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Forests 2017, 8(12), 487; doi:10.3390/f8120487

Mapping Net Stocked Plantation Area for Small-Scale Forests in New Zealand Using Integrated RapidEye and LiDAR Sensors

New Zealand School of Forestry, University of Canterbury, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
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Received: 4 October 2017 / Revised: 30 November 2017 / Accepted: 2 December 2017 / Published: 7 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Inventory, Quantitative Methods and Remote Sensing)
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Abstract

In New Zealand, approximately 70% of plantation forests are large-scale (over 1000 ha) with accurate resource description. In contrast, the remaining 30% of plantation forests are small-scale (less than 1000 ha). It is forecasted that these small-scale forests will supply nearly 40% of the national wood production in the next decade. However, in-depth description of these forests, especially those under 100 ha, is very limited. This research evaluates the use of remote sensing datasets to map and estimate the net stocked plantation area for small-scale forests. We compared a factorial combination of two classification approaches (Nearest Neighbour (NN), Classification and Regression Tree (CART)) and two remote sensing datasets (RapidEye, RapidEye plus LiDAR) for their ability to accurately classify planted forest area. CART with a combination of RapidEye and LiDAR metrics outperformed the other three combinations producing the highest accuracy for mapping forest plantations (user’s accuracy = 90% and producer’s accuracy = 88%). This method was further examined by comparing the mapped plantations with manually digitised plantations based on aerial photography. The mapping approach overestimated the plantation area by 3%. It was also found that forest patches exceeding 10 ha achieved higher conformance with the digitised areas. Overall, the mapping approach in this research provided a proof of concept for deriving forest area and mapping boundaries using remote sensing data, and is especially relevant for small-scale forests where limited information is currently available. View Full-Text
Keywords: small-scale forests; forest mapping; aerial laser scanning; satellite imagery; land cover classification; remote sensing small-scale forests; forest mapping; aerial laser scanning; satellite imagery; land cover classification; remote sensing
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Xu, C.; Morgenroth, J.; Manley, B. Mapping Net Stocked Plantation Area for Small-Scale Forests in New Zealand Using Integrated RapidEye and LiDAR Sensors. Forests 2017, 8, 487.

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