Identification of Canopy Species in Tropical Forests Using Hyperspectral Data

Authored by: Matthew L. Clark

Biophysical and Biochemical Characterization and Plant Species Studies

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138364714
eBook ISBN: 9780429431180
Adobe ISBN:


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Tropical forests are globally important owing to their extremely high species diversity and their major role in biogeochemical cycles. A new generation of hyperspectral, hyperspatial, and hypertemporal sensors is making rapid and innovative advances in the understanding of tropical forest composition, structure, and function over broad spatial and temporal scales. These advances include: canopy chemistry by hyperspectral sensors; analysis of individual tree crowns canopy components, such as lianas by hyperspatial (<4 m) sensors; and, new insights into canopy chemistry, physiology, and phenology by hypertemporal sensors. This chapter reviews hyperspectral and hyperspatial remote sensing of tropical forest canopy species, with an emphasis on trees in wetter forests. The fundamental biochemical, structural (biophysical), phenological, and site-specific factors that control plant spectral properties across the visible to short-wave-infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum are reviewed, beginning with fine-scale canopy photosynthetic and nonphotosynthetic components, and then broadening the scope to the three-dimensional scale of crowns in the canopy. This chapter then describes techniques for mapping species of individual tree crowns with hyperspatial and hyperspectral data, including a review of automated crown delineation and classification schemes. Advances from other research are discussed in order to provide a holistic understanding of the factors influencing species discrimination using hyperspectral technology.

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