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Discrimination of conifer height, age and crown closure classes using Landsat-5 TM imagery in the Canadian Northwest Territories

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Empirical relationships between forest stand attributes and Landsat-5 Thematic Mapper spectral response were developed in order to assess its informational value in support of forest inventory operations in the Northwest Territories. An existing large-area classification procedure, based on a supervised methodology, has been able to generate classes of white spruce and jack pine. Within individual forest species groups, spectral variability related to differences in crown closure, height and age is of interest to forest managers in the region. The objective of this study was to determine the accuracy with which stands within the white spruce and jack pine classes could be further separated into two stand height classes (< 15 m and ≥ 15 m), two age classes (< 100 years and ≥ 100 years) and two crown closure classes (< 30% and ≥ 30%) with a single (summer) Landsat-5 Thematic Mapper (TM) image. Discrimination generally improved with the addition of spectral texture measures where independently assessed accuracies ranged from 60 to 90%. A look-up table was devised for conifer-dominated areas (> 80% dominant species) which could subsequently be assigned for height, age and crown closure class values based on Landsat TM spectral response patterns.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4, Canada 2: Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, Northern Forestry Centre, Edmonton, Alberta T6H 3S5, Canada 3: Department of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development, Government of Northwest Territories, Hay River, Northwest Territories X0E 1G3, Canada

Publication date: 2003-05-01

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