Accurate mapping of forest types using dense seasonal landsat time-series

Xiaolin Zhu, Desheng Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


An accurate map of forest types is important for proper usage and management of forestry resources. Medium resolution satellite images (e.g., Landsat) have been widely used for forest type mapping because they are able to cover large areas more efficiently than the traditional forest inventory. However, the results of a detailed forest type classification based on these images are still not satisfactory. To improve forest mapping accuracy, this study proposed an operational method to get detailed forest types from dense Landsat time-series incorporating with or without topographic information provided by DEM. This method integrated a feature selection and a training-sample-adding procedure into a hierarchical classification framework. The proposed method has been tested in Vinton County of southeastern Ohio. The detailed forest types include pine forest, oak forest, and mixed-mesophytic forest. The proposed method was trained and validated using ground samples from field plots. The three forest types were classified with an overall accuracy of 90.52% using dense Landsat time-series, while topographic information can only slightly improve the accuracy to 92.63%. Moreover, the comparison between results of using Landsat time-series and a single image reveals that time-series data can largely improve the accuracy of forest type mapping, indicating the importance of phenological information contained in multi-seasonal images for discriminating different forest types. Thanks to zero cost of all input remotely sensed datasets and ease of implementation, this approach has the potential to be applied to map forest types at regional or global scales. (ISPRS).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Classification
  • Feature selection
  • Forest types
  • Hierarchical approach
  • Landsat
  • Seasonal time-series

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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