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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Tree Species Classification with Multi-Temporal Sentinel-2 Data

Persson, Magnus; Lindberg, Eva; Reese, Heather

Abstract

The Sentinel-2 program provides the opportunity to monitor terrestrial ecosystems with a high temporal and spectral resolution. In this study, a multi-temporal Sentinel-2 data set was used to classify common tree species over a mature forest in central Sweden. The tree species to be classified were Norway spruce (Picea abies), Scots pine (Pinus silvestris), Hybrid larch (Larix x marschlinsii), Birch (Betula sp.) and Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur). Four Sentinel-2 images from spring (7 April and 27 May), summer (9 July) and fall (19 October) of 2017 were used along with the Random Forest (RF) classifier. A variable selection approach was implemented to find fewer and uncorrelated bands resulting in the best model for tree species identification. The final model resulting in the highest overall accuracy (88.2%) came from using all bands from the four image dates. The single image that gave the most accurate classification result (80.5%) was the late spring image (27 May); the 27 May image was always included in subsequent image combinations that gave the highest overall accuracy. The five tree species were classified with a user's accuracy ranging from 70.9% to 95.6%. Thirteen of the 40 bands were selected in a variable selection procedure and resulted in a model with only slightly lower accuracy (86.3%) than that using all bands. Among the highest ranked bands were the red edge bands 2 and 3 as well as the narrow NIR (near-infrared) band 8a, all from the 27 May image, and SWIR (short-wave infrared) bands from all four image dates. This study shows that the red-edge bands and SWIR bands from Sentinel-2 are of importance, and confirms that spring and/or fall images capturing phenological differences between the species are most useful to tree species classification.

Keywords

tree species classification; Sentinel-2; multi-temporal; Random Forest; variable selection; phenology; boreo-nemoral

Published in

Remote Sensing
2018, volume: 10, number: 11, article number: 1794
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Persson, Magnus
Linnaeus University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Resource Management
Reese, Heather
University of Gothenburg

Associated SLU-program

Remningstorp

UKÄ Subject classification

Remote Sensing
Forest Science

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10111794

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/97667