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High-resolution mapping of forest canopy height using machine learning by coupling ICESat-2 LiDAR with Sentinel-1, Sentinel-2 and Landsat-8 data

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  • Wang Li
  • Zheng Niu, Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Rong Shang, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Yuchu Qin, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Li Wang, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Hanyue Chen, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University
Forest canopy height is an important indicator of forest carbon storage, productivity, and biodiversity. The present study showed the first attempt to develop a machine-learning workflow to map the spatial pattern of the forest canopy height in a mountainous region in the northeast China by coupling the recently available canopy height (Hcanopy) footprint product from ICESat-2 with the Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellite data. The ICESat-2 Hcanopy was initially validated by the high-resolution canopy height from airborne LiDAR data at different spatial scales. Performance comparisons were conducted between two machine-learning models – deep learning (DL) model and random forest (RF) model, and between the Sentinel and Landsat-8 satellites. Results showed that the ICESat-2 Hcanopy showed the highest correlation with the airborne LiDAR canopy height at a spatial scale of 250 m with a Pearson’s correlation coefficient (R) of 0.82 and a mean bias of -1.46 m, providing important evidence on the reliability of the ICESat-2 vegetation height product from the case in China’s forest. Both DL and RF models obtained satisfactory accuracy on the upscaling of ICESat-2 Hcanopy assisted by Sentinel satellite co-variables with an R-value between the observed and predicted Hcanopy equalling 0.78 and 0.68, respectively. Compared to Sentinel satellites, Landsat-8 showed relatively weaker performance in Hcanopy prediction, suggesting that the addition of the backscattering coefficients from Sentinel-1 and the red-edge related variables from Sentinel-2 could positively contribute to the prediction of forest canopy height. To our knowledge, few studies have demonstrated large-scale vegetation height mapping in a resolution ≤ 250 m based on the newly available satellites (ICESat-2, Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2) and DL regression model, particularly in the forest areas in China. Thus, the present work provided a timely and important supplementary to the applications of these new earth observation tools.
TidsskriftInternational Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
Antal sider14
StatusUdgivet - okt. 2020

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