Quantifying Aboveground Biomass of Shrubs Using Spectral and Structural Metrics Derived from UAS Imagery

Lucy G. Poley, David N. Laskin, Gregory J. McDermid
2020 Remote Sensing  
Shrub-dominated ecosystems support biodiversity and play an important storage role in the global carbon cycle. However, it is challenging to characterize biophysical properties of low-stature vegetation like shrubs from conventional ground-based or remotely sensed data. We used spectral and structural variables derived from high-resolution unmanned aerial system (UAS) imagery to estimate the aboveground biomass of shrubs in the Betula and Salix genera in a montane meadow in Banff National Park,
more » ... anff National Park, Canada using an area-based approach. In single-variable linear regression models, visible light (RGB) indices outperformed multispectral or structural data. A linear model based on the red ratio vegetation index (VI) accumulated over shrub area could model biomass (calibration R2 = 0.888; validation R2 = 0.774) nearly as well as the top multivariate linear regression models (calibration R2 = 0.896; validation R2 > 0.750), which combined an accumulated RGB VI with a multispectral metric. The excellent performance of accumulated RGB VIs represents a novel approach to fine-scale vegetation biomass estimation, fusing spectral and spatial information into a single parsimonious metric that rivals the performance of more complex multivariate models. Methods developed in this study will be relevant to researchers interested in estimating fine-scale shrub aboveground biomass within a range of ecosystems.
doi:10.3390/rs12142199 fatcat:l2zsn3ygj5cdvlweywaklzwzdm