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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Assessment of boreal forest height from WorldView-2 satellite stereo images

Persson, Henrik; Perko, Roland


WorldView-2 (WV2) satellite stereo images were used to derive a digital surface model, which together with a high-resolution digital terrain model from airborne laser scanning (ALS) were used to estimate forest height. Lorey's mean height (H-L) could be estimated with a root mean square error of 1.5 m (8.3%) and 1.4 m (10.4%), using linear regression, at the two Swedish test sites Remningstorp (Lat. 58 degrees 30'N, Long. 13 degrees 40'E) and Krycklan (Lat. 64 degrees 16'N, Long. 19 degrees 46'E), which contain hemi-boreal and boreal forest. The correlation coefficients were r = 0.94 and r = 0.91, respectively. The 10 m sample plots were 175 in Remningstorp and 282 in Krycklan. It was furthermore found that WV2 data are sometimes unstable for canopy top height estimations (ALS height percentile 100, p100) and that the reconstructed heights are generally located below the actual top height. The WV2 p60 was found to correlate best with ALS p70 in Remningstorp, while WV2 p95 was found to correlate best with ALS p70 in Krycklan, and it moreover reached the highest correlation for all other estimated variables, at both test sites. It was concluded that WV2 p95 height data overall represent approximately the forest height ALS p70. The overall high correlation coefficients above 0.90 at both test sites, with different forest conditions, indicate that stereo matching of WV2 satellite images is suitable for forest height mapping.

Published in

Remote Sensing Letters
2016, volume: 7, number: 12, pages: 1150-1159

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Resource Management
Perko, Roland
Joanneum Research Forschungsgesellschaft mbH

Associated SLU-program


UKÄ Subject classification

Remote Sensing
Forest Science

Publication Identifiers


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