Classification of Tree Species in Overstorey Canopy of Subtropical Forest Using QuickBird Images. Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper proposes a supervised classification scheme to identify 40 tree species (2 coniferous, 38 broadleaf) belonging to 22 families and 36 genera in high spatial resolution QuickBird multispectral images (HMS). Overall kappa coefficient (OKC) and species conditional kappa coefficients (SCKC) were used to evaluate classification performance in training samples and estimate accuracy and uncertainty in test samples. Baseline classification performance using HMS images and vegetation index (VI) images were evaluated with an OKC value of 0.58 and 0.48 respectively, but performance improved significantly (up to 0.99) when used in combination with an HMS spectral-spatial texture image (SpecTex). One of the 40 species had very high conditional kappa coefficient performance (SCKC 0.95) using 4-band HMS and 5-band VIs images, but, only five species had lower performance (0.68 SCKC 0.94) using the SpecTex images. When SpecTex images were combined with a Visible Atmospherically Resistant Index (VARI), there was a significant improvement in performance in the training samples. The same level of improvement could not be replicated in the test samples indicating that a high degree of uncertainty exists in species classification accuracy which may be due to individual tree crown density, leaf greenness (inter-canopy gaps), and noise in the background environment (intra-canopy gaps). These factors increase uncertainty in the spectral texture features and therefore represent potential problems when using pixel-based classification techniques for multi-species classification.

published proceedings

  • PLoS One

author list (cited authors)

  • Lin, C., Popescu, S. C., Thomson, G., Tsogt, K., & Chang, C.

citation count

  • 30

complete list of authors

  • Lin, Chinsu||Popescu, Sorin C||Thomson, Gavin||Tsogt, Khongor||Chang, Chein-I

editor list (cited editors)

  • Vadrevu, K. P.

publication date

  • May 2015