Evaluation and Automated Mapping the Modern Forest Coverage of Small Flat-Bottom Valleys in the Belgorod Region Using Satellite Data

Author(s):  E.A. Terekhin, candidate of Sciences, Belgorod National Research University , Belgorod, Russia, terekhin@bsu.edu.ru

Issue:  Volume 43, № 2

Rubric:  Earth sciences

Annotation:  The study of modern forest coverage of ravine-balks systems (small flat-bottom valleys) is one of the urgent problems in assessing the regional features of vegetation in the south of the Central Russian Upland. The article presents the results of the reflective properties comparison of forest and unforested territories of ravine-balks systems in region using Sentinel-2 remote sensing data. Using data from 754 plots, it was established that the average area of forest-covered areas was 3.8 hectares, not covered by forest – 54.4 hectares. Significant differences in the SWIR reflectances of forested and unforested areas, which can be used for their recognition, are established. A method is proposed for the automated detection of forest-covered areas of ravine-balks systems based on the results of Sentinel-2 image processing. The method uses the results of SWIR reflection coefficients analysis or the fraction green vegetation calculated values using the statistical method of the decision tree. The accuracy of the mapping of forest-covered areas was 85%. The proposed approach can be used to analyze the forest cover of landscapes typical of the Central Russian Upland.

Keywords:  forest, small flat-bottom valleys, remote sensing data, Central Russian Upland, Sentinel.

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