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The optimal exploitation of the information provided by hyperspectral images requires the development of advanced image-processing tools. This paper proposes the construction and the processing of a new region-based hierarchical hyperspectral image representation relying on the binary partition tree (BPT). This hierarchical region-based representation can be interpreted as a set of hierarchical regions stored in a tree structure. Hence, the BPT succeeds in presenting: 1) the decomposition of the image in terms of coherent regions, and 2) the inclusion relations of the regions in the scene. Based on region-merging techniques, the BPT construction is investigated by studying the hyperspectral region models and the associated similarity metrics. Once the BPT is constructed, the fixed tree structure allows implementing efficient and advanced application-dependent techniques on it. The application-dependent processing of BPT is generally implemented through a specific pruning of the tree. In this paper, a pruning strategy is proposed and discussed in a classification context. Experimental results on various hyperspectral data sets demonstrate the interest and the good performances of the BPT representation.