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Tree Cover Mapping Based on Sentinel-2 Images Demonstrate High Thematic Accuracy in Europe

Ottosen, Thor-Bjørn, Petch, Geoffrey, Hanson, Mary and Skjøth, C. (2020) Tree Cover Mapping Based on Sentinel-2 Images Demonstrate High Thematic Accuracy in Europe. International Journal of Applied Earth Observations and Geoinformation, 84. p. 101947. ISSN 0303-2434

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Abstract

The spatial and temporal distribution of trees has a large impact on human health and the environment through contributions to important climate mechanisms as well as commercial, recreational and social activities in society. A range of tree mapping methodologies has been presented in the literature, but tree cover estimates still differ widely between the individual datasets, and comparisons of the thematic accuracy of the resulting tree maps are rather scarce. The Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellites, which were launched in 2015 and 2017, have a combination of high spatial and temporal resolution. Given that this is a new satellite, a substantial amount of research on development of tree mapping algorithms as well as accuracy assessment of said algorithms have to be done in the years to come. To contribute to this process, a tree map produced through unsupervised classification was created for six Sentinel-2 tiles. The agreement between the tree map and the corresponding national forest inventory, as a function of the band combination chosen, was analysed and the thematic accuracy was assessed for two out of the six tiles. The results show that the highest agreement between the present tree map and the national forest inventory was found for bands 2, 3, 6 and 12. The present tree map has a relative difference in tree cover between 8% and 79% compared to previous estimates, but results are characterised by large scatter. Lastly, it is shown that the overall thematic accuracy of the present map is up to 90%, with the user’s accuracy ranging from 34.85 % to 92.10 %, and the producer’s accuracy ranging from 23.80 % to 97.60 % for the various thematic classes. This demonstrates that tree maps with high thematic accuracy can be produced from Sentinel-2. In the future the thematic accuracy can be increased even more through the use of temporal averaging in the mapping procedure, which will enable an accurate estimate of the European tree cover.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

The full-text of the online published article can be accessed via the official URL.
© 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/BY/4.0/).

Uncontrolled Keywords: Sentinel-2, band combinations, tree cover, unsupervised classification, Copernicus
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: Divisions (2019 onwards) > College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Science and the Environment
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Copyright Info: Open Access article (UW LS APC)
Depositing User: Carsten Skjoth
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2019 13:34
Last Modified: 26 Nov 2019 11:25
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/8519

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