Current issue: 55(3)
Under compilation: 55(4)
Since the 1990’s, forest resource maps and small area estimates have been produced by combining national forest inventory (NFI) field plot data, optical satellite images and numerical map data using a non-parametric k-nearest neighbour method. In Finland, thematic maps of forest variables have been produced by the means of multi-source NFI (MS-NFI) for eight to ten times depending on the geographical area, but the resulting time series have not been systematically utilized. The objective of this study was to explore the possibilities of the time series for monitoring the key ecosystem condition indicators for forests. To this end, a contextual Mann-Kendall (CMK) test was applied to detect trends in time-series of two decades of thematic maps. The usefulness of the observed trends may depend both on the scale of the phenomena themselves and the uncertainties involved in the maps. Thus, several spatial scales were tested: the MS-NFI maps at 16 × 16 m2 pixel size and units of 240 × 240 m2, 1200 × 1200 m2 and 12 000 × 12 000 m2 aggregated from the MS-NFI map data. The CMK test detected areas of significant increasing trends of mean volume on both study sites and at various unit sizes except for the original thematic map pixel size. For other variables such as the mean volume of tree species groups, the proportion of broadleaved tree species and the stand age, significant trends were mostly found only for the largest unit size, 12 000 × 12 000 m2. The multiple testing corrections decreased the amount of significant p-values from the CMK test strongly. The study showed that significant trends can be detected enabling indicators of ecosystem services to be monitored from a time-series of satellite image-based thematic forest maps.
Two operative forest site class estimation methods utilizing satellite images have been developed for forest income taxation purposes. For this, two pixelwise classification methods and two post-processing methods for estimating forest site fertility are compared using different input data. The pixelwise methods are discriminant analysis, based on generalized squared distances, and logistic regression analysis. The results of pixelwise classifications are improved either with mode filtering within forest stands or assuming a Markov random field type dependence between pixels. The stand delineation is obtained by using ordinary segmentation techniques. Optionally, known stand boundaries given by the interpreter can be applied. The spectral values of images are corrected using a digital elevation model of the terrain. Some textural features are preliminary tested in classification. All methods are justified by using independent test data.
A test of the practical methods was carried out and a cost-benefit analysis computed. The estimated cost saving in site quality classification varies from 14% to 35% depending on the distribution of the site classes of the area. This means a saving of about 2.0–4.5 million FMK per year in site fertility classification for income taxation purposes. The cost savings would rise even to 60% if that version of the method were chosen where field checking is totally omitted. The classification accuracy at the forest holding level would still be similar to that of traditional method.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.