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

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.


Cochrane MA 2000 Using vegetation reflectance variability for species level classification of hyperspectral data. International Journal of Remote Sensing 21 2075 2087 DOI

Coops NC Catling PC 1997 Predicting the complexity of habitat in forests from airborne videography for wildlife management. International Journal of Remote Sensing 21 2677 2686

Coops NC Stone C Culvenor DS Chisholm LA Merton R 2003 Chlorophyll content in eucalypt vegetation at the leaf and canopy scales as derived from high resolution spectral data. Tree Physiology 23 23 31

Coops NC Stone C Culvenor DS Chisholm L 2004 Assessment of crown condition in eucalypt vegetation by remotely sensed optical indices. Journal of Environmental Quality 33 956 564

Curran PJ 1989 Remote sensing of foliar chemistry. Remote Sensing of Environment 30 271 278

Datt B 1999 a Remote sensing of foliar biochemistry and biophysical properties in Eucalyptus species: application of high spectral resolution reflectance measurements. PhD Thesis School of Geography, The University of New South Wales Sydney

Datt B 1999 b A new reflectance index for remote sensing of chlorophyll content in higher plants: tests using Eucalyptus leaves. Journal of Plant Physiology 154 30 36

Datt B 1999 c Visible/near infrared reflectance and chlorophyll content in Eucalyptus leaves. International Journal of Remote Sensing 20 2741 2759 DOI

Dennison PE Roberts DA 2003 The effects of vegetation phenology on endmember selection and species mapping in southern California chaparral. Remote Sensing of Environment 87 295 309 DOI

Ebbers MJH Wallis IR Dury S Floyd R Foley WJ 2002 Spectrometric prediction of secondary metabolites and nitrogen in fresh Eucalyptus foliage: towards remote sensing of the nutritional quality of foliage for leaf-eating marsupials. Australian Journal of Ecology 50 761 768

Foody GM 2002 Status of land cover classification accuracy. Remote Sensing of Environment 80 185 201 DOI

Fourty T Baret F Jacquemoud S Schmuck G Verdebout J 1996 Leaf optical properties with explicit description of its biochemical composition: direct and inverse problems. Remote Sensing of Environment 56 104 117 DOI

Franklin SE Hall RJ Moskal LM Maudie AJ Lavigne MB 2000 Incorporating texture into classification of forest species composition from airborne multispectral images. International Journal of Remote Sensing 21 61 79 DOI

Gong P Ruiliang P Bin Y 1997 Conifer species recognition: an exploratory analysis of in situ hyperspectral data. Remote Sensing of Environment 62 189 200 DOI

Gong P Pu R Yu B 2001 Conifer species recognition: effects on data transformation. International Journal of Remote Sensing 22 3471 3481 DOI

Gougeon FA 1995 Comparison of possible multi-spectral classification schemes for tree crowns individually delineated on high spatial resolution MEIS images. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing 21 1 9

Greaves BL Spencer RD 1993 An evaluation of spectroradiometry and multispectral scanning for differentiating forest communities. Australian Forestry 56 68 79

Henry MC Hope AS 1998 Monitoring post-burn recovery of chaparral vegetation in southern California using multi-temporal satellite data. International Journal of Remote Sensing 19 3097 3107 DOI

Kumar L 1998 Modelling forest resources using geographical information systems and hyperspectral remote sensing. PhD Thesis School of Geography, The University of New South Wales Sydney

Kumar L Skidmore AK 1998 Use of derivative spectroscopy to identify regions of difference between some Australian eucalypt species. In ‘Proceedings of the 9th Australasian remote sensing and photogrammetry conference’ 20–24 July 1998, Sydney. [CD-ROM]

Kushla JD Ripple WJ 1998 Assessing wildfire effects with Landsat thematic mapper data. International Journal of Remote Sensing 19 2493 2507 DOI

Leckie DG Jay C Gougeon FA Sturrock RN Paradine D 2004 Detection and assessment of trees with Phellinus weirii (laminated root rot) using high resolution multi-spectral imagery. International Journal of Remote Sensing 25 793 818 DOI

Li X Strahler AH 1992 Geometric-optical bi-directional reflectance modelling of mutual shadowing effects of crowns in a forest. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 30 276 292 DOI

Martin ME Newman SD Aber JD Congalton RG 1998 Determining forest species composition using high spectral resolution remote sensing data. Remote Sensing of Environment 65 249 254 DOI

Nagendra H 2001 Review article: using remote sensing to assess biodiversity. International Journal of Remote Sensing 22 2377 2400

Olthof I King DJ 2000 Development of a forest health index using multispectral airborne digital camera imagery. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing 26 166 176

O’Neil AL Hardy S Fraser SJ McCloy KR 1990 Leaf morphology and the spectral reflectance of some Australian plant species. In ‘Proceedings of the 5th Australasian remote sensing conference’, 8–12 October 1990, Perth. [CD-ROM]

O’Neil RV Hunsaker CT Timmins SP Jackson BL Jones KB Riitters KH Wickham JD 1996 Scale problems in reporting landscape pattern at the regional scale. Landscape Ecology 11 169 180

Peterson DL Aber JD Matson PA Card DH Swanberg N Wessman C Spanner M 1988 Remote sensing of forest canopy and leaf biochemical contents. Remote Sensing of Environment 24 85 108

Riano D Chuvieco E Ustin S Zomer R Dennison P Roberts D Salas J 2002 Assessment of vegetation regeneration after fire through multi-temporal analysis of AVIRIS images in the Santa Monica Mountains. Remote Sensing of Environment 79 60 71 DOI

Sampson PH Zarco-Tejada PJ Mohammed GH Miller JR Noland TL 2003 Hyperspectral remote sensing of forest condition: estimating chlorophyll content in tolerant hardwoods. Forest Science 49 381 391

Scarth P Phinn SR Held A Mitchell D 1999 Mapping koala habitat and eucalypt trees: integration and scaling of field and airborne hyperspectral data. In ‘Proceedings of the 10th Australasian remote sensing and photogrammetry conference’, 21–25 August 1999, Adelaide. [CD-ROM]

StatSoft 2002 ‘Statistica for Windows.’ StatSoft Tulsa, OK

State Forest of New South Wales 1995 ‘Morisset forestry district: environmental impact statement.’ State Forests of NSW Sydney

Stone C 1999 Assessment and monitoring of decline and dieback of forest eucalypts in relation to ecological sustainable forest management: a review with a case study. Australian Forestry 62 55 63

Stone C Coops N Culver D 2000 Conceptual development of a eucalypt canopy condition index using high resolution spatial and spectral remote sensing imagery. Journal of Sustainable Forestry 11 23 45

Stone C Chisholm L Coops N 2001 Spectral reflectance characteristics of eucalypt foliage damaged by insects. Australian Journal of Botany 49 687 698 DOI

Turner W Spector S Gardiner N Fladeland M Sterling E Steininger M 2003 Remote sensing for biodiversity science and conservation. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 18 306 314

Underwood E Ustin S DiPietro D 2003 Mapping nonnative plants using hyperspectral imagery. Remote Sensing of Environment 86 150 161 DOI

Wessman CA Aber JD Peterson DL 1989 An evaluation of imaging spectrometry for estimating forest canopy chemistry. International Journal of Remote Sensing 10 1293 1316

Export Citation Cited By (24)