Canadian Forest Service Publications

Characterizing temperate forest structural and spectral diversity with Hyperion EO-1 data. 2010. White, J.C.; Gómez, C.; Wulder, M.A.; Coops, N.C. Remote Sensing of Environment 114: 1576-1589.

Year: 2010

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 31505

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2010.02.012

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Forest structural diversity can serve as an important indicator of biodiversity. The relationship between spaceborne hyperspectral remotely sensed data and several measures of forest structure was explored over a 625 km2 coastal temperate forest landscape on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Thirteen Hyperion bands were selected for analysis based on the documented and hypothesized importance of various spectral wavelengths to forest characterization. To aid in understanding spectral trends, measures of forest stand structural diversity (projected age, projected height, and stand species composition complexity) were derived from forest inventory data. The spectral distance between the stand mean and standard deviation of reflectance and related expectations from global equivalents for each of the 13 bands were used to relate measures of spectral diversity (N = 801 forest inventory stands).

Canonical correlation analysis was then used to determine the independent and shared relationships between these selected measures of forest structural diversity (dependent variables) and spectral diversity (independent variables). The dependent variables that were most strongly correlated with the first canonical variate were projected age and projected height, with canonical loadings of 0.973 and 0.979, respectively. In contrast, stand species composition complexity had a weak, negative correlation with spectral diversity (canonical loading = - 0.025). The wavelengths contributing the most to the canonical function included: 681–740 nm, 551–680 nm, and 1401–2400 nm. There have been few studies that attempt to directly link spectral and species diversity in temperate forest environments. From this initial investigation, we posit that the complex spectral response of coastal temperate forests may confound efforts to directly link spectral and species diversity across a range of site conditions.

Our results, which are constrained by the spectral and spatial resolution of the data used, our target environment, and the metrics selected for measuring forest structure, suggest that attributes that characterize forest structural conditions may have a more meaningful relationship with spectral diversity than measures of species diversity alone, and that future studies in coastal temperate forests that seek to link spectral diversity with biodiversity should include measures of forest structural diversity, in addition to measures of species diversity.