Improved parametrisation of a physically-based forest reflectance model for retrieval of boreal forest structural properties

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Abstract

Physically-based reflectance models offer a robust and transferable method to assess biophysical characteristics of vegetation in remote sensing. Forests exhibit explicit structure at many scales, from shoots and branches to landscape patches, and hence present a specific challenge to vegetation reflectance modellers. To relate forest reflectance with its structure, the complexity must be parametrised leading to an increase in the number of reflectance model inputs. The parametrisations link reflectance simulations to measurable forest variables, but at the same time rely on abstractions (e.g. a geometric surface forming a tree crown) and physically-based simplifications that are difficult to quantify robustly. As high-quality data on basic forest structure (e.g. tree height and stand density) and optical properties (e.g. leaf and forest floor reflectance) are becoming increasingly available, we used the well-validated forest reflectance and transmittance model FRT to investigate the effect of the values of the “uncertain” input parameters on the accuracy of modelled forest reflectance. With the state-of-the-art structural and spectral forest information, and Sentinel-2 Multispectral Instrument imagery, we identified that the input parameters influencing the most the modelled reflectance, given that the basic forestry variables are set to their true values and leaf mass is determined from reliable allometric models, are the regularity of the tree distribution and the amount of woody elements. When these parameters were set to their new adjusted values, the model performance improved considerably, reaching in the near infrared spectral region (740–950 nm) nearly zero bias, a relative RMSE of 13% and a correlation coefficient of 0.81. In the visible part of the spectrum, the model performance was not as consistent indicating room for improvement.
Original languageEnglish
Article number22028
Number of pages27
JournalSilva Fennica
Volume57
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • forest structure
  • Sentinel-2
  • reflectance
  • hyperspectral
  • tree distribution

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