Estimation and vicarious validation of urban vegetation abundance by spectral mixture analysis

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Remote Sensing of Environment
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Feb 28
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Both moderate and high spatial resolution imagery can be used to quantify abundance and distribution of urban vegetation for urban landscape management and to provide inputs to physical process models. Estimation of vegetation fraction from Landsat ETM+ and Quickbird allows for operational monitoring and reconnaissance at moderate resolution with calibration and vicarious validation at higher resolution. Establishing a linear correspondence between ETM-derived vegetation fraction and Quickbird-derived vegetation fraction facilitates the validation task by extending the spatial scale from 30 x 30 m to a more manageable 2.8 x 2.8 in. A comparative analysis indicates that urban reflectance can be accurately represented with a three component linear mixture model for both Landsat ETM+ and Quickbird imagery in the New York metro area. The strong linearity of the Substrate Vegetation Dark surface (SVD) mixture model provides consistent estimates of illuminated vegetation fraction that can be used to constrain physical process models that require biophysical inputs related to vegetation abundance. When Quickbird-derived 2.8 m estimates of vegetation fraction are integrated to 30 in scales and coregistered to Landsat-derived 30 in estimates, median estimates agree with the integrated fractions to within 5% for fractions > 0.2. The resulting Quickbird-ETM+ scatter distribution cannot be explained with estimate error alone but is consistent with a 3% to 6% estimation error combined with a 17 m subpixel registration ambiguity. The 3D endmember fraction space obtained from ETM+ imagery forms a ternary distribution of reflectance properties corresponding to distinct biophysical surface types. The SVD model is a reflectance analog to Ridd's V-I-S land cover model but acknowledges the fact that permeable and impermeable surfaces cannot generally be distinguished on the basis of broadband reflectance alone. We therefore propose that vegetation fraction be used as a proxy for permeable surface distribution to avoid the common erroneous assumption that all nonvegetated surfaces along the gray axis are completely impermeable. Comparison of mean vegetation fractions to street tree counts in New York City shows a consistent relationship between minimum fraction and tree count. However, moderate and high resolution areal estimates of vegetation fraction provide complementary information because they image all illuminated vegetation, including that not counted by the in situ street tree inventory. (c) 2005 Published by Elsevier Inc.


018GZTimes Cited:2Cited References Count:41

DOI 10.1016/j.rse.2005.10.023