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The objective of the FMERS study was to develop and implement methodologies for the provision of standardised geo-referenced information and statistical information to describe the forests and other wooded land in Europe using optical and microwave space borne remotely sensed data. The target variables were forest and other wooded land as well as proportions of major tree species groupings.

The study was divided into two stages:
I) the Pilot Study in which the methodologies were developed and compared at six representative study sites across Europe.
2) the Regional Mapping that demonstrated forest cover mapping in two large areas in Europe.

In the Pilot study the satellite data resolution varied from 10 meters of Spot panchromatic data to approximately 200 meters of the IRS-WiFS instrument. The microwave data were from ERS SAR. In total, 65 images were involved in the analyses. The classifications were tested using ground data, collected along parallel or perpendicular transects. The percentages of correctly classified pixels varied from 64 to 94. The Kappa coefficient values for classification performance were sometimes low partly due to poor representation of non-forested surface in the ground data. Discrimination of forest from non-forest succeeded better than estimation of tree species categories.

In the Regional Mapping stage, forest cover mapping was demonstrated at two large regions in Europe. Seventeen IRS-WiFS images from 1997 were used to compile two reflectance image mosaics. An unsupervised classification of the mosaics was performed using a geographic stratification. The clusters from the unsupervised classification were labelled to target classes using their spectral reflectance values and other available information. The best results were achieved in forest Inon-forest discrimination, and the most difficult category was the mixed forests. Clouds and particularly thin hazes made the interpretation more difficult.

Additional information

Authors: HAME ET AL, VTT Automation, (FI);JEANJEAN ET AL, Scot Conseil, (FR);SPENCE ET AL, Swedish Space Corporation;CARFAGNA E, University of Bologna;KOHL ET AL, European Forest Institute;LE TOAN T, CESBio, (FR);QUEGAN S, University of Sheffield, (UK);ESTREGUIL ET AL, JRC, Space Applications Institute
Bibliographic Reference: An oral report given at: IUFRO Conference on Remote Sensing and Forest Monitoring. Organised by IUFRO. Held in: Rogow, (PL) 1-3 June, 2000
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