Potential improvement for forest cover and forest degradation mapping with the forthcoming Sentinel-2 program
- 1European Commission Joint Research Centre, Via E. Fermi 2749, 21027 Ispra (VA), Italy
- 2CESBIO / CNES, Toulouse, France
- 3Unidad de Investigación de Teledetección, Dr. Moliner 50, 46100 Valencia, Spain
- 4CIFOR Center for International Forestry Research, Bogor Barat 16115, Indonesia
Keywords: Forest cover, Forest degradation, SPOT, Sentinel-2, REDD+, Tropical Dry forest
Abstract. The forthcoming European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 mission promises to provide high (10 m) resolution optical data at higher temporal frequencies (5 day revisit with two operational satellites) than previously available. CNES, the French national space agency, launched a program in 2013, ‘SPOT4 take 5’, to simulate such a dataflow using the SPOT HRV sensor, which has similar spectral characteristics to the Sentinel sensor, but lower (20m) spatial resolution. Such data flow enables the analysis of the satellite images using temporal analysis, an approach previously restricted to lower spatial resolution sensors. We acquired 23 such images over Tanzania for the period from February to June 2013. The data were analysed with aim of discriminating between different forest cover percentages for landscape units of 0.5 ha over a site characterised by deciduous intact and degraded forests. The SPOT data were processed by one extracting temporal vegetation indices. We assessed the impact of the high acquisition rate with respect to the current rate of one image every 16 days. Validation data, giving the percentage of forest canopy cover in each land unit were provided by very high resolution satellite data. Results show that using the full temporal series it is possible to discriminate between forest units with differences of more than 40% tree cover or more. Classification errors fell exclusively into the adjacent forest canopy cover class of 20% or less. The analyses show that forestation mapping and degradation monitoring will be substantially improved with the Sentinel-2 program.