Remote Sensing Applications and Decision Support

Improved method for estimating tree crown diameter using high-resolution airborne data

[+] Author Affiliations
Olga Brovkina, Tomas Fabianek

Global Change Research Institute AS CR, Belidla 986/4a, Brno 60300, Czech Republic

Iscander Sh. Latypov

Russian Academy of Sciences, Saint-Petersburg Scientific Research Centre for Ecological Safety, Korpusnaya Street 18, St. Petersburg 197110, Russia

Emil Cienciala

IFER—Institute of Forest Ecosystem Research, Cs. armady 655, Jilove u Prahy 254 01, Czech Republic

J. Appl. Remote Sens. 10(2), 026006 (Apr 12, 2016). doi:10.1117/1.JRS.10.026006
History: Received December 11, 2015; Accepted March 18, 2016
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Abstract.  Automatic mapping of tree crown size (radius, diameter, or width) from remote sensing can provide a major benefit for practical and scientific purposes, but requires the development of accurate methods. This study presents an improved method for average tree crown diameter estimation at a forest plot level from high-resolution airborne data. The improved method consists of the combination of a window binarization procedure and a granulometric algorithm, and avoids the complicated crown delineation procedure that is currently used to estimate crown size. The systematic error in average crown diameter estimates is corrected with the improved method. The improved method is tested with coniferous, beech, and mixed-species forest plots based on airborne images of various spatial resolutions. The absolute (quantitative) accuracy of the improved crown diameter estimates is comparable or higher for both monospecies plots and mixed-species plots than the current methods. The ability of the improved method to produce good estimates for average crown diameters for monoculture and mixed species, to use remote sensing data of various spatial resolution and to operate in automatic mode promisingly suggests its applicability to a wide range of forest systems.

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© 2016 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers

Citation

Olga Brovkina ; Iscander Sh. Latypov ; Emil Cienciala and Tomas Fabianek
"Improved method for estimating tree crown diameter using high-resolution airborne data", J. Appl. Remote Sens. 10(2), 026006 (Apr 12, 2016). ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.JRS.10.026006


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