, Volume 6, Issue 12, pp 5017-5032

Mediterranean forest mapping using hyper-spectral satellite imagery

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Abstract

Mediterranean forests are characterized by spatiotemporal heterogeneity that is associated with Mediterranean climate, floristic biodiversity and topographic variability. Satellite remote sensing can be an effective tool for characterizing and monitoring forest vegetation distribution within these fragmented Mediterranean landscapes. The heterogeneity of Mediterranean vegetation, however, often exceeds the resolution typical of most satellite sensors. Hyper-spectral remote sensing technology demonstrates the capacity for accurate vegetation identification. The objective of this research is to determine to what extent forest types can be discriminated using different image analysis techniques and spectral band combinations of Hyperion satellite imagery. This research mapped forest types using a pixel-based Spectral Angle Mapper (SAM), nearest neighbour and membership function classifiers of the object-oriented classification. Hyperion classification was done after reducing Hyperion data using nine selected band combinations. Results indicate that the selection of band combination while reducing the Hyperion dataset improves classification results for both the overall and the individual forest type accuracy, in particular for the selected optimum Hyperion band combination. One shortcoming is that the performance of the best selected band combination was superior in terms of both overall and individual forest type accuracy when applying the membership classifier of the object-oriented method compared to SAM and nearest neighbour classifiers. However, all techniques seemed to suffer from a number of problems, such as spectral similarity among forest types, overall low energy response of the Hyperion sensor, Hyperion medium spatial resolution and spatiotemporal and spectral heterogeneity of the Mediterranean ecosystem at multiple scales.