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Remote Sens. 2013, 5(2), 558-583; doi:10.3390/rs5020558

An Object-Based Approach for Mapping Shrub and Tree Cover on Grassland Habitats by Use of LiDAR and CIR Orthoimages

1
Forest and Landscape, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Rolighedsvej 23, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark
2
Department of Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry, Finnish Geodetic Institute, P.O. Box 15, FI-02431 Masala, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 November 2012 / Revised: 10 January 2013 / Accepted: 15 January 2013 / Published: 28 January 2013
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Abstract

Due to the abandonment of former agricultural management practices such as mowing and grazing, an increasing amount of grassland is no longer being managed. This has resulted in increasing shrub encroachment, which poses a threat to a number of species. Monitoring is an important means of acquiring information about the condition of the grasslands. Though the use of traditional remote sensing is an effective means of mapping and monitoring land cover, the mapping of small shrubs and trees based only on spectral information is challenged by the fact that shrubs and trees often spectrally resemble grassland and thus cannot be safely distinguished and classified. With the aid of LiDAR-derived information, such as elevation, the classification of spectrally similar objects can be improved. In this study, we applied high point density LiDAR data and colour-infrared orthoimages for the classification of shrubs and trees in a study area in Denmark. The classification result was compared to a classification based only on colour-infrared orthoimages. The overall accuracy increased significantly with the use of LiDAR and, for shrubs and trees specifically, producer’s accuracy increased from 81.2% to 93.7%, and user’s accuracy from 52.9% to 89.7%. Object-based image analysis was applied in combination with a CART classifier. The potential of using the applied approach for mapping and monitoring of large areas is discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: shrub encroachment; abandonment; grassland; LiDAR; colour-infrared orthoimage; OBIA; nDSM; classification tree; decision tree; monitoring shrub encroachment; abandonment; grassland; LiDAR; colour-infrared orthoimage; OBIA; nDSM; classification tree; decision tree; monitoring
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Hellesen, T.; Matikainen, L. An Object-Based Approach for Mapping Shrub and Tree Cover on Grassland Habitats by Use of LiDAR and CIR Orthoimages. Remote Sens. 2013, 5, 558-583.

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