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Remote Sensing Applications in Vegetation Classification

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292). This special issue belongs to the section "Remote Sensing in Agriculture and Vegetation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 September 2022) | Viewed by 47529

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Geoinformatics, Cartography and Remote Sensing, Chair of Geomatics and Information Systems, Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Warsaw, Poland, ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 30, 00-927 Warsaw, Poland
Interests: hyperspectral imaging; vegetation classification; biophysical remote sensing; vegetation index; vegetation condition
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Geoinformatics, Cartography and Remote Sensing, Chair of Geomatics and Information Systems, Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Warsaw, ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 30, 00-927 Warsaw, Poland
Interests: habitats; hyperspectral and multispectral imaging; mapping; multitemporal classification; species; vegetation monitoring; vegetation communities

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Geoinformatics, Cartography and Remote Sensing, Chair of Geomatics and Information Systems, Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Warsaw, ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 30, 00-927 Warsaw, Poland
Interests: vegetation disturbance monitoring; multitemporal analysis; vegetation condition; forests; urban trees

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Identification of vegetation and its species and communities is one of the most important issues in its study. One of the ideas of vegetation monitoring is the ability to identify species, communities, and habitats and remote sensing data allow obtaining such information remotely. Remote sensing has been utilized for vegetation inventories for many decades, using airborne and spaceborne remote sensing. At the same time, such techniques allow limiting field research, which is particularly important in protected areas with limited access, as well as inaccessible areas, such as mountains and wetlands. Remote sensing data also play a significant role in mapping species on urban areas, where, due to the legacy of species, it is most often impossible to identify them with the help of ground-based techniques. At the same time, the classification of vegetation is possible thanks to the constantly evolving classification algorithms, sensors, and the increasing possibilities of computer equipment.

Therefore, there is more and more research on the use of remote sensing techniques in this field. We would like to introduce a new Special Issue of Remote Sensing entitled “Remote Sensing Applications in Vegetation Classification”. We welcome submissions which provide the community with the most recent advancements on all aspects of vegetation classification, including but not limited to species, communities, and habitats on urban, agricultural, semi-natural, and natural areas. The Special Issue invites research papers describing the state of the art in the field of vegetation classification at national, continental, or global scales.

Dr. Anna Jarocińska
Dr. Adriana Marcinkowska-Ochtyra
Dr. Adrian Ochtyra
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 2700 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

  • vegetation
  • multitemporal
  • classification
  • algorithm
  • species
  • vegetation communities
  • identification
  • mapping

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Editorial

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5 pages, 213 KiB  
Editorial
An Overview of the Special Issue “Remote Sensing Applications in Vegetation Classification”
by Anna Jarocińska, Adriana Marcinkowska-Ochtyra and Adrian Ochtyra
Remote Sens. 2023, 15(9), 2278; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs15092278 - 26 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1373
Abstract
One of the ideas behind vegetation monitoring is the ability to identify different vegetation units, such as species, communities, habitats, or vegetation types. Remote sensing data allow for obtaining such information remotely, which is especially valuable in areas that are difficult to explore [...] Read more.
One of the ideas behind vegetation monitoring is the ability to identify different vegetation units, such as species, communities, habitats, or vegetation types. Remote sensing data allow for obtaining such information remotely, which is especially valuable in areas that are difficult to explore (such as mountains or wetlands). At the same time, such techniques allow for limiting field research, which is particularly important in this context. Remote sensing has been utilized for vegetation inventories for many decades, using airborne and spaceborne platforms. Developing newer tools, algorithms and sensors is conducive to more new applications in the vegetation identification field. The Special Issue “Remote Sensing Applications in Vegetation Classification” is an overview of the applications of remote sensing data with different resolutions for the identification of vegetation at different levels of detail. In 14 research papers, the most frequent different types of crops were analysed. In three cases, the authors recognised different types of grasslands, whereas trees were the object of the studies in two papers. The most commonly used sensors were Copernicus Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2; however, to a lesser extent, MODIS, airborne hyperspectral and multispectral data, as well as LiDAR products, were also utilised. There were articles that tested and compared different combinations of datasets, different terms of data acquisition, or different classifiers in order to achieve the highest classification accuracy. These accuracies were assessed quite satisfactorily in each publication; the overall accuracy (OA) for the best result varied from 72% to 98%. In all of the research papers, at least one of the two commonly used machine learning algorithms, random forest (RF) and support vector machines (SVM), was applied. Additionally, one paper presented software ARTMO’s machine-learning classification algorithms toolbox, which allows for the testing of 13 different classifiers. The studies published in this Special Issue can be used by the vegetation research teams and practitioners to conduct deeper analysis via the utilization of the proposed solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applications in Vegetation Classification)

Research

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17 pages, 2700 KiB  
Article
Mapping Large-Scale Bamboo Forest Based on Phenology and Morphology Features
by Xueliang Feng, Shen Tan, Yun Dong, Xin Zhang, Jiaming Xu, Liheng Zhong and Le Yu
Remote Sens. 2023, 15(2), 515; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs15020515 - 15 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2169
Abstract
Bamboo forest is a unique forest landscape that is mainly composed of herbal plants. It has a stronger capability to increase terrestrial carbon sinks than woody forests in the same environment, thus playing a special role in absorbing atmospheric CO2. Accurate [...] Read more.
Bamboo forest is a unique forest landscape that is mainly composed of herbal plants. It has a stronger capability to increase terrestrial carbon sinks than woody forests in the same environment, thus playing a special role in absorbing atmospheric CO2. Accurate and timely bamboo forest maps are necessary to better understand and quantify their contribution to the carbon and hydrological cycles. Previous studies have reported that the unique phenology pattern of bamboo forests, i.e., the on- and off-year cycle, can be detected with time-series high spatial resolution remote sensing (RS) images. Nevertheless, this information has not yet been applied in large-scale bamboo mapping. In this study, we innovatively incorporate newly designed phenology features reflecting the aforementioned on- and off-year cycles into a typical end-to-end classification workflow, including two features describing growing efficiency during the green-up season and two features describing the difference between annual peak greenness. Additionally, two horizonal morphology features and one tree height feature were employed, simultaneously. An experiment in southeast China was carried out to test the method’s performance, in which seven categories were focused. A total of 987 field samples were used for training and validation (70% and 30%, respectively). The results show that combining the time-series features based on spectral bands and vegetation indices and newly designed phenology and morphology patterns can differentiate bamboo forests from other vegetation categories. Based on these features, the classification results exhibit a reasonable spatial distribution and a satisfactory overall accuracy (0.89). The detected bamboo area proportion in 82 counties agrees with the statistics from China’s Third National Land Survey, which was produced based on high resolution images from commercial satellites and human interpretation (correlation coefficient = 0.69, and root mean squared error = 5.1%). This study demonstrates that the new scheme incorporating phenology features helps to map bamboo forests accurately while reducing the sample size requirement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applications in Vegetation Classification)
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21 pages, 17801 KiB  
Article
Validating the Crop Identification Capability of the Spectral Variance at Key Stages (SVKS) Computed via an Object Self-Reference Combined Algorithm
by Hailan Zhao, Jihua Meng, Tingting Shi, Xiaobo Zhang, Yanan Wang, Xiangjiang Luo, Zhenxin Lin and Xinyan You
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(24), 6390; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14246390 - 17 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1491
Abstract
Crop-distribution information constitutes the premise of precise management for crop cultivation. Euclidean distance and spectral angle mapper algorithms (ED and SAM) mostly use the spectral similarity and difference metric (SSDM) to determine the spectral variance associated with the spatial location for crop distribution [...] Read more.
Crop-distribution information constitutes the premise of precise management for crop cultivation. Euclidean distance and spectral angle mapper algorithms (ED and SAM) mostly use the spectral similarity and difference metric (SSDM) to determine the spectral variance associated with the spatial location for crop distribution acquisition. These methods are relatively insensitive to spectral shape or amplitude variation and must reconstruct a reference curve representing the entire class, possibly resulting in notable indeterminacy in the ultimate results. Few studies utilize these methods to compute the spectral variance associated with time and to define a new index for crop identification—namely, the spectral variance at key stages (SVKS)—even though this temporal spectral characteristic could be helpful for crop identification. To integrate the advantages of sensibility and avoid reconstructing the reference curve, an object self-reference combined algorithm comprising ED and SAM (CES) was proposed to compute SVKS. To objectively validate the crop-identification capability of SVKS-CES (SVKS computed via CES), SVKS-ED (SVKS computed via ED), SVKS-SAM (SVKS computed via SAM), and five spectral index (SI) types were selected for comparison in an example of maize identification. The results indicated that SVKS-CES ranges can characterize greater interclass spectral separability and attained better identification accuracy compared to other identification indexes. In particular, SVKS-CES2 provided the greatest interclass spectral separability and the best PA (92.73%), UA (100.00%), and OA (98.30%) in maize identification. Compared to the performance of the SI, SVKS attained greater interclass spectral separability, but more non-maize fields were incorrectly identified as maize fields via SVKS usage. Owning to the accuracy-improvement capability of SVKS-CES, the omission and commission errors were obviously reduced via the combined utilization of SVKS-CES and SI. The findings suggest that SVKS-CES application is expected to further spread in crop identification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applications in Vegetation Classification)
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32 pages, 16861 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Added Value of Sentinel-1 PolSAR Data for Crop Classification
by Maria Ioannidou, Alkiviadis Koukos, Vasileios Sitokonstantinou, Ioannis Papoutsis and Charalampos Kontoes
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(22), 5739; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14225739 - 13 Nov 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2277
Abstract
Crop classification is an important remote sensing task with many applications, e.g., food security monitoring, ecosystem service mapping, climate change impact assessment, etc. This work focuses on mapping 10 crop types at the field level in an agricultural region located in the Spanish [...] Read more.
Crop classification is an important remote sensing task with many applications, e.g., food security monitoring, ecosystem service mapping, climate change impact assessment, etc. This work focuses on mapping 10 crop types at the field level in an agricultural region located in the Spanish province of Navarre. For this, multi-temporal Synthetic Aperture Radar Polarimetric (PolSAR) Sentinel-1 imagery and multi-spectral Sentinel-2 data were jointly used. We applied the Cloude–Pottier polarimetric decomposition on PolSAR data to compute 23 polarimetric indicators and extracted vegetation indices from Sentinel-2 time-series to generate a big feature space of 818 features. In order to assess the relevance of the different features for the crop mapping task, we run a number of scenarios using a Support Vector Machines (SVM) classifier. The model that was trained using only the polarimetric data demonstrates a very promising performance, achieving an overall accuracy over 82%. A genetic algorithm was also implemented as a feature selection method for deriving an optimal feature subset. To showcase the positive effect of using polarimetric data over areas suffering from cloud coverage, we contaminated the original Sentinel-2 time-series with simulated cloud masks. By incorporating the genetic algorithm, we derived a high informative feature subset of 120 optical and polarimetric features, as the corresponding classification model increased the overall accuracy by 5% compared to the model trained only with Sentinel-2 features. The feature importance analysis indicated that apart from the Sentinel-2 spectral bands and vegetation indices, several polarimetric parameters, such as Shannon entropy, second eigenvalue and normalised Shannon entropy are of high value in identifying crops. In summary, the findings of our study highlight the significant contribution of Sentinel-1 PolSAR data in crop classification in areas with frequent cloud coverage and the effectiveness of the genetic algorithm in discovering the most informative features. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applications in Vegetation Classification)
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22 pages, 6875 KiB  
Article
Banana Mapping in Heterogenous Smallholder Farming Systems Using High-Resolution Remote Sensing Imagery and Machine Learning Models with Implications for Banana Bunchy Top Disease Surveillance
by Tunrayo R. Alabi, Julius Adewopo, Ojo Patrick Duke and P. Lava Kumar
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(20), 5206; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14205206 - 18 Oct 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3331
Abstract
Banana (and plantain, Musa spp.), in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), is predominantly grown as a mixed crop by smallholder farmers in backyards and small farmlands, typically ranging from 0.2 ha to 3 ha. The crop is affected by several pests and diseases, including the [...] Read more.
Banana (and plantain, Musa spp.), in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), is predominantly grown as a mixed crop by smallholder farmers in backyards and small farmlands, typically ranging from 0.2 ha to 3 ha. The crop is affected by several pests and diseases, including the invasive banana bunchy top virus (BBTV, genus Babuvirus), which is emerging as a major threat to banana production in SSA. The BBTV outbreak in West Africa was first recorded in the Benin Republic in 2010 and has spread to the adjoining territories of Nigeria and Togo. Regular surveillance, conducted as part of the containment efforts, requires the identification of banana fields for disease assessment. However, small and fragmented production spread across large areas poses complications for identifying all banana farms using conventional field survey methods, which is also time-consuming and expensive. In this study, we developed a remote sensing approach and machine learning (ML) models that can be used to identify banana fields for targeted BBTV surveillance. We used medium-resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR), Sentinel 2A satellite imagery, and high-resolution RGB and multispectral aerial imagery from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to develop an operational banana mapping framework by combining the UAV, SAR, and Sentinel 2A data with the Support Vector Machine (SVM) and Random Forest (RF) machine learning algorithms. The ML algorithms performed comparatively well in classifying the land cover, with a mean overall accuracy (OA) of about 93% and a Kappa coefficient (KC) of 0.89 for the UAV data. The model using fused SAR and Sentinel 2A data gave an OA of 90% and KC of 0.86. The user accuracy (UA) and producer accuracy (PA) for the banana class were 83% and 78%, respectively. The BBTV surveillance teams used the banana mapping framework to identify banana fields in the BBTV-affected southwest Ogun state of Nigeria, which helped in detecting 17 sites with BBTV infection. These findings suggest that the prediction of banana and other crops in the heterogeneous smallholder farming systems is feasible, with the precision necessary to guide BBTV surveillance in large areas in SSA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applications in Vegetation Classification)
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21 pages, 6328 KiB  
Article
Introducing ARTMO’s Machine-Learning Classification Algorithms Toolbox: Application to Plant-Type Detection in a Semi-Steppe Iranian Landscape
by Masoumeh Aghababaei, Ataollah Ebrahimi, Ali Asghar Naghipour, Esmaeil Asadi, Adrián Pérez-Suay, Miguel Morata, Jose Luis Garcia, Juan Pablo Rivera Caicedo and Jochem Verrelst
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(18), 4452; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14184452 - 06 Sep 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2493
Abstract
Accurate plant-type (PT) detection forms an important basis for sustainable land management maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services. In this sense, Sentinel-2 satellite images of the Copernicus program offer spatial, spectral, temporal, and radiometric characteristics with great potential for mapping and monitoring PTs. In [...] Read more.
Accurate plant-type (PT) detection forms an important basis for sustainable land management maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services. In this sense, Sentinel-2 satellite images of the Copernicus program offer spatial, spectral, temporal, and radiometric characteristics with great potential for mapping and monitoring PTs. In addition, the selection of a best-performing algorithm needs to be considered for obtaining PT classification as accurate as possible . To date, no freely downloadable toolbox exists that brings the diversity of the latest supervised machine-learning classification algorithms (MLCAs) together into a single intuitive user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI). To fill this gap and to facilitate and automate the usage of MLCAs, here we present a novel GUI software package that allows systematically training, validating, and applying pixel-based MLCA models to remote sensing imagery. The so-called MLCA toolbox has been integrated within ARTMO’s software framework developed in Matlab which implements most of the state-of-the-art methods in the machine learning community. To demonstrate its utility, we chose a heterogeneous case study scene, a landscape in Southwest Iran to map PTs. In this area, four main PTs were identified, consisting of shrub land, grass land, semi-shrub land, and shrub land–grass land vegetation. Having developed 21 MLCAs using the same training and validation, datasets led to varying accuracy results. Gaussian process classifier (GPC) was validated as the top-performing classifier, with an overall accuracy (OA) of 90%. GPC follows a Laplace approximation to the Gaussian likelihood under the supervised classification framework, emerging as a very competitive alternative to common MLCAs. Random forests resulted in the second-best performance with an OA of 86%. Two other types of ensemble-learning algorithms, i.e., tree-ensemble learning (bagging) and decision tree (with error-correcting output codes), yielded an OA of 83% and 82%, respectively. Following, thirteen classifiers reported OA between 70% and 80%, and the remaining four classifiers reported an OA below 70%. We conclude that GPC substantially outperformed all classifiers, and thus, provides enormous potential for the classification of a diversity of land-cover types. In addition, its probabilistic formulation provides valuable band ranking information, as well as associated predictive variance at a pixel level. Nevertheless, as these are supervised (data-driven) classifiers, performances depend on the entered training data, meaning that an assessment of all MLCAs is crucial for any application. Our analysis demonstrated the efficacy of ARTMO’s MLCA toolbox for an automated evaluation of the classifiers and subsequent thematic mapping. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applications in Vegetation Classification)
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27 pages, 7270 KiB  
Article
Identification and Area Information Extraction of Oat Pasture Based on GEE—A Case Study in the Shandan Racecourse (China)
by Ruijing Wang, Qisheng Feng, Zheren Jin, Kexin Ma, Zhongxue Zhang and Tiangang Liang
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(17), 4358; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14174358 - 02 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1537
Abstract
Forage grass is very important for food security. The development of artificial grassland is the key to solving the shortage of forage grass. Understanding the spatial distribution of forage grass in alpine regions is of great importance for guiding animal husbandry and the [...] Read more.
Forage grass is very important for food security. The development of artificial grassland is the key to solving the shortage of forage grass. Understanding the spatial distribution of forage grass in alpine regions is of great importance for guiding animal husbandry and the rational selection of forage grass management measures. With its powerful computing power and complete image data storage, Google Earth Engine (GEE) has become a new method to address remote sensing data collection difficulties and low processing efficiency. High-resolution mapping of pasture distributions on the Tibetan Plateau (China) is still a difficult problem due to cloud disturbance and mixed planting of forage grass. Based on the GEE platform, Sentinel-2 data and three classifiers, this study successfully mapped the oat pasture area of the Shandan Racecourse (China) on the eastern Tibetan Plateau over 3 years from 2019 to 2021 at a resolution of 10 m based on cultivated land identification. In this study, the key phenology windows were determined by analysing the time series differences in vegetation indices between oat pasture and other forage grasses in the Shandan Racecourse, and monthly scale features were selected as features for oat pasture identification. The results show that the mean Overall Accuracy (OA) of Random Forest (RF) classifier, Support Vector Machine (SVM) classifier, and Classification and Regression Trees (CART) classifier are 0.80, 0.69, and 0.72 in cultivated land identification, respectively, with corresponding the Kappa coefficients of 0.74, 0.58, and 0.62. The RF classifier far outperforms the other two classifiers. In oat pasture identification, the RF, SVM and CART classifiers have high OAs of 0.98, 0.97, and 0.97 and high Kappa values of 0.95, 0.94, and 0.95, respectively. Overall, the RF classifier is more suitable for our research. The oat pasture areas in 2019, 2020 and 2021 were 347.77 km2 (15.87%), 306.19 km2 (13.97%) and 318.94 km2 (14.55%), respectively, with little change (1.9%) from year to year. The purpose of this study was to explore the identification model of forage grass area in alpine regions with a high spatial resolution, and to provide technical and methodological support for information extraction of the forage grass distribution status on the Tibetan Plateau. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applications in Vegetation Classification)
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41 pages, 20239 KiB  
Article
Deep and Machine Learning Image Classification of Coastal Wetlands Using Unpiloted Aircraft System Multispectral Images and Lidar Datasets
by Ali Gonzalez-Perez, Amr Abd-Elrahman, Benjamin Wilkinson, Daniel J. Johnson and Raymond R. Carthy
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(16), 3937; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14163937 - 13 Aug 2022
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3382
Abstract
The recent developments of new deep learning architectures create opportunities to accurately classify high-resolution unoccupied aerial system (UAS) images of natural coastal systems and mandate continuous evaluation of algorithm performance. We evaluated the performance of the U-Net and DeepLabv3 deep convolutional network architectures [...] Read more.
The recent developments of new deep learning architectures create opportunities to accurately classify high-resolution unoccupied aerial system (UAS) images of natural coastal systems and mandate continuous evaluation of algorithm performance. We evaluated the performance of the U-Net and DeepLabv3 deep convolutional network architectures and two traditional machine learning techniques (support vector machine (SVM) and random forest (RF)) applied to seventeen coastal land cover types in west Florida using UAS multispectral aerial imagery and canopy height models (CHM). Twelve combinations of spectral bands and CHMs were used. Our results using the spectral bands showed that the U-Net (83.80–85.27% overall accuracy) and the DeepLabV3 (75.20–83.50% overall accuracy) deep learning techniques outperformed the SVM (60.50–71.10% overall accuracy) and the RF (57.40–71.0%) machine learning algorithms. The addition of the CHM to the spectral bands slightly increased the overall accuracy as a whole in the deep learning models, while the addition of a CHM notably improved the SVM and RF results. Similarly, using bands outside the three spectral bands, namely, near-infrared and red edge, increased the performance of the machine learning classifiers but had minimal impact on the deep learning classification results. The difference in the overall accuracies produced by using UAS-based lidar and SfM point clouds, as supplementary geometrical information, in the classification process was minimal across all classification techniques. Our results highlight the advantage of using deep learning networks to classify high-resolution UAS images in highly diverse coastal landscapes. We also found that low-cost, three-visible-band imagery produces results comparable to multispectral imagery that do not risk a significant reduction in classification accuracy when adopting deep learning models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applications in Vegetation Classification)
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21 pages, 2227 KiB  
Article
Grassland Use Intensity Classification Using Intra-Annual Sentinel-1 and -2 Time Series and Environmental Variables
by Ana Potočnik Buhvald, Matej Račič, Markus Immitzer, Krištof Oštir and Tatjana Veljanovski
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(14), 3387; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14143387 - 14 Jul 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2020
Abstract
Detailed spatial data on grassland use intensity is needed in several European policy areas for various applications, e.g., agricultural management, supporting nature conservation programs, improving biodiversity strategies, etc. Multisensory remote sensing is an efficient tool to collect information on grassland parameters. However, there [...] Read more.
Detailed spatial data on grassland use intensity is needed in several European policy areas for various applications, e.g., agricultural management, supporting nature conservation programs, improving biodiversity strategies, etc. Multisensory remote sensing is an efficient tool to collect information on grassland parameters. However, there is still a lack of studies on how to process, combine, and implement large radar and optical image datasets in a joint observation framework to map grassland types on large heterogeneous study areas. In our study, we assessed the usefulness of 2521 Sentinel-1 and 586 Sentinel-2 satellite images and topographic data for mapping grassland use intensity. We focused on the distinction between intensively and extensively managed permanent grassland in a large heterogeneous study area in Slovenia. We provided dense Satellite Image Time Series (SITS) for 2017, 2018 and 2019 to identify important differences, e.g., management practices, between the two grassland types analysed. We also investigated the effectiveness of combining two different remote-sensing products, the optical Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and radar coherence. Grassland types were distinguished using an object-based approach and the Random Forest classification. With the use of SITS only, the models achieved poor performance in the case of cloudy years (2018). However, the performance improved with additional features (environmental variables). The feature selection method based on Mean Decrease Accuracy (MDA) provided a deeper insight into the high-dimensional multisensory SITS. It helped select the most relevant features (acquisition dates, environmental variables) that distinguish between intensive and extensive grassland types. The addition of environmental variables improved the overall classification accuracy by 7–15%, while the feature selection additionally improved the final overall classification accuracy (using all available features) by 2–3%. Although the reference dataset was limited (1259 training samples), the final overall classification accuracy was above 88% in all years analysed. The results show that the proposed Random Forest classification using combined multisensor data and environmental variables can provide better and more stable information on grasslands than single optical or radar data SITS on large heterogeneous areas. Therefore, a combined approach is recommended to distinguish different grassland types. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applications in Vegetation Classification)
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29 pages, 4444 KiB  
Article
Mapping Crop Types of Germany by Combining Temporal Statistical Metrics of Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 Time Series with LPIS Data
by Sarah Asam, Ursula Gessner, Roger Almengor González, Martina Wenzl, Jennifer Kriese and Claudia Kuenzer
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(13), 2981; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14132981 - 22 Jun 2022
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 4382
Abstract
Nationwide and consistent information on agricultural land use forms an important basis for sustainable land management maintaining food security, (agro)biodiversity, and soil fertility, especially as German agriculture has shown high vulnerability to climate change. Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellite data of the Copernicus program [...] Read more.
Nationwide and consistent information on agricultural land use forms an important basis for sustainable land management maintaining food security, (agro)biodiversity, and soil fertility, especially as German agriculture has shown high vulnerability to climate change. Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellite data of the Copernicus program offer time series with temporal, spatial, radiometric, and spectral characteristics that have great potential for mapping and monitoring agricultural crops. This paper presents an approach which synergistically uses these multispectral and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) time series for the classification of 17 crop classes at 10 m spatial resolution for Germany in the year 2018. Input data for the Random Forest (RF) classification are monthly statistics of Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 time series. This approach reduces the amount of input data and pre-processing steps while retaining phenological information, which is crucial for crop type discrimination. For training and validation, Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS) data were available covering 15 of the 16 German Federal States. An overall map accuracy of 75.5% was achieved, with class-specific F1-scores above 80% for winter wheat, maize, sugar beet, and rapeseed. By combining optical and SAR data, overall accuracies could be increased by 6% and 9%, respectively, compared to single sensor approaches. While no increase in overall accuracy could be achieved by stratifying the classification in natural landscape regions, the class-wise accuracies for all but the cereal classes could be improved, on average, by 7%. In comparison to census data, the crop areas could be approximated well with, on average, only 1% of deviation in class-specific acreages. Using this streamlined approach, similar accuracies for the most widespread crop types as well as for smaller permanent crop classes were reached as in other Germany-wide crop type studies, indicating its potential for repeated nationwide crop type mapping. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applications in Vegetation Classification)
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19 pages, 2460 KiB  
Article
Multi-Temporal LiDAR and Hyperspectral Data Fusion for Classification of Semi-Arid Woody Cover Species
by Cynthia L. Norton, Kyle Hartfield, Chandra D. Holifield Collins, Willem J. D. van Leeuwen and Loretta J. Metz
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(12), 2896; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14122896 - 17 Jun 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3436
Abstract
Mapping the spatial distribution of woody vegetation is important for monitoring, managing, and studying woody encroachment in grasslands. However, in semi-arid regions, remotely sensed discrimination of tree species is difficult primarily due to the tree similarities, small and sparse canopy cover, but may [...] Read more.
Mapping the spatial distribution of woody vegetation is important for monitoring, managing, and studying woody encroachment in grasslands. However, in semi-arid regions, remotely sensed discrimination of tree species is difficult primarily due to the tree similarities, small and sparse canopy cover, but may also be due to overlapping woody canopies as well as seasonal leaf retention (deciduous versus evergreen) characteristics. Similar studies in different biomes have achieved low accuracies using coarse spatial resolution image data. The objective of this study was to investigate the use of multi-temporal, airborne hyperspectral imagery and light detection and ranging (LiDAR) derived data for tree species classification in a semi-arid desert region. This study produces highly accurate classifications by combining multi-temporal fine spatial resolution hyperspectral and LiDAR data (~1 m) through a reproducible scripting and machine learning approach that can be applied to larger areas and similar datasets. Combining multi-temporal vegetation indices and canopy height models led to an overall accuracy of 95.28% and kappa of 94.17%. Five woody species were discriminated resulting in producer accuracies ranging from 86.12% to 98.38%. The influence of fusing spectral and structural information in a random forest classifier for tree identification is evident. Additionally, a multi-temporal dataset slightly increases classification accuracies over a single data collection. Our results show a promising methodology for tree species classification in a semi-arid region using multi-temporal hyperspectral and LiDAR remote sensing data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applications in Vegetation Classification)
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17 pages, 6384 KiB  
Article
Mapping Grassland Classes Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and MODIS NDVI Data for Temperate Grassland in Inner Mongolia, China
by Baoping Meng, Yuzhuo Zhang, Zhigui Yang, Yanyan Lv, Jianjun Chen, Meng Li, Yi Sun, Huifang Zhang, Huilin Yu, Jianguo Zhang, Jie Lian, Mingzhu He, Jinrong Li, Hongyan Yu, Li Chang and Shuhua Yi
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(9), 2094; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14092094 - 27 Apr 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2341
Abstract
Grassland classification is crucial for grassland management. One commonly used method utilizes remote sensing vegetation indices (VIs) to map grassland classes at various scales. However, most grassland classifications were conducted as case studies in a small area due to lack of field data [...] Read more.
Grassland classification is crucial for grassland management. One commonly used method utilizes remote sensing vegetation indices (VIs) to map grassland classes at various scales. However, most grassland classifications were conducted as case studies in a small area due to lack of field data sources. At a small scale, classification is reliable; however, great uncertainty emerges when extended to other areas. In this study, large amounts of field observations (more than 30,000 aerial photos) were obtained using unmanned aerial vehicle photography in Inner Mongolia, China, during the peak period of grassland growth in 2018 and 2019. Then, four machine learning classification algorithms were constructed based on characteristic indices of MODIS NDVI in the growing season to map grassland classes of Inner Mongolia. Finally, the spatial distribution and temporal variation of temperate grassland classes were analyzed. Results showed that: (1) Among all characteristic indices, the maximum, average, and sum of MODIS NDVI from July to September during 2015 to 2019 greatly affected grassland classification. (2) The random forest method exhibited the best performance with overall accuracy and kappa coefficient being 72.17% and 0.62, respectively. (3) Compared with the grassland class mapped in the 1980s, 30.98% of grassland classes have been transformed. Our study provides a technological basis for effective and accurate classification of the temperate steppe class and a theoretical foundation for sustainable development and restoration of the temperate steppe ecosystem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applications in Vegetation Classification)
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21 pages, 5593 KiB  
Article
Comparison of Long Short-Term Memory Networks and Random Forest for Sentinel-1 Time Series Based Large Scale Crop Classification
by Felix Reuß, Isabella Greimeister-Pfeil, Mariette Vreugdenhil and Wolfgang Wagner
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(24), 5000; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13245000 - 09 Dec 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3154
Abstract
To ensure future food security, improved agricultural management approaches are required. For many of those applications, precise knowledge of the distribution of crop types is essential. Various machine and deep learning models have been used for automated crop classification using microwave remote sensing [...] Read more.
To ensure future food security, improved agricultural management approaches are required. For many of those applications, precise knowledge of the distribution of crop types is essential. Various machine and deep learning models have been used for automated crop classification using microwave remote sensing time series. However, the application of these approaches on a large spatial and temporal scale is barely investigated. In this study, the performance of two frequently used algorithms, Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) networks and Random Forest (RF), for crop classification based on Sentinel-1 time series and meteorological data on a large spatial and temporal scale is assessed. For data from Austria, the Netherlands, and France and the years 2015–2019, scenarios with different spatial and temporal scales were defined. To quantify the complexity of these scenarios, the Fisher Discriminant measurement F1 (FDR1) was used. The results demonstrate that both classifiers achieve similar results for simple classification tasks with low FDR1 values. With increasing FDR1 values, however, LSTM networks outperform RF. This suggests that the ability of LSTM networks to learn long-term dependencies and identify the relation between radar time series and meteorological data becomes increasingly important for more complex applications. Thus, the study underlines the importance of deep learning models, including LSTM networks, for large-scale applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applications in Vegetation Classification)
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29 pages, 12680 KiB  
Article
Feature Fusion Approach for Temporal Land Use Mapping in Complex Agricultural Areas
by Lijun Wang, Jiayao Wang and Fen Qin
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(13), 2517; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13132517 - 27 Jun 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2606
Abstract
Accurate temporal land use mapping provides important and timely information for decision making for large-scale management of land and crop production. At present, temporal land cover and crop classifications within a study area have neglected the differences between subregions. In this paper, we [...] Read more.
Accurate temporal land use mapping provides important and timely information for decision making for large-scale management of land and crop production. At present, temporal land cover and crop classifications within a study area have neglected the differences between subregions. In this paper, we propose a classification rule by integrating the terrain, time series characteristics, priority, and seasonality (TTPSR) with Sentinel-2 satellite imagery. Based on the time series of Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) and Vegetation Index (NDVI), a dynamic decision tree for forests, cultivation, urban, and water was created in Google Earth Engine (GEE) for each subregion to extract cultivated land. Then, with or without this cultivated land mask data, the original classification results for each subregion were completed based on composite image acquisition with five vegetation indices using Random Forest. During the post-reclassification process, a 4-bit coding rule based on terrain, type, seasonal rhythm, and priority was generated by analyzing the characteristics of the original results. Finally, statistical results and temporal mapping were processed. The results showed that feature importance was dominated by B2, NDWI, RENDVI, B11, and B12 over winter, and B11, B12, NDBI, B2, and B8A over summer. Meanwhile, the cultivated land mask improved the overall accuracy for multicategories (seven to eight and nine to 13 during winter and summer, respectively) in each subregion, with average ranges in the overall accuracy for winter and summer of 0.857–0.935 and 0.873–0.963, respectively, and kappa coefficients of 0.803–0.902 and 0.835–0.950, respectively. The analysis of the above results and the comparison with resampling plots identified various sources of error for classification accuracy, including spectral differences, degree of field fragmentation, and planting complexity. The results demonstrated the capability of the TTPSR rule in temporal land use mapping, especially with regard to complex crops classification and automated post-processing, thereby providing a viable option for large-scale land use mapping. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applications in Vegetation Classification)
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19 pages, 15509 KiB  
Article
Fusion of GF and MODIS Data for Regional-Scale Grassland Community Classification with EVI2 Time-Series and Phenological Features
by Zhenjiang Wu, Jiahua Zhang, Fan Deng, Sha Zhang, Da Zhang, Lan Xun, Tehseen Javed, Guizhen Liu, Dan Liu and Mengfei Ji
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(5), 835; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13050835 - 24 Feb 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2425
Abstract
Satellite-borne multispectral data are suitable for regional-scale grassland community classification owing to comprehensive coverage. However, the spectral similarity of different communities makes it challenging to distinguish them based on a single multispectral data. To address this issue, we proposed a support vector machine [...] Read more.
Satellite-borne multispectral data are suitable for regional-scale grassland community classification owing to comprehensive coverage. However, the spectral similarity of different communities makes it challenging to distinguish them based on a single multispectral data. To address this issue, we proposed a support vector machine (SVM)–based method integrating multispectral data, two-band enhanced vegetation index (EVI2) time-series, and phenological features extracted from Chinese GaoFen (GF)-1/6 satellite with (16 m) spatial and (2 d) temporal resolution. To obtain cloud-free images, the Enhanced Spatial and Temporal Adaptive Reflectance Fusion Model (ESTARFM) algorithm was employed in this study. By using the algorithm on the coarse cloudless images at the same or similar time as the fine images with cloud cover, the cloudless fine images were obtained, and the cloudless EVI2 time-series and phenological features were generated. The developed method was applied to identify grassland communities in Ordos, China. The results show that the Caragana pumila Pojark, Caragana davazamcii Sanchir and Salix schwerinii E. L. Wolf grassland, the Potaninia mongolica Maxim, Ammopiptanthus mongolicus S. H. Cheng and Tetraena mongolica Maxim grassland, the Caryopteris mongholica Bunge and Artemisia ordosica Krasch grassland, the Calligonum mongolicum Turcz grassland, and the Stipa breviflora Griseb and Stipa bungeana Trin grassland are distinguished with an overall accuracy of 87.25%. The results highlight that, compared to multispectral data only, the addition of EVI2 time-series and phenological features improves the classification accuracy by 9.63% and 14.7%, respectively, and even by 27.36% when these two features are combined together, and indicate the advantage of the fine images in this study, compared to 500 m moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) data, which are commonly used for grassland classification at regional scale, while using 16 m GF data suggests a 23.96% increase in classification accuracy with the same extracted features. This study indicates that the proposed method is suitable for regional-scale grassland community classification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applications in Vegetation Classification)
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Review

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24 pages, 2743 KiB  
Review
One-Class Classification of Natural Vegetation Using Remote Sensing: A Review
by Sébastien Rapinel and Laurence Hubert-Moy
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(10), 1892; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13101892 - 12 May 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3569
Abstract
Advances in remote sensing (RS) technology in recent years have increased the interest in including RS data into one-class classifiers (OCCs). However, this integration is complex given the interdisciplinary issues involved. In this context, this review highlights the advances and current challenges in [...] Read more.
Advances in remote sensing (RS) technology in recent years have increased the interest in including RS data into one-class classifiers (OCCs). However, this integration is complex given the interdisciplinary issues involved. In this context, this review highlights the advances and current challenges in integrating RS data into OCCs to map vegetation classes. A systematic review was performed for the period 2013–2020. A total of 136 articles were analyzed based on 11 topics and 30 attributes that address the ecological issues, properties of RS data, and the tools and parameters used to classify natural vegetation. The results highlight several advances in the use of RS data in OCCs: (i) mapping of potential and actual vegetation areas, (ii) long-term monitoring of vegetation classes, (iii) generation of multiple ecological variables, (iv) availability of open-source data, (v) reduction in plotting effort, and (vi) quantification of over-detection. Recommendations related to interdisciplinary issues were also suggested: (i) increasing the visibility and use of available RS variables, (ii) following good classification practices, (iii) bridging the gap between spatial resolution and site extent, and (iv) classifying plant communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applications in Vegetation Classification)
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17 pages, 3290 KiB  
Technical Note
Plant and Animal Species Recognition Based on Dynamic Vision Transformer Architecture
by Hang Pan, Lun Xie and Zhiliang Wang
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(20), 5242; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14205242 - 20 Oct 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1814
Abstract
Automatic prediction of the plant and animal species most likely to be observed at a given geo-location is useful for many scenarios related to biodiversity management and conservation. However, the sparseness of aerial images results in small discrepancies in the image appearance of [...] Read more.
Automatic prediction of the plant and animal species most likely to be observed at a given geo-location is useful for many scenarios related to biodiversity management and conservation. However, the sparseness of aerial images results in small discrepancies in the image appearance of different species categories. In this paper, we propose a novel Dynamic Vision Transformer (DViT) architecture to reduce the effect of small image discrepancies for plant and animal species recognition by aerial image and geo-location environment information. We extract the latent representation by sampling a subset of patches with low attention weights in the transformer encoder model with a learnable mask token for multimodal aerial images. At the same time, the geo-location environment information is added to the process of extracting the latent representation from aerial images and fused with the token with high attention weights to improve the distinguishability of representation by the dynamic attention fusion model. The proposed DViT method is evaluated on the GeoLifeCLEF 2021 and 2022 datasets, achieving state-of-the-art performance. The experimental results show that fusing the aerial image and multimodal geo-location environment information contributes to plant and animal species recognition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applications in Vegetation Classification)
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