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Clear-cut Detection in Boreal Forest Aided by Remote Sensing

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The study compares the applicability of different remote sensing data and digital change detection methods in detecting clear-cut areas in boreal forest. The methods selected for comparisons are simple and straightforward and thus applicable in practical forestry. The data tested were from Landsat satellite imagery and high-altitude panchromatic aerial orthophotographs. The change detection was based on image differencing. Three different approaches were tested: (1) pixel-by-pixel differencing and segmentation; (2) pixel block-level differencing and thresholding; and (3) presegmentation and unsupervised classification. The study shows that the methods and data sources used are accurate enough for operational detection of clear-cut areas. The study suggests that predelineated segments or pixel blocks should be used for image differencing to decrease the number of misinterpreted small areas. For the same reason the use of a digital forest mask is crucial in operational applications.
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Keywords: Change detection; Landsat 5 imagery; clear-cut area; image differencing; panchromatic aerial photograph; remote sensing; segmentation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Finnish Forest Research Institute Suonenjoki Research Station FI-77600 Suonenjoki 2: Forestry Development Centre Tapio Mekrijärvi Research Station Soidinkuja 4 FI-00170 Helsinki 3: University of Joensuu Mekrijärvi Research Station Yliopistontie 4 FI-82900 Ilomantsi 4: Oy Arbonaut Ltd Helsinki Research Unit Torikatu 21 C FI-80100 Joensuu 5: Finnish Forest Research Institute Helsinki Research Unit FI-00170 Helsinki 6: Finnish Forest Research Institute Research Forest Services FI-01301 Vantaa

Publication date: 2003-12-01

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