Abstract
Filling in the void between forest ecology and remote sensing through monitoring biodiversity variables is of great interest. In this study, we utilized imaging spectroscopy data from the ISRO–NASA Airborne Visible InfraRed Imaging Spectrometer—Next Generation (AVIRIS-NG) India campaign to investigate how the measurements [...] Read more.
Filling in the void between forest ecology and remote sensing through monitoring biodiversity variables is of great interest. In this study, we utilized imaging spectroscopy data from the ISRO–NASA Airborne Visible InfraRed Imaging Spectrometer—Next Generation (AVIRIS-NG) India campaign to investigate how the measurements of biodiversity attributes of forests over wide areas can be augmented by synchronous field- and spectral-metrics. Three sites, Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS), Vansda National Park (VNP), and Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR), spread over a climatic gradient (rainfall and temperature), were selected for this study. Abundant species maps of three sites were produced using a support vector machine (SVM) classifier with a 76–80% overall accuracy. These maps are a valuable input for forest resource management. Convex hull volume (CHV) is computed from the first three principal components of AVIRIS-NG spectra and used as a spectral diversity metric. It was observed that CHV increased with species numbers showing a positive correlation between species and spectral diversity. Additionally, it was observed that the abundant species show higher spectral diversity over species with lesser spread, provisionally revealing their functional diversity. This could be one of the many reasons for their expansive reach through adaptation to local conditions. Higher rainfall at MTR was shown to have a positive impact on species and spectral diversity as compared to SWS and VNP. Redundancy analysis explained 13–24% of the variance in abundant species distribution because of climatic gradient. Trends in spectral CHVs observed across the three sites of this study indicate that species assemblages may have strong local controls, and the patterns of co-occurrence are largely aligned along climatic gradient. Observed changes in species distribution and diversity metrics over climatic gradient can help in assessing these forests’ responses to the projected dynamics of rainfall and temperature in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Tree Species Diversity)
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Article
The Effect of Topographic Correction on Forest Tree Species Classification Accuracy
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(5), 787; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12050787 - 01 Mar 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1647
Abstract
Topographic correction can reduce the influences of topographic factors and improve the accuracy of forest tree species classification when using remote-sensing data to investigate forest resources. In this study, the Mount Taishan forest farm is the research area. Based on Landsat 8 OLI [...] Read more.
Topographic correction can reduce the influences of topographic factors and improve the accuracy of forest tree species classification when using remote-sensing data to investigate forest resources. In this study, the Mount Taishan forest farm is the research area. Based on Landsat 8 OLI data and field survey subcompartment data, four topographic correction models (cosine model, C model, solar-canopy-sensor (SCS)+C model and empirical rotation model) were used on the Google Earth Engine (GEE) platform to carry out algorithmic data correction. Then, the tree species in the study area were classified by the random forest method. Combined with the tree species classification process, the topographic correction effects were analyzed, and the effects, advantages and disadvantages of each correction model were evaluated. The results showed that the SCS+C model and empirical rotation model were the best models in terms of visual effect, reducing the band standard deviation and adjusting the reflectance distribution. When we used the SCS+C model to correct the remote-sensing image, the total accuracy increased by 4% when using the full-coverage training areas to classify tree species and by nearly 13% when using the shadowless training area. In the illumination condition interval of 0.4–0.6, the inconsistency rate decreased significantly; however, the inconsistency rate increased with increasing illumination condition values. Topographic correction can enhance reflectance information in shaded areas and can significantly improve the image quality. Topographic correction can be used as a pretreatment method for forest species classification when the study area’s dominant tree species are in a low light intensity area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Tree Species Diversity)
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Article
Large-Scale Mapping of Tree Species and Dead Trees in Šumava National Park and Bavarian Forest National Park Using Lidar and Multispectral Imagery
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(4), 661; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12040661 - 17 Feb 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2016
Abstract
Knowledge of forest structures—and of dead wood in particular—is fundamental to understanding, managing, and preserving the biodiversity of our forests. Lidar is a valuable technology for the area-wide mapping of trees in 3D because of its capability to penetrate vegetation. In essence, this [...] Read more.
Knowledge of forest structures—and of dead wood in particular—is fundamental to understanding, managing, and preserving the biodiversity of our forests. Lidar is a valuable technology for the area-wide mapping of trees in 3D because of its capability to penetrate vegetation. In essence, this technique enables the detection of single trees and their properties in all forest layers. This paper highlights a successful mapping of tree species—subdivided into conifers and broadleaf trees—and standing dead wood in a large forest 924 km2 in size. As a novelty, we calibrate the critical stopping criterion of the tree segmentation based on a normalized cut with regard to coniferous and broadleaf trees. The experiments were conducted in Šumava National Park and Bavarian Forest National Park. For both parks, lidar data were acquired at a point density of 55 points/m2. Aerial multispectral imagery was captured for Šumava National Park at a ground sample distance (GSD) of 17 cm and for Bavarian Forest National Park at 9.5 cm GSD. Classification of the two tree groups and standing dead wood—located in areas of pest infestation—is based on a diverse set of features (geometric, intensity-based, 3D shape contexts, multispectral-based) and well-known classifiers (Random forest and logistic regression). We show that the effect of under- and oversegmentation can be reduced by the modified normalized cut segmentation, thereby improving the precision by 13%. Conifers, broadleaf trees, and standing dead trees are classified with overall accuracies better than 90%. All in all, this experiment demonstrates the feasibility of large-scale and high-accuracy mapping of single conifers, broadleaf trees, and standing dead trees using lidar and aerial imagery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Tree Species Diversity)
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Article
Evaluation of Hyperspectral Multitemporal Information to Improve Tree Species Identification in the Highly Diverse Atlantic Forest
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(2), 244; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12020244 - 10 Jan 2020
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 2419
Abstract
The monitoring of forest resources is crucial for their sustainable management, and tree species identification is one of the fundamental tasks in this process. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and miniaturized lightweight sensors can rapidly provide accurate monitoring information. The objective of this study [...] Read more.
The monitoring of forest resources is crucial for their sustainable management, and tree species identification is one of the fundamental tasks in this process. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and miniaturized lightweight sensors can rapidly provide accurate monitoring information. The objective of this study was to investigate the use of multitemporal, UAV-based hyperspectral imagery for tree species identification in the highly diverse Brazilian Atlantic forest. Datasets were captured over three years to identify eight different tree species. The study area comprised initial to medium successional stages of the Brazilian Atlantic forest. Images were acquired with a spatial resolution of 10 cm, and radiometric adjustment processing was performed to reduce the variations caused by different factors, such as the geometry of acquisition. The random forest classification method was applied in a region-based classification approach with leave-one-out cross-validation, followed by computing the area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUCROC) curve. When using each dataset alone, the influence of different weather behaviors on tree species identification was evident. When combining all datasets and minimizing illumination differences over each tree crown, the identification of three tree species was improved. These results show that UAV-based, hyperspectral, multitemporal remote sensing imagery is a promising tool for tree species identification in tropical forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Tree Species Diversity)
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Article
Optimal Input Features for Tree Species Classification in Central Europe Based on Multi-Temporal Sentinel-2 Data
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(22), 2599; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11222599 - 06 Nov 2019
Cited by 66 | Viewed by 3661
Abstract
Detailed knowledge about tree species composition is of great importance for forest management. The two identical European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel-2 (S2) satellites provide data with unprecedented spectral, spatial and temporal resolution. Here, we investigated the potential benefits of using high temporal resolution [...] Read more.
Detailed knowledge about tree species composition is of great importance for forest management. The two identical European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel-2 (S2) satellites provide data with unprecedented spectral, spatial and temporal resolution. Here, we investigated the potential benefits of using high temporal resolution data for classification of five coniferous and seven broadleaved tree species in a diverse Central European Forest. To run the classification, 18 cloud-free S2 acquisitions were analyzed in a two-step approach. The available scenes were first used to stratify the study area into six broad land-cover classes. Subsequently, additional classification models were created separately for the coniferous and the broadleaved forest strata. To permit a deeper analytical insight in the benefits of multi-temporal datasets for species identification, classification models were developed taking into account all 262,143 possible permutations of the 18 S2 scenes. Each model was fine-tuned using a stepwise recursive feature reduction. The additional use of vegetation indices improved the model performances by around 5 percentage points. Individual mono-temporal tree species accuracies range from 48.1% (January 2017) to 78.6% (June 2017). Compared to the best mono-temporal results, the multi-temporal analysis approach improves the out-of-bag overall accuracy from 72.9% to 85.7% for the broadleaved and from 83.8% to 95.3% for the coniferous tree species, respectively. Remarkably, a combination of six–seven scenes achieves a model quality equally high as the model based on all data; images from April until August proved most important. The classes European Beech and European Larch attain the highest user’s accuracies of 96.3% and 95.9%, respectively. The most important spectral variables to distinguish between tree species are located in the Red (coniferous) and short wave infrared (SWIR) bands (broadleaved), respectively. Overall, the study highlights the high potential of multi-temporal S2 data for species-level classifications in Central European forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Tree Species Diversity)
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Article
Statistical Stability and Spatial Instability in Mapping Forest Tree Species by Comparing 9 Years of Satellite Image Time Series
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2512; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212512 - 26 Oct 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2548
Abstract
Mapping forest composition using multiseasonal optical time series remains a challenge. Highly contrasted results are reported from one study to another suggesting that drivers of classification errors are still under-explored. We evaluated the performances of single-year Formosat-2 time series to discriminate tree species [...] Read more.
Mapping forest composition using multiseasonal optical time series remains a challenge. Highly contrasted results are reported from one study to another suggesting that drivers of classification errors are still under-explored. We evaluated the performances of single-year Formosat-2 time series to discriminate tree species in temperate forests in France and investigated how predictions vary statistically and spatially across multiple years. Our objective was to better estimate the impact of spatial autocorrelation in the validation data on measurement accuracy and to understand which drivers in the time series are responsible for classification errors. The experiments were based on 10 Formosat-2 image time series irregularly acquired during the seasonal vegetation cycle from 2006 to 2014. Due to lot of clouds in the year 2006, an alternative 2006 time series using only cloud-free images has been added. Thirteen tree species were classified in each single-year dataset based on the Support Vector Machine (SVM) algorithm. The performances were assessed using a spatial leave-one-out cross validation (SLOO-CV) strategy, thereby guaranteeing full independence of the validation samples, and compared with standard non-spatial leave-one-out cross-validation (LOO-CV). The results show relatively close statistical performances from one year to the next despite the differences between the annual time series. Good agreements between years were observed in monospecific tree plantations of broadleaf species versus high disparity in other forests composed of different species. A strong positive bias in the accuracy assessment (up to 0.4 of Overall Accuracy (OA)) was also found when spatial dependence in the validation data was not removed. Using the SLOO-CV approach, the average OA values per year ranged from 0.48 for 2006 to 0.60 for 2013, which satisfactorily represents the spatial instability of species prediction between years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Tree Species Diversity)
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Review

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Review
A Review of Tree Species Classification Based on Airborne LiDAR Data and Applied Classifiers
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(3), 353; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13030353 - 20 Jan 2021
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 2450
Abstract
Remote sensing techniques, developed over the past four decades, have enabled large-scale forest inventory. Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), as an active remote sensing technology, allows for the acquisition of three-dimensional point clouds of scanned areas, as well as a range of features [...] Read more.
Remote sensing techniques, developed over the past four decades, have enabled large-scale forest inventory. Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), as an active remote sensing technology, allows for the acquisition of three-dimensional point clouds of scanned areas, as well as a range of features allowing for increased performance of object extraction and classification approaches. As many publications have shown, multiple LiDAR-derived metrics, with the assistance of classification algorithms, contribute to the high accuracy of tree species discrimination based on data obtained by laser scanning. The aim of this article is to review studies in the species classification literature which used data collected by Airborne Laser Scanning. We analyzed these studies to figure out the most efficient group of LiDAR-derived features in species discrimination. We also identified the most powerful classification algorithm, which maximizes the advantages of the derived metrics to increase species discrimination performance. We conclude that features extracted from full-waveform data lead to the highest overall accuracy. Radiometric features with height information are also promising, generating high species classification accuracies. Using random forest and support vector machine as classifiers gave the best species discrimination results in the reviewed publications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Tree Species Diversity)
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Other

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Letter
Bi-Temporal Analysis of Spatial Changes of Boreal Forest Cover and Species in Siberia for the Years 1985 and 2015
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(24), 4116; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12244116 - 16 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 745
Abstract
Boreal forest is a sensitive indicator of the influence of climate change. It can quantify the level and spatial divergence of forest change for forest resources and carbon cycle research. This study selected a typical boreal forest affected by few human activities as [...] Read more.
Boreal forest is a sensitive indicator of the influence of climate change. It can quantify the level and spatial divergence of forest change for forest resources and carbon cycle research. This study selected a typical boreal forest affected by few human activities as a research area, in Siberia, with a latitude span of 51°N–69°N. A total of 150 Landsat images of this area acquired in 1985 and 2015 were collected. A hierarchical classification approach was first established to retrieve the information of forest cover and species. The forested and nonforested lands were discriminated by the decision tree method and, furthermore, the forested land was classified to broad-leaved and coniferous forests by a random forest algorithm. The overall accuracy was 90.37%, which indicates the validity of the approach. Finally, the quantitative information of the forest cover and species changes in each latitude zone of every 2° was analyzed. The results show that the overall boreal forest cover increased by 5.11% over the past three decades, with broad-leaved forest increasing by 3.54% and coniferous forest increasing by 1.57%. In addition, boreal forest increased in every latitude zone, and the spatial divergence of the changes of the boreal forest cover and species in different latitude zones were significant. Finally, broad-leaved forest increased more rapidly than coniferous forest, and the greatest increase, of up to 5.77%, occurred in the zone of 55°N–57°N. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Tree Species Diversity)
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