Object-based forest classification to facilitate landscape-scale conservation in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley

Remote Sensing Applications: Society and Environment
By: , and 

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Abstract

The Mississippi Alluvial Valley is a floodplain along the southern extent of the Mississippi River extending from southern Missouri to the Gulf of Mexico. This area once encompassed nearly 10 million ha of floodplain forests, most of which has been converted to agriculture over the past two centuries. Conservation programs in this region revolve around protection of existing forest and reforestation of converted lands. Therefore, an accurate and up to date classification of forest cover is essential for conservation planning, including efforts that prioritize areas for conservation activities. We used object-based image analysis with Random Forest classification to quickly and accurately classify forest cover. We used Landsat band, band ratio, and band index statistics to identify and define similar objects as our training sets instead of selecting individual training points. This provided a single rule-set that was used to classify each of the 11 Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper scenes that encompassed the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. We classified 3,307,910±85,344 ha (32% of this region) as forest. Our overall classification accuracy was 96.9% with Kappa statistic of 0.96. Because this method of forest classification is rapid and accurate, assessment of forest cover can be regularly updated and progress toward forest habitat goals identified in conservation plans can be periodically evaluated.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Object-based forest classification to facilitate landscape-scale conservation in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley
Series title Remote Sensing Applications: Society and Environment
DOI 10.1016/j.rsase.2016.01.003
Volume 4
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 6 p.
First page 55
Last page 60
Country United States
State Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri
Other Geospatial Mississippi Alluvial Valley
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N