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Research article2013Peer reviewed

Estimating forest biomass and height using optical stereo satellite data and a DTM from laser scanning data

Persson, Henrik; Wallerman, Jörgen; Olsson, Håkan; Fransson, Johan


This paper investigates the possibilities of improving aboveground forest biomass and basal area weighted mean height estimates from optical multispectral satellite data by adding Canopy Height Models (CHMs) obtained from matching multiple view-angle satellite data. The analysis was carried out using data collected over the Remningstorp test site in southern Sweden from 2008-2011 and used training and validation data from airborne laser scanning and field data. CHMs were produced by subtracting a Digital Elevation Model (based on airborne laser scanning data) from the Digital Surface Models created by matching multiple view-angle SPOT-5 HRS and ALOS PRISM data. By modeling biomass and height using regression analysis on multispectral data from SPOT-5 HRG in combination with height metrics from the CHMs, an improved root mean squared error (RMSE) was attained, compared with using the individual satellite data sources alone. A comparison between SPOT-5 HRS and ALOS PRISM CHMs in combination with multispectral data was made at stand level using biomass and height estimates from laser scanning data as reference data. For biomass, the relative RMSE improved from 32.9% when using only multispectral data, to 29.2% and 22.4% when adding the CHM from SPOT-5 HRS and ALOS PRISM, respectively. The corresponding improvements for height were from 16.1% to 15.3% with the SPOT-5 HRS CHM and to 12.9% with the ALOS PRISM CHM. A further analysis of combining the ALOS PRISM CHM and multispectral data was made at sub-stand level with field measurements as reference data. This combination gave a relative RMSE of 20.6% for biomass and 10.5% for height. In conclusion, the estimation accuracy for aboveground biomass and basal area weighted mean height was improved by adding CHM data to multispectral data from optical satellites.

Published in

Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing
2013, Volume: 39, number: 3, pages: 251-262