Estimating Forest Canopy Height With Multi-Spectral and Multi-Temporal Imagery Using Deep Learning
Oehmcke, Stefan; Nyegaard-Signori, Thomas; Grogan, Kenneth; Gieseke, Fabian
Canopy height is a vital indicator to asses carbon uptake and productivity of forests. However, precise measurements, such as from airborne or spaceborne 3D laser scanning (LiDAR), are expensive and usually cover only small areas. In this work, we propose a novel deep learning model that can generate detailed maps of tree canopy heights. In contrast to previous approaches that use a single image as input, we process multi-temporal data via a an adaptation of the popular U-Net architecture that is based on the EfficientNet and 3D convolution operators. To that end, our model receives multi-spectral Landsat satellite imagery as input and can predict continuous height maps. As labeled data, we resort to spatially sparse LiDAR data from ICESat-2. Thus, with such a model, one can produce dense canopy height maps given only multi-spectral Landsat data. Our experimental evaluation shows that our our model outperforms existing and improved single-temporal models. To test generalizability, we created a non-overlapping dataset to evaluate our approach and further tested the model performance on out-of-distribution data. The results show that our model can successfully learn drastic changes in distribution.
deep learning; machine learning; biomass estimation; canopy height estimation