Somers, B, Verbesselt, J, Ampe, EM, Sims, N, Verstraeten, WW, Coppin, P (2010). Spectral mixture analysis to monitor defoliation in mixed-aged Eucalyptus globulus Labill plantations in southern Australia using Landsat 5-TM and EO-1 Hyperion data. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF APPLIED EARTH OBSERVATION AND GEOINFORMATION, 12(4), 270-277.
Defoliation is a key parameter of forest health and is associated with reduced productivity and tree mortality. Assessing the health of forests requires regular observations over large areas. Satellite remote sensing provides a cost-effective alternative to traditional ground-based assessment of forest health, but assessing defoliation can be difficult due to mixed pixels where vegetation cover is low or fragmented. In this study we apply a novel spectral unmixing technique, referred to as weighted Multiple Endmember Spectral Mixture Analysis (wMESMA), to Landsat 5-TM and EO-1 Hyperion data acquired over a Eucalyptus globulus (Labill.) plantation in southern Australia. This technique combines an iterative mixture analysis cycle allowing endmembers to vary on a per pixel basis (MESMA) and a weighting algorithm that prioritizes wavebands based on their robustness against endmember variability. Spectral mixture analysis provides an estimate of the physically interpretable canopy cover, which is not necessarily correlated with defoliation in mixed-aged plantations due to natural variation in canopy cover as stands age. There is considerable variability in the degree of defoliation as well as in stand age among sites and in this study we found that results were significantly improved by the inclusion of an age correction algorithm for both the multi-spectral (R-2 (no age correction) = 0.55 vs R-2 (age correction) = 0.73 for Landsat) and hyperspectral (R-2 (no age correction) = 0.12 vs R-2 (age correction) = 0.50 for Hyperion) image data. The improved accuracy obtained from Landsat compared to the Hyperion data illustrates the potential of applying SMA techniques for analysis of multi-spectral datasets such as MODIS and SPOT-VEGETATION. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.