Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems

Classifying Eucalyptus forests with high spatial and spectral resolution imagery: an investigation of individual species and vegetation communities

Nicholas Goodwin A C , Russell Turner B and Ray Merton A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

B State Forests of New South Wales, Pennant Hills, NSW 2120, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Journal of Botany 53(4) 337-345
Submitted: 17 June 2004  Accepted: 4 April 2005   Published: 24 June 2005


Mapping the spatial distribution of individual species is an important ecological and forestry issue that requires continued research to coincide with advances in remote-sensing technologies. In this study, we investigated the application of high spatial resolution (80 cm) Compact Airborne Spectrographic Imager 2 (CASI-2) data for mapping both spectrally complex species and species groups (subgenus grouping) in an Australian eucalypt forest. The relationships between spectral reflectance curves of individual tree species and identified statistical differences among species were analysed with ANOVA. Supervised maximum likelihood classifications were then performed to assess tree species separability in CASI-2 imagery. Results indicated that turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera Smith), mesic vegetation (primarily rainforest species), and an amalgamated group of eucalypts could be readily distinguished. The discrimination of S. glomulifera was particularly robust, with consistently high classification accuracies. Eucalypt classification as a broader species group, rather than individual species, greatly improved classification performance. However, separating sunlit and shaded aspects of tree crowns did not increase classification accuracy.


We thank Murray Webster (State Forest of New South Wales) for assistance in tree identifications as well as Will Cutty and Tom Bourne for field assistance. The critical review by Nicholas Coops (CSIRO) and Christine Stone (State Forest of New South Wales) is most appreciated. The imagery used in this study was supplied by State Forest of New South Wales and we thank Christine Stone for approving the data request.


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