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Estimation of forest stem volume using multispectral optical satellite and tree height data in combination

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The accuracy of forest stem volume estimation at stand level was investigated using multispectral optical satellite and tree height data in combination. The stem volumes for the investigated coniferous stands, located in southern Sweden, were in the range of 15–585 m 3 ha −1 with an average stem volume of 266 m 3 ha −1 . The results from regression analysis showed a substantial improvement for the combined stem volume estimates compared with using satellite data only. The accuracy in terms of root mean square error (RMSE) was calculated to 11.2% of the average stem volume using SPOT-4 data and tree height data in combination compared with 23.9% using SPOT-4 data only. By replacing SPOT-4 data with Landsat TM data the RMSE was improved from 25.2% to 12.2%. In addition, a sensitivity analysis was performed on the combined stem volume estimates by adding random errors, normally distributed with zero expectations, with standard deviations of 1, 1.5 and 2 m to tree height data. The results showed that the RMSE increased with increasing random tree height error to 15.4%, 18.0% and 19.9% using SPOT-4 data and 16.3%, 19.2% and 21.2% using Landsat TM data. The results imply that multispectral optical satellite data in combination with accurate tree height data could be used for standwise stem volume estimation in forestry applications.
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Keywords: Combined estimation; Landsat TM; SPOT-4; forest inventory; stand level

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Forest Resource Management and Geomatics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, UmeƄ, Sweden

Publication date: 2005-10-01

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