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Modelling forest stand volume and tree density using Landsat ETM+ data

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Estimation of stand volume and tree density in a large area using remotely sensed data has considerable significance for sustainable management of natural resources. In this paper, we explore likely relationships between forest stand characteristics and Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) reflectance values. We used multivariate regression technique to predict stand volume and tree density. The result showed that a linear combination of greenness and difference vegetation index (DVI) were better predictors of stand volume (adjusted R2 = 43%; root mean square error (RMSE) = 97.4 m3 ha-1) than other ETM+ bands and vegetation indices. In addition, the regression model with ETM4 (near infrared band) and ETM5 (first shortwave band) as independent variables was a better predictor of tree density (adjusted R2 = 73.4%; RMSE = 170.13 ha-1) than other combinations of ETM+ bands and vegetation indices. Results obtained from this study demonstrate the significant relationship between forest stand characteristics and ETM+ reflectance values and the utility of transformed bands in modelling stand volume and tree density. Based on the results of this study, we conclude that ETM+ data are useful to estimate forest volume and density and to gain insights into its structural characteristics in our study area. Forest managers could use ETM+ data for gaining insights into stand characteristics and generating maps required for developing forest management plans and identifying locations within stands that require treatments and other interventions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: College of Forestry, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran 2: College of Basic Sciences, Gorgan University of Agricultural Science & Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran 3: College of Environmental Sciences, Gorgan University of Agricultural Science & Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran

Publication date: 2010-04-01

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