ON THE USE OF SHORTWAVE INFRARED FOR TREE SPECIES DISCRIMINATION IN TROPICAL SEMIDECIDUOUS FOREST
Abstract. Tree species mapping in tropical forests provides valuable insights for forest managers. Keystone species can be located for collection of seeds for forest restoration, reducing fieldwork costs. However, mapping of tree species in tropical forests using remote sensing data is a challenge due to high floristic and spectral diversity. Little is known about the use of different spectral regions as most of studies performed so far used visible/near-infrared (390-1000 nm) features. In this paper we show the contribution of shortwave infrared (SWIR, 1045-2395 nm) for tree species discrimination in a tropical semideciduous forest. Using high-resolution hyperspectral data we also simulated WorldView-3 (WV-3) multispectral bands for classification purposes. Three machine learning methods were tested to discriminate species at the pixel-level: Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA), Support Vector Machines with Linear (L-SVM) and Radial Basis Function (RBF-SVM) kernels, and Random Forest (RF). Experiments were performed using all and selected features from the VNIR individually and combined with SWIR. Feature selection was applied to evaluate the effects of dimensionality reduction and identify potential wavelengths that may optimize species discrimination. Using VNIR hyperspectral bands, RBF-SVM achieved the highest average accuracy (77.4%). Inclusion of the SWIR increased accuracy to 85% with LDA. The same pattern was also observed when WV-3 simulated channels were used to classify the species. The VNIR bands provided and accuracy of 64.2% for LDA, which was increased to 79.8 % using the new SWIR bands that are operationally available in this platform. Results show that incorporating SWIR bands increased significantly average accuracy for both the hyperspectral data and WorldView-3 simulated bands.