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Broich, M; Hansen, MC; Potapov, P; Adusei, B; Lindquist, E; Stehman, SV (2011). Time-series analysis of multi-resolution optical imagery for quantifying forest cover loss in Sumatra and Kalimantan, Indonesia. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF APPLIED EARTH OBSERVATION AND GEOINFORMATION, 13(2), 277-291.

Monitoring loss of humid tropical forests via remotely sensed imagery is critical for a number of environmental monitoring objectives, including carbon accounting, biodiversity, and climate modeling science applications. Landsat imagery, provided free of charge by the U.S. Geological Survey Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science (USGS/EROS), enables consistent and timely forest cover loss updates from regional to biome scales. The Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan are a center of significant forest cover change within the humid tropics with implications for carbon dynamics, biodiversity maintenance and local livelihoods. Sumatra and Kalimantan feature poor observational coverage compared to other centers of humid tropical forest change, such as Mato Grosso, Brazil, due to the lack of ongoing acquisitions from nearby ground stations and the persistence of cloud cover obscuring the land surface. At the same time, forest change in Indonesia is transient and does not always result in deforestation, as cleared forests are rapidly replaced by timber plantations and oil palm estates. Epochal composites, where single best observations are selected over a given time interval and used to quantify change, are one option for monitoring forest change in cloudy regions. However, the frequency of forest cover change in Indonesia confounds the ability of image composite pairs to quantify all change. Transient change occurring between composite periods is often missed and the length of time required for creating a cloud-free composite often obscures change occurring within the composite period itself. In this paper, we analyzed all Landsat 7 imagery with < 50% cloud cover and data and products from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to quantify forest cover loss for Sumatra and Kalimantan from 2000 to 2005. We demonstrated that time-series approaches examining all good land observations are more accurate in mapping forest cover change in Indonesia than change maps based on image composites. Unlike other time-series analyses employing observations with a consistent periodicity, our study area was characterized by highly unequal observation counts and frequencies due to persistent cloud cover, scan line corrector off (SLC-off) gaps, and the absence of a complete archive. Our method accounts for this variation by generating a generic variable space. We evaluated our results against an independent probability sample-based estimate of gross forest cover loss and expert mapped gross forest cover loss at 64 sample sites. The mapped gross forest cover loss for Sumatra and Kalimantan was 2.86% of the land area, or 2.86 Mha from 2000 to 2005, with the highest concentration having occurred in Riau and Kalimantan Tengah provinces. (c) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.



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