Estimating Aboveground Biomass of Two Different Forest Types in Myanmar from Sentinel-2 Data with Machine Learning and Geostatistical Algorithms
The accurate estimation of spatially explicit forest aboveground biomass (AGB) provides an essential basis for sustainable forest management and carbon sequestration accounting, especially in Myanmar, where there is a lack of data for forest conservation due to operational limitations. This study mapped the forest AGB using Sentinel-2 (S-2) images and Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM) based on random forest (RF), stochastic gradient boosting (SGB) and Kriging algorithms in two forest
... rves (Namhton and Yinmar) in Myanmar, and compared their performance against AGB measured by the traditional methods. Specifically, a suite of forest sample plots were deployed in the two forest reserves, and forest attributes were measured to calculate the plot-level AGB based on allometric equations. The spectral bands, vegetation indices (VIs) and textures derived from processed S-2 data and topographic parameters from SRTM were utilized to statistically link with field-based AGB by implementing random forest (RF) and stochastic gradient boosting (SGB) algorithms. Followed by an evaluation of the algorithmic performances, RF-based Kriging (RFK) models were employed to determine the spatial distribution of AGB as an improvement of accuracy against RF models. The study's results showed that textural measures produced from wavelet analysis (WA) and vegetation indices (VIs) from Sentinel-2 were the strongest predictors for evergreen forest reserve (Namhton) AGB prediction and spectral bands and vegetation indices (VIs) showed the highest sensitivity to the deciduous forest reserve (Yinmar) AGB prediction. The fitted models were RF-based ordinary Kriging (RFOK) for Namhton forest reserve and RF-based co-Kriging (RFCK) for Yinmar forest reserve because their respective R2, whilst the RMSE values were validated as 0.47 and 24.91 AGB t/ha and 0.52 and 34.72 AGB t/ha, respectively. The proposed random forest Kriging framework provides robust AGB maps, which are essential to estimate the carbon sequestration potential in the context of REDD+. From this particular study, we suggest that the protection/disturbance status of forests affects AGB values directly in the study area; thus, community-participated or engaged forest utilization and conservation initiatives are recommended to promote sustainable forest management.