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Discriminating Urban Forest Types from Sentinel-2A Image Data through Linear Spectral Mixture Analysis: A Case Study of Xuzhou, East China

Zhou, Xisheng, Li, Long, Chen, Longqian, Liu, Yunqiang, Cui, Yifan, Zhang, Yu, Zhang, Ting
Forests 2019 v.10 no.6
case studies, coniferous forests, deciduous forests, monitoring, neural networks, support vector machines, texture, topography, urban areas, urban forests, China
Urban forests are an important component of the urban ecosystem. Urban forest types are a key piece of information required for monitoring the condition of an urban ecosystem. In this study, we propose an urban forest type discrimination method based on linear spectral mixture analysis (LSMA) and a support vector machine (SVM) in the case study of Xuzhou, east China. From 10-m Sentinel-2A imagery data, three different vegetation endmembers, namely broadleaved forest, coniferous forest, and low vegetation, and their abundances were extracted through LSMA. Using a combination of image spectra, topography, texture, and vegetation abundances, four SVM classification models were performed and compared to investigate the impact of these features on classification accuracy. With a particular interest in the role that vegetation abundances play in classification, we also compared SVM and other classifiers, i.e., random forest (RF), artificial neural network (ANN), and quick unbiased efficient statistical tree (QUEST). Results indicate that (1) the LSMA method can derive accurate vegetation abundances from Sentinel-2A image data, and the root-mean-square error (RMSE) was 0.019; (2) the classification accuracies of the four SVM models were improved after adding topographic features, textural features, and vegetation abundances one after the other; (3) the SVM produced higher classification accuracies than the other three classifiers when identical classification features were used; and (4) vegetation endmember abundances improved classification accuracy regardless of which classifier was used. It is concluded that Sentinel-2A image data has a strong capability to discriminate urban forest types in spectrally heterogeneous urban areas, and that vegetation abundances derived from LSMA can enhance such discrimination.