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Discriminating small wooded elements in rural landscape from aerial photography: a hybrid pixel/object-based analysis approach

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While small, fragmented wooded elements do not represent a large surface area in agricultural landscape, their role in the sustainability of ecological processes is recognized widely. Unfortunately, landscape ecology studies suffer from the lack of methods for automatic detection of these elements. We propose a hybrid approach using both aerial photographs and ancillary data of coarser resolution to automatically discriminate small wooded elements. First, a spectral and textural analysis is performed to identify all the planted-tree areas in the digital photograph. Secondly, an object-orientated spatial analysis using the two data sources and including a multi-resolution segmentation is applied to distinguish between large and small woods, copses, hedgerows and scattered trees. The results show the usefulness of the hybrid approach and the prospects for future ecological applications.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Universite de Toulouse, France 2: INRA, France

Publication date: 2009-10-01

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