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Tag: Forest Cover Index (FCI)
  • A Multi-biome Study of Tree Cover Detection Using the Forest Cover Index

    Abstract: Tree cover maps derived from satellite and aerial imagery directly support civil and military operations. However, distinguishing tree cover from other vegetative land covers is an analytical challenge. While the commonly used Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) can identify vegetative cover, it does not consistently distinguish between tree and low-stature vegetation. The Forest Cover Index (FCI) algorithm was developed to take the multiplicative product of the red and near infrared bands and apply a threshold to separate tree cover from non-tree cover in multispectral imagery (MSI). Previous testing focused on one study site using 2-m resolution commercial MSI from WorldView-2 and 30-m resolution imagery from Landsat-7. New testing in this work used 3-m imagery from PlanetScope and 10-m imagery from Sentinel-2 in imagery in sites across 12 biomes in South and Central America and North Korea. Overall accuracy ranged between 23% and 97% for Sentinel-2 imagery and between 51% and 98% for PlanetScope imagery. Future research will focus on automating the identification of the threshold that separates tree from other land covers, exploring use of the output for machine learning applications, and incorporating ancillary data such as digital surface models and existing tree cover maps.