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Mapping of boreal vegetation of a temperate mountain in China by multitemporal Landsat TM imagery

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The Changbai Mountain Natural Reserve (2000 km2), north-east China, is a very important ecosystem representing the temperate biosphere. The cover types were derived by using multitemporal Landsat TM imagery, which was modified with DEM data on the relationship between vegetation distribution and elevation. It was classified into 20 groups by supervised classification. By comparing the results of the classification of different band combinations, bands 4 and 5 of an image from 18 July 1997 and band 3 of an image from 22 October 1997 were used to make a false colour image for the final output, a vegetation map, which showed the best in terms of classification accuracy. The overall accuracy by individual images was less than 70%, while that of the multitemporal classification was higher than 80%. Further, on the basis of the relationship of vegetation distribution and elevation, the accuracy of multitemporal classification was raised from 85.8 to 89.5% by using DEM. Bands 4 and 5 showed a high ability for discriminating cover types. Images acquired in late spring and mid-summer were recognized better than other seasons for cover type identification. NDVI and band ratio of B4/B3 proved useful for cover type discrimination, but were not superior to the original spectral bands. Other band ratios like B5/B4 and B7/B5 were less important for improving classification accuracy. The changes of spectral reflectance and NDVI with season were also analysed with 10 images ranging from 1984 to 1997. Seperability of images in terms of classification accuracy was high in late spring and summer, and decreased towards winter. There were five vegetation zones on the mountain, from the base to the peak: deciduous forest zone, mixed forest zone, conifer forest zone, birch forest zone and tundra zone. Spruce-fir conifer dominated forest was the most dominant vegetation (33%), followed by mixed forest (26%), Korean pine forest (8%) and mountain birch forest (5%).
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 10 September 2002

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