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Multi-Sensor Monitoring System for Forest Cover Change Assessment in Central Africa

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4 Author(s)
Baudouin Desclee ; Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Joint Research Centre—European Commission, Ispra, Italy ; Dario Simonetti ; Philippe Mayaux ; Frédéric Achard

Forest monitoring from earth observation is crucial over tropical regions to assess forest extent and provide up-to-date estimates of deforestation rates. Based on a systematic sample of 20x20 km size sites, a processing chain has been developed at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) for producing deforestation estimates between years 1990, 2000 and 2005. Whereas this monitoring exercise was based on Landsat imagery, limitations in Landsat availability over Central Africa for year 2010 required alternative imagery such as the Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC). The classification module of the existing JRC processing chain is based on tasseled caps analysis (TCap-based). We adapted this module to DMC imagery by selecting the most suitable object-features through their assessments using a sub-sample of existing land-cover maps of years 1990 and 2000. The processing chain is adapted for the production of land-cover change maps between years 2000 and 2010. The accuracy of the land-cover maps produced for year 2010 with the two methods (original TCap-based and adapted Multi-Sensor) is assessed through a reference dataset. Overall accuracies are similar for both approaches (93% and 95% respectively), but the Multi-Sensor approach shows a significant improvement when considering only changed objects (83% overall accuracy versus 56% for TCap-based). Our results show that, even by using DMC imagery with lower radiometric quality (compared to Landsat) an automated classification can provide land-cover maps with similar accuracy thanks to an appropriate object-features selection. Similar adaptations need to be developed for other satellite imagery such as SPOT and RapidEye.

Published in:

IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing  (Volume:6 ,  Issue: 1 )