Utility of hyperspectral compared to multispectral remote sensing data in estimating forest biomass and structure variables in Finnish boreal forest

Eelis Halme, Petri Pellikka, Matti Mõttus

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    Abstract

    Three-quarters of Finland’s land surface area is filled with forests, which compose a great part of the country’s biomass, carbon pools and carbon sinks. In order to acquire up-to-date information on the forests, optical remote sensing techniques are commonly used. Moreover, in the future hyperspectral satellite missions will start providing data to support the needs of natural resource management practices, such as forestry. It is, however, unclear what would be the additional value from using hyperspectral data compared to multispectral in quantifying forest variables of Finnish boreal forest. In this study, we used the remote sensing data by hyperspectral AISA imager (128 bands, 400–1000 nm, resolution 0.7 m) and Sentinel-2 (10 bands, resolution 10 m) to assess the possible benefits of higher spectral resolution. As reference data, we used a new nationwide forest resource dataset (stand-level data), which has a high potential in further remote sensing applications. In addition, we used a set of independent in situ measurements (plot-level data) for validation. We applied two kernel-based machine learning regression algorithms (Gaussian process and support vector regression) to relate boreal forest variables with the remote sensing data. The variables of interest were mean height, basal area, leaf area index (LAI), stem biomass and main tree species. The regression algorithms were trained with stand-level data and estimations were evaluated with stand- and plot-level holdout sets. The estimation accuracies were examined with absolute and relative root-mean-square errors. Successful variable estimations showed that kernel-based regression algorithms are suitable tools for forest structure estimation. Based on the results, the additional value of hyperspectral remote sensing data in forest variable estimation in Finnish boreal forest is mainly related to variables with species-specific information, such as main tree species and LAI. The more interesting variables for forestry industry, such as mean height, basal area and stem biomass, can also be estimated accurately with more traditional multispectral remote sensing data.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number101942
    JournalInternational Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
    Volume83
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2019
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Fingerprint

    boreal forest
    Remote sensing
    Biomass
    remote sensing
    biomass
    Forestry
    Natural resources management
    Carbon
    basal area
    leaf area index
    Spectral resolution
    forestry
    Image sensors
    Mean square error
    Learning systems
    stem
    Satellites
    satellite mission
    carbon sink
    forest resource

    Keywords

    • Hyperspectral imaging
    • Sentinel-2
    • Forest structure variables
    • Machine learning
    • Support vector regression
    • Gaussian process regression

    Cite this

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    title = "Utility of hyperspectral compared to multispectral remote sensing data in estimating forest biomass and structure variables in Finnish boreal forest",
    abstract = "Three-quarters of Finland’s land surface area is filled with forests, which compose a great part of the country’s biomass, carbon pools and carbon sinks. In order to acquire up-to-date information on the forests, optical remote sensing techniques are commonly used. Moreover, in the future hyperspectral satellite missions will start providing data to support the needs of natural resource management practices, such as forestry. It is, however, unclear what would be the additional value from using hyperspectral data compared to multispectral in quantifying forest variables of Finnish boreal forest. In this study, we used the remote sensing data by hyperspectral AISA imager (128 bands, 400–1000 nm, resolution 0.7 m) and Sentinel-2 (10 bands, resolution 10 m) to assess the possible benefits of higher spectral resolution. As reference data, we used a new nationwide forest resource dataset (stand-level data), which has a high potential in further remote sensing applications. In addition, we used a set of independent in situ measurements (plot-level data) for validation. We applied two kernel-based machine learning regression algorithms (Gaussian process and support vector regression) to relate boreal forest variables with the remote sensing data. The variables of interest were mean height, basal area, leaf area index (LAI), stem biomass and main tree species. The regression algorithms were trained with stand-level data and estimations were evaluated with stand- and plot-level holdout sets. The estimation accuracies were examined with absolute and relative root-mean-square errors. Successful variable estimations showed that kernel-based regression algorithms are suitable tools for forest structure estimation. Based on the results, the additional value of hyperspectral remote sensing data in forest variable estimation in Finnish boreal forest is mainly related to variables with species-specific information, such as main tree species and LAI. The more interesting variables for forestry industry, such as mean height, basal area and stem biomass, can also be estimated accurately with more traditional multispectral remote sensing data.",
    keywords = "Hyperspectral imaging, Sentinel-2, Forest structure variables, Machine learning, Support vector regression, Gaussian process regression",
    author = "Eelis Halme and Petri Pellikka and Matti M{\~o}ttus",
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    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Utility of hyperspectral compared to multispectral remote sensing data in estimating forest biomass and structure variables in Finnish boreal forest

    AU - Halme, Eelis

    AU - Pellikka, Petri

    AU - Mõttus, Matti

    PY - 2019/8/23

    Y1 - 2019/8/23

    N2 - Three-quarters of Finland’s land surface area is filled with forests, which compose a great part of the country’s biomass, carbon pools and carbon sinks. In order to acquire up-to-date information on the forests, optical remote sensing techniques are commonly used. Moreover, in the future hyperspectral satellite missions will start providing data to support the needs of natural resource management practices, such as forestry. It is, however, unclear what would be the additional value from using hyperspectral data compared to multispectral in quantifying forest variables of Finnish boreal forest. In this study, we used the remote sensing data by hyperspectral AISA imager (128 bands, 400–1000 nm, resolution 0.7 m) and Sentinel-2 (10 bands, resolution 10 m) to assess the possible benefits of higher spectral resolution. As reference data, we used a new nationwide forest resource dataset (stand-level data), which has a high potential in further remote sensing applications. In addition, we used a set of independent in situ measurements (plot-level data) for validation. We applied two kernel-based machine learning regression algorithms (Gaussian process and support vector regression) to relate boreal forest variables with the remote sensing data. The variables of interest were mean height, basal area, leaf area index (LAI), stem biomass and main tree species. The regression algorithms were trained with stand-level data and estimations were evaluated with stand- and plot-level holdout sets. The estimation accuracies were examined with absolute and relative root-mean-square errors. Successful variable estimations showed that kernel-based regression algorithms are suitable tools for forest structure estimation. Based on the results, the additional value of hyperspectral remote sensing data in forest variable estimation in Finnish boreal forest is mainly related to variables with species-specific information, such as main tree species and LAI. The more interesting variables for forestry industry, such as mean height, basal area and stem biomass, can also be estimated accurately with more traditional multispectral remote sensing data.

    AB - Three-quarters of Finland’s land surface area is filled with forests, which compose a great part of the country’s biomass, carbon pools and carbon sinks. In order to acquire up-to-date information on the forests, optical remote sensing techniques are commonly used. Moreover, in the future hyperspectral satellite missions will start providing data to support the needs of natural resource management practices, such as forestry. It is, however, unclear what would be the additional value from using hyperspectral data compared to multispectral in quantifying forest variables of Finnish boreal forest. In this study, we used the remote sensing data by hyperspectral AISA imager (128 bands, 400–1000 nm, resolution 0.7 m) and Sentinel-2 (10 bands, resolution 10 m) to assess the possible benefits of higher spectral resolution. As reference data, we used a new nationwide forest resource dataset (stand-level data), which has a high potential in further remote sensing applications. In addition, we used a set of independent in situ measurements (plot-level data) for validation. We applied two kernel-based machine learning regression algorithms (Gaussian process and support vector regression) to relate boreal forest variables with the remote sensing data. The variables of interest were mean height, basal area, leaf area index (LAI), stem biomass and main tree species. The regression algorithms were trained with stand-level data and estimations were evaluated with stand- and plot-level holdout sets. The estimation accuracies were examined with absolute and relative root-mean-square errors. Successful variable estimations showed that kernel-based regression algorithms are suitable tools for forest structure estimation. Based on the results, the additional value of hyperspectral remote sensing data in forest variable estimation in Finnish boreal forest is mainly related to variables with species-specific information, such as main tree species and LAI. The more interesting variables for forestry industry, such as mean height, basal area and stem biomass, can also be estimated accurately with more traditional multispectral remote sensing data.

    KW - Hyperspectral imaging

    KW - Sentinel-2

    KW - Forest structure variables

    KW - Machine learning

    KW - Support vector regression

    KW - Gaussian process regression

    U2 - 10.1016/j.jag.2019.101942

    DO - 10.1016/j.jag.2019.101942

    M3 - Article

    VL - 83

    JO - International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation

    JF - International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation

    SN - 1569-8432

    M1 - 101942

    ER -