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Effects of RapidEye imagery’s red-edge band and vegetation indices on land cover classification in an arid region

Li, Xianju, Chen, Gang, Liu, Jingyi, Chen, Weitao, Cheng, Xinwen, Liao, Yiwei
Chinese geographical science 2017 v.27 no.5 pp. 827-835
arid zones, basins, desertification, land cover, land management, models, plant communities, prediction, vegetation, vegetation index, China
Land cover classification (LCC) in arid regions is of great significance to the assessment, prediction, and management of land desertification. Some studies have shown that the red-edge band of RapidEye images was effective for vegetation identification and could improve LCC accuracy. However, there has been no investigation of the effects of RapidEye images’ red-edge band and vegetation indices on LCC in arid regions where there are spectrally similar land covers mixed with very high or low vegetation coverage information and bare land. This study focused on a typical inland arid desert region located in Dunhuang Basin of northwestern China. First, five feature sets including or excluding the red-edge band and vegetation indices were constructed. Then, a land cover classification system involving plant communities was developed. Finally, random forest algorithm-based models with different feature sets were utilized for LCC. The conclusions drawn were as follows: 1) the red-edge band showed slight contribution to LCC accuracy; 2) vegetation indices had a significant positive effect on LCC; 3) simultaneous addition of the red-edge band and vegetation indices achieved a significant overall accuracy improvement (3.46% from 86.67%). In general, vegetation indices had larger effect than the red-edge band, and simultaneous addition of them significantly increased the accuracy of LCC in arid regions.