Canadian Forest Service Publications

Multi-temporal analysis of high spatial resolution imagery for disturbance monitoring. 2008. Wulder, M.A.; White, J.C.; Coops, N.C.; Butson, C.R. Remote Sensing of Environment 112(6): 2729-2740.

Year: 2008

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 28494

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

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Mountain pine beetle red attack damage has been successfully detected and mapped using single-date high spatial resolution (< 4 m) satellite multi-spectral data. Forest managers; however, need to monitor locations for changes in beetle populations over time. Specifically, counts of individual trees attacked in successive years provide an indication of beetle population growth and dynamics. Surveys are typically used to estimate the ratio of green (current) attack trees to red (previous) attack trees or G:R. In this study, we estimate average stand-level G:R using a time-series of QuickBird multi-spectral and panchromatic satellite data, combined with field data for three forested stands near Merritt, British Columbia, Canada. Using a ratio of QuickBird red to green wavelengths (Red–Green Index or RGI), the change in RGI (?RGI) in successive image pairs is used to estimate red attack damage in 2004, 2005, and 2006, with true positive accuracies ranging from 89 to 93%. To overcome issues associated with differing viewing geometry and illumination angles that impair tracking of individual trees through time, segments are generated from the QuickBird multi-spectral data to identify small groups of trees. These segments then serve as the vehicle for monitoring changes in red attack damage over time. A local maxima filter is applied to the panchromatic data to estimate stem counts, thereby allowing an indication of the total stand population at risk of attack. By combining the red attack damage estimates with the local maxima stem counts, predictions are made of the number of attacked trees in a given year. Backcasting the current year's red attack damaged trees as the previous year's green attack facilitates the estimation of an average stand G:R. In this study area, these retrospective G:R values closely match those generated from field surveys. The results of this study indicate that a monitoring program using a time series of high spatial resolution remotely sensed data (multi-spectral and panchromatic) over select sample locations, could be used to estimate G:R over large areas, facilitating landscape level management strategies and/or providing a mechanism for assessing the efficacy of previously implemented strategies.