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PUBLICATION NOTICE: Forest Cover Index for Tree Cover Detection Using Landsat-7 Multispectral Imagery

US Army Engineer Research and Development Center
Published Sept. 13, 2019

The US Army Engineer Research and Development Center has published the report/note described and linked below. Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.

Report Number:



Forest Cover Index for Tree Cover Detection Using Landsat-7 Multispectral Imagery


Luisa I. Feliciano-Cruz, Sarah J. Becker, Kristofer D. Lasko, Craig S.T. Daughtry, and Andrew L. Russ


Forest cover monitoring using satellite imagery is important to U.S. military terrain analysis. Mobility models, cover and concealment, and precise surface feature delineation all rely on an accurate forest/non-forest cover layer. However, the challenge remains in distinguishing trees from other vegetative land covers when relying on single date imagery. A Forest Cover Index (FCI) algorithm was previously developed on Worldview-2 imagery and was designed to separate forest cover from non-forest covered areas. In this research, the FCI algorithm was applied to Landsat-7 imagery using the analogous red (636-673 nanometers (nm)) and near-infrared bands (851-878 nm) from a peak summer image on 16 August 2012. The results obtained with Landsat-7 imagery proved satisfactory with an overall accuracy (tree cover versus non-tree cover) of > 83 percent, according to testing with two different accuracy assessment tests. The application of the FCI to Landsat-7 imagery broadens the applicability of the FCI to freely available imagery.

26 pgs / 3.1 mb


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