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Title: Sampling strategies for estimating forest cover from remote sensing-based two-stage inventories
Authors: Corona, Piermaria
Fattorini, Lorenzo
Pagliarella, Maria Chiara
Keywords: Spatially balanced sampling;Auxiliary information;Horvitz-Thompson estimator;Difference estimator;Variance estimator;Forest monitoring
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Springer
Source: Corona, P. et al. 2015. Sampling strategies for estimating forest cover from remote sensing-based two-stage inventories. "Forest Ecosystems" 2: 18
Background: Remote sensing-based inventories are essential in estimating forest cover in tropical and subtropical countries, where ground inventories cannot be performed periodically at a large scale owing to high costs and forest inaccessibility (e.g. REDD projects) and are mandatory for constructing historical records that can be used as forest
cover baselines. Given the conditions of such inventories, the survey area is partitioned into a grid of imagery segments of pre-fixed size where the proportion of forest cover can be measured within segments using a combination of unsupervised (automated or semi-automated) classification of satellite imagery and manual (i.e. visual on-screen)
enhancements. Because visual on-screen operations are time expensive procedures, manual classification can be performed only for a sample of imagery segments selected at a first stage, while forest cover within each selected segment is estimated at a second stage from a sample of pixels selected within the segment. Because forest
cover data arising from unsupervised satellite imagery classification may be freely available (e.g. Landsat imagery)
over the entire survey area (wall-to-wall data) and are likely to be good proxies of manually classified cover data
(sample data), they can be adopted as suitable auxiliary information.
Methods: The question is how to choose the sample areas where manual classification is carried out. We have investigated the efficiency of one-per-stratum stratified sampling for selecting segments and pixels, where to carry out manual classification and to determine the efficiency of the difference estimator for exploiting auxiliary
information at the estimation level. The performance of this strategy is compared with simple random sampling without replacement.
Results: Our results were obtained theoretically from three artificial populations constructed from the Landsat
classification (forest/non forest) available at pixel level for a study area located in central Italy, assuming three levels of error rates of the unsupervised classification of satellite imagery. The exploitation of map data as auxiliary information in the difference estimator proves to be highly effective with respect to the Horvitz-Thompson estimator,in which no auxiliary information is exploited. The use of one-per-stratum stratified sampling provides relevant
improvement with respect to the use of simple random sampling without replacement.
Conclusions: The use of one-per-stratum stratified sampling with many imagery segments selected at the first
stage and few pixels within at the second stage - jointly with a difference estimator - proves to be a suitable strategy
to estimate forest cover by remote sensing-based inventories.
ISSN: 2197-5620
DOI: 10.1186/s40663-015-0042-7
Appears in Collections:DiSAFRi - Archivio della produzione scientifica

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