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Title: Assessment of MODIS NDVI time series data products for detecting forest defoliation by gypsy moth outbreaks

Author: Spruce, Joseph P.; Sader, Steven; Ryan, Robert E.; Smoot, James; Kuper, Philip; et., al.;

Date: 2011

Source: Remote Sensing of Environment 115:427–437

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: This paper discusses an assessment of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) time-series data products for detecting forest defoliation from European gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar). This paper describes an effort to aid the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service in developing and assessing MODIS-based gypsy moth defoliation detection products and methods that could be applied in near real time without intensive field survey data collection as a precursor. In our study, MODIS data for 2000–2006 were processed for the mid-Appalachian highland region of the United States. Gypsy moth defoliation maps showing defoliated forests versus non-defoliated areas were produced from temporally filtered and composited MOD02 and MOD13 data using unsupervised classification and image thresholding of maximum value normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) datasets computed for the defoliation period (June 10–July 27) of 2001 and of the entire time series. These products were validated by comparing stratified random sample locations to relevant Landsat and Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) reference data sets. Composites of 250mdaily MOD02 outperformed 16-day MOD13 data in terms of classifying forest defoliation, showing a lower omission error rate (0.09 versus 0.56), a similar Kappa (0.67 versus 0.79), a comparable commission error rate (0.22 versus 0.14), and higher overall classification agreement (88 versus 79%). Results suggest that temporally processed MODIS time-series data can detect with good agreement to available reference data the extent and location of historical regional gypsy moth defoliation patches of 0.25 km2 or more for 250-meter products. The temporal processing techniques used in this study enabled effective broad regional, “wall to wall” gypsy moth defoliation detection products for a 6.2 million ha region that were not produced previously with either MODIS or other satellite data. This study provides new, previously unavailable information on the relative agreement of temporally processed, gypsy moth defoliation detection products from MODIS NDVI time series data with respect to higher spatial resolution Landsat and ASTER data. These results also provided needed timely information on the potential of MODIS data for contributing near real time defoliation products to a USDA Forest Service Forest Threat Early Warning System.

Keywords: MODIS NDVI time series data, Gypsy moth, Regional forest defoliation detection products, Defoliation classification accuracy, National forest threat early warning system, Temporal data processing

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Spruce, Joseph P.; Sader, Steven; Ryan, Robert E.; Smoot, James; Kuper, Philip; et. al. 2011. Assessment of MODIS NDVI time series data products for detecting forest defoliation by gypsy moth outbreaks. Remote Sensing of Environment 115:427–437.


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