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Mapping sub-Antarctic cushion plants using random forests to combine very high resolution satellite imagery and terrain modelling

Citation

Bricher, PK and Lucieer, A and Shaw, J and Terauds, A and Bergstrom, DM, Mapping sub-Antarctic cushion plants using random forests to combine very high resolution satellite imagery and terrain modelling, PLoS ONE, 8, (8) Article e72093. ISSN 1932-6203 (2013) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 Bricher et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072093

Abstract

Monitoring changes in the distribution and density of plant species often requires accurate and high-resolution baseline maps of those species. Detecting such change at the landscape scale is often problematic, particularly in remote areas. We examine a new technique to improve accuracy and objectivity in mapping vegetation, combining species distribution modelling and satellite image classification on a remote sub-Antarctic island. In this study, we combine spectral data from very high resolution WorldView-2 satellite imagery and terrain variables from a high resolution digital elevation model to improve mapping accuracy, in both pixel- and object-based classifications. Random forest classification was used to explore the effectiveness of these approaches on mapping the distribution of the critically endangered cushion plant Azorella macquariensis Orchard (Apiaceae) on sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island. Both pixel- and object-based classifications of the distribution of Azorella achieved very high overall validation accuracies (91.6-96.3%, κ = 0.849-0.924). Both two-class and three-class classifications were able to accurately and consistently identify the areas where Azorella was absent, indicating that these maps provide a suitable baseline for monitoring expected change in the distribution of the cushion plants. Detecting such change is critical given the threats this species is currently facing under altering environmental conditions. The method presented here has applications to monitoring a range of species, particularly in remote and isolated environments.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Engineering
Research Group:Geomatic Engineering
Research Field:Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
Objective Division:Environment
Objective Group:Ecosystem Assessment and Management
Objective Field:Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Environments
Author:Bricher, PK (Dr Pip Bricher)
Author:Lucieer, A (Associate Professor Arko Lucieer)
ID Code:88479
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:Geography and Environmental Studies
Deposited On:2014-02-04
Last Modified:2017-10-24
Downloads:200 View Download Statistics

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