Zhang, CC; Huang, C; Li, H; Liu, QS; Li, J; Bridhikitti, A; Liu, GH (2020). Effect of Textural Features in Remote Sensed Data on Rubber Plantation Extraction at Different Levels of Spatial Resolution. FORESTS, 11(4), 399.

The expansion of rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) plantations has been a critical driver for the rapid transformation of tropical forests, especially in Thailand. Rubber plantation mapping provides basic information for surveying resources, updating forest subplot information, logging, and managing the forest. However, due to the diversity of stand structure, complexity of the forest growth environment, and the similarity of spectral characteristics between rubber trees and natural forests, it is difficult to discriminate rubber plantation from natural forest using only spectral information. This study evaluated the validity of textural features for rubber plantation recognition at different spatial resolutions using GaoFen-1 (GF-1), Sentinel-2, and Landsat 8 optical data. C-band Sentinel-1 10 m imagery was first used to map forests (including both rubber plantations and natural forests) and non-forests, then the pixels identified as forests in the Sentinel-1 imagery were compared with GF-1, Sentinel-2, and Landsat 8 images to separate rubber plantations and natural forest using two different approaches: a method based on spectral information characteristics only and a method combining spectral and textural features. In addition, we extracted textural features of different window sizes (3 x 3 to 31 x 31) and analyzed the influence of window size on the separability of rubber plantations and natural forests. Our major findings include: (1) the suitable texture extraction window sizes of GF-1, Sentinel-2, and Landsat 8 are 31 x 31, 11 x 11 to 15 x 15, and 3 x 3 to 7 x 7, respectively; (2) correlation (COR) is a robust textural feature in remote sensing images with different resolutions; and (3) compared with classification by spectral information only, the producer's accuracy of rubber plantations based on GF-1, Sentinel-2, and Landsat 8 was improved by 8.04%, 9.44%, and 8.74%, respectively, and the user's accuracy was increased by 4.63%, 4.54%, and 6.75%, respectively, when the textural features were introduced. These results demonstrate that the method combining textural features has great potential in delineating rubber plantations.