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FOREST TREE SPECIES CLASSIFICATION USING MULTISPECTRAL SATELLITE IMAGERIES Juwairia Mahbooba, Dr Umar Khattakb and Mahboob ur Rahmanc

Institute of Geographical Information System, National University of Sciences and Technology, Sector H-12, Islamabad, Pakistan juwairia_m@yahoo.com b Institute of Geographical Information System, National University of Sciences and Technology, Sector H-12, Islamabad, Pakistan u.khattak@igis.nust.edu.pk c H # 149, St # 3, Sector J-2, Phase 2, Hayatabad, Peshawar, Pakistan snvl_18@hotmail.com
KEYWORDS: Forest, Tree species, Classification, Inventory, Biodiversity, SPOT, ALI, Remote Sensing, GIS.
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ABSTRACT: Conservation and management of forests is vital for maintaining environmental stability and ecological biodiversity. Across the world, habitats continue to shrink and species diversity and number continue to reduce. A regular forest inventory of the forested areas can help us intricately view the causes of decline of forest species in the area and assist in decision making. Forests are continuously declining with an alarming rate in the study area as well as in many parts of the world. This research focuses on the classification of forest tree species and their spatial distribution in Ayubia National Park, Pakistan with SPOT 5 & ALI imageries based on geospatial technologies. In this study the optical properties of tree species were used to classify the study area into different vegetation categories. Being different and unique for each species, optical properties can be used as a source of species identification. Species classification was performed using various supervised classification methods. Among the methods, decision tree classification method involving use of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and DEM showed best results. The percentage of coniferous and broadleaved tree species was found to be 91% and 9% respectively through SPOT imagery, and 88% and 12% respectively through ALI imagery of the total vegetation cover obtained from Decision Tree Analysis. It was concluded that the best suited approach would be to have a high spatial resolution imagery coupled with a better spectral resolution for any meaningful classification of forest tree species, to be used for management of forest resources.

1.

INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND

Species classification is an upcoming field with broad applications in the fields of forest management, biology, ecology, conservation of biodiversity, tree demographic studies, habitat diversity assessment, wildlife management and forest inventory. Spectral reflectance of plant species vary with wavelength to different degrees. Several authors have studied the spectral difference between plant species as well as vegetation communities in the laboratory by visually looking at the shape of vegetation spectra (Elvidge, 1990; Vogelmann et al., 1993). Knapp et al. (1998) assessed differences in leaf optical properties among 26 species common to the central and southeastern United States. Similarly, Schmidt et al. (2002) analyzed field reflectance spectra of 27 saltmarsh vegetation types of the Dutch Waddenzee wetland. In the study, the author tested the reflectance spectra of vegetation types for differences between type classes and found statistically significant spectral regions of vegetation types. Coops et al. (2001) collected leaf samples across eucalyptus forest near Tumbarumba, Australia. The author recorded leaf spectra, bio-physical and bio-chemical properties of eucalyptus species and afterwards compared this data with the spectral information available from Hyperion imagery. Thus, a unique spectrum of every plant species can be used as a signature to classify a forest area comprising of such species.

With the advent of technology in remote sensing, imageries with high spatial and spectral resolutions became commercially available, facilitating researchers in classifying and categorizing forests species on the basis of their unique spectral signatures. Castro-Esau et al. (2006) studied the variability in leaf optical properties of Mesoamerican trees and the potential for species classification from remote airborne or satellite borne sensors. The author studied shape and amplitude differences between spectra within leaves of single species and between trees. Moreover, Buddenbaum et al. (2005) performed classification of coniferous forests in Germany on the basis of tree species and age classes using spectral information from hyperspectral data. Similarly, Suhaili (2005) evaluated the discriminative capabilities in terms of spectral differences among tropical tree species in Malaysian tropical forest using hyperspectral data acquired form (AISA) airborne imaging spectrometer. Also, Leckie et al. (2003) conducted a study regarding species composition estimation using high-resolution (60 cm) multispectral airborne imagery of a conifer forest and plantation test area on the west coast of Canada. Research has proven the ability of airborne hyperspectral sensors to uniquely identify and map many spectrally distinct plants that are important in natural resource management (Suhaili, 2005). Modern day air-borne hyperspectral sensors provide high spatial and spectral resolution and can be effective in discriminating tree species. However, images from hyperspectral airborne sensors are commercially not yet available for many of the Asian countries including Pakistan. Therefore, with the available resources, space-borne

multispectral sensors were used for tree species classification. This study shows how well tree species can be separated based on their spectra. The potential of multispectral imageries is evaluated in discriminating forest tree species. This study comprises the classification of forest tree species of Ayubia National Park on the basis of their spectra and variables such as elevation, aspect and slope. 2. OBJECTIVES 4.

3.3 Secondary Data Topographic Sheet (no. 43 F/8) at a scale of 1:50,000 Boundary map of study area Contours were digitized at an interval of 50 feet. A digital elevation model (DEM) was generated from the contour data, thus obtaining data for slope, elevation and aspect. METHODOLOGY

This research focuses on the application of GIS and Remote Sensing technologies for forest management. The main purpose of this research is to use remote sensing and GIS as tools for forest inventory. The traditional methods still prevailing in Pakistan are labour intensive and time consuming. Thus, this research significantly provides a better and improved method for identifying, categorizing and classifying forest tree species. The main objective of this study is the classification of tree species and their spatial distribution in Ayubia National Park with multispectral satellite imageries.

GPS point data were collected for recording location of selected tree species. 100 GPS points were recorded, 10 for each tree species. The GPS point data was divided into two groups. First group was used as training data for classification of images, whereas, the second group was later used for verification of the data through accuracy assessment. The first group used as training sites was further utilized in developing signature files, thus obtaining spectra of every tree species (Barker et al., 1995). The spectral points, now called as signatures, were then used to train computer to recognize the tree species on SPOT and ALI images.

3.

MATERIALS

The datasets used for this study are categorized under following heads: 3.1 Satellite Data The following images were used: SPOT multispectral imagery (2.5m resolution) of 19 Oct, 2007 ALI multispectral imagery (30m resolution) of 18 Nov, 2007 Normally green leaves of many deciduous trees fall in November, although in Pakistan, generally the leaves of trees do not fall until late December. 3.2 Tree Species Data The field data was collected by visiting sites in the field and determining coordinates with GPS. Survey was carried out for three days from 23rd to 25th May, 2008. In the field survey carried out, GPS point data was collected for recording location of selected tree species given in Table 1. Table 1: Selected tree species of the Ayubia National Park. The local and botanical names are obtained from Sheikh, 1993 and Shafique, 2004. Common Name Coniferous Trees Himalayan Fir Spruce Chir pine Blue pine Deodar Yew/Bermi Broadleaved Trees Oak Himalayan Poplar Willow/Bins Maple Horse chestnut Botanical Name Abies pindrow Picea smithiana Pinus roxburghii Pinus wallichiana Cedrus deodara Taxus baccata Quercus incana Populus cilliata Salix tetrasperma Acer caesium Aesculus indica Local Name Partal Katchul Cheer Biar Diar Barmi Barungi Pallaach Brayoun/Beyoan Tarkanna/killu Ban khor

Figure 1: Methodological chart of the study, showing the data processing of field survey data, satellite data and topographic data ultimately resulting into classification of forest tree species of Ayubia National Park. A criterion to reduce the GPS error was set by the author for selecting tree species for recording GPS points. The criteria are as follows: 1. At least 5 GPS points for each tree species to be recorded. 2. The tree species selected must have a minimum crown width of 5m (covering a single pixel of SPOT 2.5m). 3. Surrounding tree crowns should preferably be of the same species. Signature files were used in classifying tree species through following classification methods: 1. Supervised classification a. Featurespace Maximum Likelihood (FML) Classifier b. Parallelopiped Maximum Likelihood (PML) Classifier c. Featurespace Mahalanobis Distance (FMahD) Classifier d. Parallelopiped Mahalanobis Distance (PMahD) Classifier

e. Featurespace Minimum Distance (FMinD) Classifier f. Parallelopiped Minimum Distance (PMinD) Classifier 2. Hybrid classification (supervised and unsupervised) 3. Decision tree classification For decision tree classification, the following datasets were used for classification of tree species: Spectral range of each band for every tree species obtained from the spectral signatures developed from overlaying GPS points over SPOT and ALI imageries. NDVI value range of each specie recorded over GPS point data Slope of the area derived from DEM generated from contour data Aspect of the study area derived from DEM along with the data obtained from field through GPS points Elevation of the study area and knowledge of tree species and their occurrence at certain elevations By considering all these aspects, criteria were set for each tree species and for satellite imagery i.e. SPOT and ALI given in Table 3 and 4. The classification results obtained from all the classification techniques was then validated and verified through accuracy assessment using ground truth GPS data acquired in field survey.

For SPOT imagery all the decision rules were possible and gave sound results, whereas, for ALI imagery, some decision rules gave illogical results, thus they were excluded. Minimum Distance classifier, Parallelopiped Minimum Distance Classifier and Feature Space Minimum Distance classifier gave sound results for ALI imagery. The reason is that ALI imagery has a pixel size of 30mx30m, thus comprising of spectral reflectance values of objects other than the respective tree species as well, therefore reducing the distinction or variability among the class signatures, hence giving illogical results for some decision rules. The minimum distance classifier was the only one to contribute to the results of ALI imagery as it uses the principle of assigning such a class to unknown pixel that has the smallest distance from the unknown pixel. Nevertheless, this method does not take into account the variability of classes, thus giving minimum accuracy. Decision Tree Classification performed on SPOT imagery showed highest area occupancy by Bluepine species. The percentage of coniferous species was found to be nearly 90% of the total vegetation, whereas, broadleaved specie were estimated to be 10%. In coniferous species, highest ratio was found to be of Bluepine, followed by Deodar, Bermi, Spruce and Fir, although Spruce is known to be less in the area as compared to Fir. In broadleaved species, Oak was found to be in highest ratio, followed by Poplar, Horsechestnut, Maple and Willow, although Poplar is known to be less than Horsechestnut and Maple in the area. But, the difference in the ratio of Poplar, Horsechestnut and maple is very low; therefore, it imparts less negative impact on accuracy of this method. The overall accuracy of this method was found to be 78%, which shows that it is the most accurate of all the methods. The method shows best results, nevertheless, a number of pixels are left unclassified which did not meet any criteria given, as it is a resultant of a multistage classifier, that involves series of binary decisions. Decision Tree classification was performed on ALI imagery showing the highest area occupancy by Bluepine species. The percentage of coniferous species was found to be nearly 88% of the total vegetation, whereas, broadleaved specie were estimated to be 12%. In coniferous species, highest ratio was found to be of Bluepine, followed by Deodar, Spruce, Bermi and Fir, although Spruce is known to be less in the area as compared to Fir. In broadleaved species, Maple was found to be in highest ratio, followed by Oak, Poplar, Horsechestnut and Willow. The overall accuracy of this method was found to be 72% and proved to be the most accurate method for ALI imagery. This is the only method applied that gave satisfactory results for ALI imagery. Nevertheless, being a binary multistage classifier, it resulted in a number of unclassified pixels that did not meet any criteria given. Feature Space Maximum Likelihood Classifier and Maximum Likelihood Classifier applied on SPOT gave the 2nd most accurate results for species classification. It showed an overall accuracy of 72%. Parallelopiped Mahalanobis Distance classifier applied on SPOT gave the 3rd most accurate results based on accuracy assessment. Overall accuracy for this method was found to be 70%. Feature Space Mahalanobis Distance and Mahalanobis Distance classifier applied on SPOT showed highest area occupancy by Bluepine specie. This method gave 60% overall accuracy results, even though, the results found are more in accordance with the knowledge of the area than FML, PMahD and PML methods. Accuracy assessment is carried out based on a sampled data obtained from field survey. Thus, the result of accuracy assessment

5.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Accuracy assessment was carried out for all the methods for tree species classification. The Overall Accuracy and Kappa for SPOT and ALI imagery are shown in Table 2. Table 2: Overall Accuracy and Kappa of all the methods applied during this research on SPOT & ALI imageries for tree species classification and relative spatial distribution. Accuracy Assessment Overall Accuracy KAPPA (0-1) SPOT ALI SPOT ALI (%) (%) (%) (%) 78 72 0.75 0.70 72 --0.68 --70 --0.66 --70 --0.66 --66 64 0.60 0.57 60 --0.55 ---

Methods D Tree FML or ML PMahD PML Hybrid FMahD or MahD

Species classification was performed using various methods on SPOT and ALI imageries. Among the methods Decision Tree Classification method was found to be the most suitable for the study area, while using SPOT and ALI imagery. ALI imagery did not give satisfactory results through any method except DTA method. It is concluded that DTA method has space for improvement, and can give better results. Further improvements in sampling data as well as inclusion of more environmental parameters e.g. soil and geology of the area, can improve the results of this method for SPOT & ALI imagery, although the results obtained with given parameters are satisfactory.

Table 3: Criteria applied for Decision Tree Algorithm on SPOT imagery. DTA CRITERIA FOR SPOT Aspect NDVI N, NE, E 0.02 - 0.11 NE, E, SE 0.01 - 0.08 N, SE 0.08 - 0.14 N, NE, SE 0.00 - 0.11 N, E, SE, S 0.03 - 0.12 N, NE, E, SE, S 0.07 - 0.12 N, NE, E 0.02 - 0.11 N, S, SW 0.00 - 0.08 N 0.11 - 0.15 N, SE, S 0.00 - 0.07

Specie Bluepine Deodar Fir Horsechestnut Maple Oak Poplar Spruce Willow Yew/Bermi

Elevation 1370 - 2750 1670 - 2590 1980 - 2590 1520 - 2440 1370 -2440 1370 - 2290 1980 - 2440 2290 - 2750 1830 - 2440 1370 - 2440

Slope >40% >40% >40% >40% >40% >40% >40% >40% >40% >40%

Band1 11 - 41 24 - 46 20 - 31 21 - 31 17 - 33 16 - 20 15 - 34 18 - 33 16 - 26 19 - 34

Band2 13 - 20 14 - 32 15 - 16 13 - 34 14 - 18 12 - 17 15 - 19 13 - 32 15 - 18 13 - 27

Band3 15 - 22 17 - 29 18 - 20 13 - 34 14 - 18 14 - 22 16 - 24 14 - 28 19 - 24 15 - 24

Band4 8 - 20 11 - 30 9 - 16 11 - 21 8 - 13 9 - 12 8 - 19 11 - 25 8 - 12 13 - 28

Table 4: Criteria applied for Decision Tree Algorithm on ALI imagery. DTA CRITERIA FOR ALI Band1 Band2 Band3 52-103 40-101 26-105 53-107 37-115 26-134 71-107 67-114 58-100 71-93 60-97 47-101 53-87 47-84 30-92 62-103 53-101 46-105 55-94 43-89 24-93 62-79 53-78 38-86 72-79 57-67 38-49 81-91 72-93 58-102

Specie Bluepine Deodar Fir Hchestnut Maple Oak Poplar Spruce Willow Bermi

Elevation 1370-2750 1670-2590 1980-2590 1520-2440 1370-2440 1370-2290 1980-2440 2290-2750 1830-2440 1370-2440

Slope >40% >40% >40% >40% >40% >40% >40% >40% >40% >40%

Aspect N,NE,E NE,E,SE N,SE N,NE,SE N,E,SE,S N,NE,E,SE,S N,NE,E N,S,SW N N,SE,S

NDVI 0.00-0.52 0.51-0.20 0.16-0.58 0.08-0.47 0.08-0.45 0.08-0.38 0.04-0.45 0.07-0.56 0.16-0.43 0.14-0.61

Band4 17-90 17-138 41-85 30-90 22-79 35-89 17-82 26-88 22-31 48-97

Band5 22-206 31-254 89-156 65-198 29-202 93-202 20-185 50-184 30-75 60-202

Band6 17-202 28-253 84-150 61-196 26-200 94-198 20-186 51-182 25-70 62-212

Band7 7-184 19-239 67-124 44-181 17-188 78-170 12-177 44-200 13-51 58-220

Band8 4-127 10-193 39-72 22-127 10-123 41-114 6-117 32-141 4-27 41-173

Band9 2-93 8-149 33-57 16-93 7-83 26-88 4-79 26-107 3-16 34-127

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Figure 2: Spatial distribution of tree species estimation derived from FML (a), PMahD (b), PML (c) and FMahD (d) classifiers using SPOT imagery, of Ayubia National Park, Pakistan.

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Figure 3: Spatial distribution of tree species estimation derived from PMinD and FMinD classifiers using SPOT (a and c) and ALI (b and d) imageries, of Ayubia National Park, Pakistan.

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Figure 4: Spatial distribution of tree species estimation derived from Hybrid and DTA methods using SPOT (a and c) and ALI (b and d) imageries, of Ayubia National Park, Pakistan.

depends upon the sampling intensity or sample size. An increased sample size for accuracy assessment will reduce the error in calculating accuracy. It is therefore concluded that FMahD and MahD methods used for species classification may have given better results on accuracy assessment than FML, PMahD and ML methods, but the reduced sample size resulted in lower accuracy. FMinD, MinD, PMinD and Hybrid classifiers gave unsatisfactory results for both SPOT and ALI imagery. The results for SPOT were, however, more accurate in case of DTA and Hybrid methods compared to ALI imagery, although ALI showed higher accuracy through results of PMinD, FMinD and MinD classifications.

Buddenbaum, H., Schlerf, M. and Hill, J. (2005). Classification of coniferous tree species and age classes using hyperspectral data and geostatistical methods. International Journal of Remote Sensing 26 (24): 5453-5465. Castro-Esau, K.L., Rivard, B., Wright, J. and Quesada, M. (2006). Variability in leaf optical properties of Mesoamerican trees and the potential for species classification. American Journal of Botany 93 (4): 517-530. Coops, N.C., Smith, M.L., Martin, M.E. and Dury, S.J. (2001). Assessing the performance of Hyperion in relation to Eucalypt biochemistry: Preliminary Project design specifications. International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS) 1: 311-313. Elvidge, C. D. (1990). Visible and near-infrared reflectance characteristics of dry plant materials. International Journal of Remote Sensing 11 (10): 1775-1795. Knapp, A.K. and Carter, G.A. (1998). Variability in leaf optical properties among 26 species from a broad range of habitats. American Journal of Botany 85 (7): 940946. Leckie, D. G. Gougeon, F. A., Walsworth, N. and Paradine, D. (2003). Stand delineation and composition estimation using semi-automated individual tree crown analysis. Remote Sensing of Environment 85: 355369. Schmidt, K.S. and Skidmore, A.K. (2002). Spectral discrimination of vegetation types in a coastal wetland, ITC. Remote Sensing of Environment 85: 92-108.

6.

CONCLUSION

SPOT imagery gave much better results for species classification than ALI imagery for the study area. Low spatial resolution of ALI imagery resulted in unsatisfactory results; even though the imagery has much higher spectral resolution. Therefore, for such forestry applications, a higher spatial resolution is essential. Moreover, provision of a high spectral resolution along with a high spatial resolution would be quite fruitful. The limitation of this study is that the accuracy is checked and based on the GPS point data collected in the field regarded as true data. The number of GPS points collected per specie would also affect the accuracy of the true data. Larger the number of GPS points per specie collected, the higher will be the accuracy of the true data. Moreover, the GPS instrument used showed an error of about 5m in its accuracy. Although, criteria were set to incorporate such errors, nevertheless, it would not serve as a continuous source of error removal. It is concluded that the best suited approach would be to have a high spatial resolution imagery coupled with a better spectral resolution for any meaningful classification of forest tree species, to be used for the management of this resource that is so scarce in our country. This study can be used as a basis for further estimation of crown closure and classification of tree species of Murree and Galiat Forests having similar climatic, edaphic and zonal characteristics. Moreover, this study can efficiently assist the Forest Department and WWF Department in managing the protected area of Ayubia National Park.

Shafique, C.M. (2003). Some aspects of Bio-ecology of Ayubia National Park. M.Sc. thesis. Department of Zoology. University of Karachi. Pakistan Research Repository. Sheikh, M. I. (1993). Trees of Pakistan. Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development. Pictorial Printers, Islamabad, Pakistan, 142 p. Suhaili, A.B. (2005). Improving species spectral discrimination using derivatives spectra for mapping of tropical forest from airborne hyperspectral imagery. University Putra Malaysia. Retrieved March, 2008, from http://www.gisdevelopment.net. Vogelmann, J. E. and Moss, D. M. (1993). Spectral reflectance measurement in the genus Sphagnum. Remote Sensing of Environment 45: 273-279.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I convey my sincere gratitude to Mr. Raja Muhammad Zarif, Mr. Iqbal Muhammad, Mr. Ijaz Bhutta and Mr. Abdul Latif Rao to have guided me throughout my research work and for sparing time from their busy schedules.

REFERENCES Barker, J., McCune, M. and Ramsey, D. (1995). Identification of potential Mallard Habitat in Cache County. Retrieved January, 2008, from http://www.nr.usu.edu/GeographyDepartment/rsgis/Projects/RSGIA95/gis6 /gis6.html.