The identification of tree species is an important issue in forest management. In recent years, many studies have explored this topic using hyperspectral, multispectral, and LiDAR data. In this study we analyzed two multi-sensor set-ups: 1) airborne high spatial resolution hyperspectral images combined with LiDAR data; and 2) high spatial resolution satellite multispectral images combined with LiDAR data. Two LiDAR acquisitions were considered: low point density (approx. 0.48 points per m2) and high point density (approx. 8.6 points per m2). The aims of this work were: i) to understand what level of classification accuracy can be achieved using a high spectral and spatial resolution multi-sensor data set-up (very high spatial and spectral resolution airborne hyperspectral images integrated with high point density LiDAR data), over a mountain area characterized by many species, both broadleaf and coniferous; ii) to understand the implications of a downgrading of the data characteristics (in terms of spectral resolution of spectral data and point density of LiDAR data), on species separability, with respect to the previous set-up; and iii) to understand the differences between high- and low-point density LiDAR acquisitions on tree species classification. The study region was a mountain area in the Southern Alps characterized by many tree species (7 species and a “non-forest” class), either coniferous or broadleaf. For each set-up a specific processing chain was adopted, from the pre-processing of the raw data to the classification (two classifiers were used: support vector machine and random forest). Different class definitions were tested, including general macro-classes, forest types, and finally single tree species. Experimental results showed that the set-up based on hyperspectral data was effective with general macro-classes, forest types, and single species, reaching high kappa accuracies (93.2%, 82.1% and 76.5%, respectively). The use of multispectral data produced a reduction in the classification accuracy, which was sharp for single tree species, and still high for forest types. Considering general macro-classes, the multispectral set-up was still very accurate (85.8%). Regarding LiDAR data, the experimental analysis showed that high density LiDAR data provided more information for tree species classification with respect to low density data, when combined with either hyperspectral or multispectral data.

Dalponte, M.; Bruzzone, L.; Gianelle, D. (2012). Tree species classification in the Southern Alps based on the fusion of very high geometrical resolution multispectral/hyperspectral images and LiDAR data. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 123: 258-270. doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2012.03.013 handle: http://hdl.handle.net/10449/21299

Tree species classification in the Southern Alps based on the fusion of very high geometrical resolution multispectral/hyperspectral images and LiDAR data

Dalponte, Michele;Gianelle, Damiano
2012-01-01

Abstract

The identification of tree species is an important issue in forest management. In recent years, many studies have explored this topic using hyperspectral, multispectral, and LiDAR data. In this study we analyzed two multi-sensor set-ups: 1) airborne high spatial resolution hyperspectral images combined with LiDAR data; and 2) high spatial resolution satellite multispectral images combined with LiDAR data. Two LiDAR acquisitions were considered: low point density (approx. 0.48 points per m2) and high point density (approx. 8.6 points per m2). The aims of this work were: i) to understand what level of classification accuracy can be achieved using a high spectral and spatial resolution multi-sensor data set-up (very high spatial and spectral resolution airborne hyperspectral images integrated with high point density LiDAR data), over a mountain area characterized by many species, both broadleaf and coniferous; ii) to understand the implications of a downgrading of the data characteristics (in terms of spectral resolution of spectral data and point density of LiDAR data), on species separability, with respect to the previous set-up; and iii) to understand the differences between high- and low-point density LiDAR acquisitions on tree species classification. The study region was a mountain area in the Southern Alps characterized by many tree species (7 species and a “non-forest” class), either coniferous or broadleaf. For each set-up a specific processing chain was adopted, from the pre-processing of the raw data to the classification (two classifiers were used: support vector machine and random forest). Different class definitions were tested, including general macro-classes, forest types, and finally single tree species. Experimental results showed that the set-up based on hyperspectral data was effective with general macro-classes, forest types, and single species, reaching high kappa accuracies (93.2%, 82.1% and 76.5%, respectively). The use of multispectral data produced a reduction in the classification accuracy, which was sharp for single tree species, and still high for forest types. Considering general macro-classes, the multispectral set-up was still very accurate (85.8%). Regarding LiDAR data, the experimental analysis showed that high density LiDAR data provided more information for tree species classification with respect to low density data, when combined with either hyperspectral or multispectral data.
Tree species classification
Hyperspectral data
Multispectral data
GeoEye-1
LiDAR data
LiDAR point density
Support vector machine
Random forest
Settore AGR/05 - ASSESTAMENTO FORESTALE E SELVICOLTURA
2012
Dalponte, M.; Bruzzone, L.; Gianelle, D. (2012). Tree species classification in the Southern Alps based on the fusion of very high geometrical resolution multispectral/hyperspectral images and LiDAR data. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 123: 258-270. doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2012.03.013 handle: http://hdl.handle.net/10449/21299
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