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    Author(s): Ronald E. McRoberts
    Date: 2009
    Source: Remote Sensing of Environment. 113: 532-545.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Northern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (1 MB)


    Nearest neighbors techniques have been shown to be useful for predicting multiple forest attributes from forest inventory and Landsat satellite image data. However, in regions lacking good digital land cover information, nearest neighbors selected to predict continuous variables such as tree volume must be selected without regard to relevant categorical variables such as forest/non-forest. The result is that non-zero volume predictions may be obtained for pixels predicted to be non-forest, and volume predictions for pixels predicted to be forest may be erroneously small due to non-forest nearest neighbors. For users who wish to circumvent this discrepancy, a two-step algorithm is proposed in which the class of a relevant categorical variable such as land cover is predicted in the first step, and continuous variables such as volume are predicted in the second step subject to the constraint that all nearest neighbors must come from the predicted class of the categorical variable. Nearest neighbors, multinomial logistic regression, and discriminant analysis techniques were investigated for use in the first step. The results were generally similar for the three techniques, although the multinomial logistic regression technique was slightly superior. The k-Nearest Neighbors technique was used in the second step because many continuous forest inventory variables do not satisfy the distributional assumptions necessary for parametric multivariate techniques. The results for six 15-kmx15-km areas of interest in northern Minnesota, USA, indicate that areal estimates of tree volume, basal area, and density obtained from pixel predictions are comparable to plot-based estimates and estimates by conifer and deciduous classes are also comparable to plot-based estimates. When a mixed conifer/deciduous class was included, predictions for the mixed and deciduous class were confused.

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    McRoberts, Ronald E. 2009. A two-step nearest neighbors algorithm using satellite imagery for predicting forest structure within species composition classes. Remote Sensing of Environment. 113: 532-545.


    mulitnomial logistic regression, discriminant analysis, Landsat, model-based inference

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