Mapping annual forest cover by fusing PALSAR/PALSAR-2 and MODIS NDVI during 2007–2016

Zhang, Yihang and Ling, Feng and Foody, Giles M. and Ge, Yong and Boyd, Doreen S. and Li, Xiaodong and Du, Yun and Atkinson, P.M. (2019) Mapping annual forest cover by fusing PALSAR/PALSAR-2 and MODIS NDVI during 2007–2016. Remote Sensing of Environment, 224. pp. 74-91. ISSN 0034-4257

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Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) Phased Arrayed L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR) HH and HV polarization data were used previously to produce annual, global 25 m forest maps between 2007 and 2010, and the latest global forest maps of 2015 and 2016 were produced by using the ALOS-2 PALSAR-2 data. However, annual 25 m spatial resolution forest maps during 2011–2014 are missing because of the gap in operation between ALOS and ALOS-2, preventing the construction of a continuous, fine resolution time-series dataset on the world's forests. In contrast, the MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) NDVI images were available globally since 2000. This research developed a novel method to produce annual 25 m forest maps during 2007–2016 by fusing the fine spatial resolution, but asynchronous PALSAR/PALSAR-2 with coarse spatial resolution, but synchronous MODIS NDVI data, thus, filling the four-year gap in the ALOS and ALOS-2 time-series, as well as enhancing the existing mapping activity. The method was developed concentrating on two key objectives: 1) producing more accurate 25 m forest maps by integrating PALSAR/PALSAR-2 and MODIS NDVI data during 2007–2010 and 2015–2016; 2) reconstructing annual 25 m forest maps from time-series MODIS NDVI images during 2011–2014. Specifically, a decision tree classification was developed for forest mapping based on both the PALSAR/PALSAR-2 and MODIS NDVI data, and a new spatial-temporal super-resolution mapping was proposed to reconstruct the 25 m forest maps from time-series MODIS NDVI images. Three study sites including Paraguay, the USA and Russia were chosen, as they represent the world's three main forest types: tropical forest, temperate broadleaf and mixed forest, and boreal conifer forest, respectively. Compared with traditional methods, the proposed approach produced the most accurate continuous time-series of fine spatial resolution forest maps both visually and quantitatively. For the forest maps during 2007–2010 and 2015–2016, the results had greater overall accuracy values (>98%) than those of the original JAXA forest product. For the reconstructed 25 m forest maps during 2011–2014, the increases in classifications accuracy relative to three benchmark methods were statistically significant, and the overall accuracy values of the three study sites were almost universally >92%. The proposed approach, therefore, has great potential to support the production of annual 25 m forest maps by fusing PALSAR/PALSAR-2 and MODIS NDVI during 2007–2016.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Remote Sensing of Environment
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Remote Sensing of Environment. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Remote Sensing of Environment, 224, 2019 DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2019.01.038
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25 Feb 2019 14:25
Last Modified:
20 Sep 2020 05:22