Evaluating the Potential of WorldView-2 Data to Classify Tree Species and Different Levels of Ash Mortality
Forest disturbances in central Europe caused by fungal pests may result in widespread tree mortality. To assess the state of health and to detect disturbances of entire forest ecosystems, up-to-date knowledge of the tree species diversity is essential. The German state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is severely affected by ash (Fraxinus excelsior) dieback caused by the fungal pathogen Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus. In this study, species diversity and the magnitude of ash mortality was assessed by
... assessed by classifying seven different tree species and multiple levels of damaged ash. The study is based on a multispectral WorldView-2 (WV-2) scene and uses object-based supervised classification methods based on multinomial logistic regressions. Besides the original multispectral image, a set of remote sensing indices (RSI) was derived, which significantly improved the accuracies of classifying different levels of damaged ash but only slightly improved tree species classification. The large number of features was reduced by three approaches, of which the linear discriminant analysis (LDA) clearly outperformed the more commonly used principal component analysis (PCA) and a stepwise selection method. Promising overall accuracies (83%) for classifying seven tree species and (73%) for classifying four different levels of damaged ash were obtained. Detailed tree damage and tree species maps were visually inspected using aerial images. The results are of high relevance for forest OPEN ACCESS Remote Sens. 2014, 6 4516 managers to plan appropriate cutting and reforestation measures to decrease ash dieback over entire regions.