INDIVIDUAL TREE CROWN DELINEATION FROM HIGH SPATIAL RESOLUTION IMAGERY USING U-NET
Keywords: Individual tree crown delineation, High spatial resolution imagery, Deep learning, U-net, Weighted, Segmentation
Abstract. The objective of this study was to explore the utilization of deep learning networks in individual tree crown (ITC) delineation, a very important step in individual tree analysis. Even though many traditional machine learning methods have been developed for ITC delineation, the accuracy remains low, especially for dense forests where branches, crowns, and clusters of trees usually have similar characteristics and boundaries of tree crowns are not distinct. Advance in deep learning provides a good opportunity to improve ITC delineation. In this study, U-net, Residual U-net, and attention U-net were implemented for the first time in ITC delineation. In order to ensure that the boundaries of tree crowns were classified correctly, a weight map was generated to give more weights to boundary pixels between two close crowns in the loss function. These three networks were trained and tested using optical imagery obtained over a study site within the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forest region, Ontario Canada. Based on two test sites dominated by open mixed forest and closed deciduous forests, respectively, the overall accuracies were 0.94 and 0.90, respectively for U-net, 0.89 and 0.62 for Residual U-net, and 0.96 and 0.83 for attention U-net.