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Research article2002Peer reviewedOpen access

Applications using estimates of forest parameters derived from satellite and forest inventory data

Reese, Heather; Nilsson, Mats; Sandström, Per; Olsson, Håkan


From the combination of optical satellite data, digital map data, and forest inventory plot data, continuous estimates have been made for several forest parameters (wood volume, age, and biomass). Five different project areas within Sweden are presented which have utilized these estimates for a range of applications. The method for estimating the forest parameters was a 'k-nearest neighbor (kNN)' algorithm, which used a weighted mean value of k spectrally similar reference plots. Reference data were obtained from the Swedish National Forest Inventory. The output was continuous estimates at the pixel level for each of the variables estimated. Validation results show that accuracy of the estimates for all parameters was low at the pixel level (e.g. for total wood volume root mean square error (RMSE) ranged from 58-80%), with a tendency toward the mean, and an underestimation of higher values while overestimating lower values. However, when the accuracy of the estimates is assessed over larger areas, the errors are lower, with best results being 10% RMSE over a 100 ha aggregation, and 17% RMSE over a 19 ha aggregation. Applications presented in this paper include moose and bird habitat studies, county level planning activities, use as input information to prognostic programs, and computation of statistics on timber volume within drainage basins and smaller land holdings. This paper provides a background on the kNN method and gives examples of how end users are currently applying satellite-produced estimation data such as these. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.


applications; landsat thematic mapper; SPOT; forest inventory; continuous estimates; kNN

Published in

Computers and Electronics in Agriculture
2002, Volume: 37, number: 1-3, pages: 37-55