Mapping Species Composition of Forests and Tree Plantations in Northeastern Costa Rica with an Integration of Hyperspectral and Multitemporal Landsat Imagery

Fagan, Matthew E.; DeFries, Ruth S.; Sesnie, Steven E.; Arroyo-Mora, J. Pablo; Soto, Carlomagno; Singh, Aditya; Townsend, Philip A.; Chazdon, Robin L.

An efficient means to map tree plantations is needed to detect tropical land use change and evaluate reforestation projects. To analyze recent tree plantation expansion in northeastern Costa Rica, we examined the potential of combining moderate-resolution hyperspectral imagery (2005 HyMap mosaic) with multitemporal, multispectral data (Landsat) to accurately classify (1) general forest types and (2) tree plantations by species composition. Following a linear discriminant analysis to reduce data dimensionality, we compared four Random Forest classification models: hyperspectral data (HD) alone; HD plus interannual spectral metrics; HD plus a multitemporal forest regrowth classification; and all three models combined. The fourth, combined model achieved overall accuracy of 88.5%. Adding multitemporal data significantly improved classification accuracy (p < 0.0001) of all forest types, although the effect on tree plantation accuracy was modest. The hyperspectral data alone classified six species of tree plantations with 75% to 93% producer’s accuracy; adding multitemporal spectral data increased accuracy only for two species with dense canopies. Non-native tree species had higher classification accuracy overall and made up the majority of tree plantations in this landscape. Our results indicate that combining occasionally acquired hyperspectral data with widely available multitemporal satellite imagery enhances mapping and monitoring of reforestation in tropical landscapes.

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Remote Sensing

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Academic Units
Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology
Published Here
October 15, 2015