Mapping Tropical Forest Cover and Deforestation with Planet NICFI Satellite Images and Deep Learning in Mato Grosso State (Brazil) from 2015 to 2021

Abstract

Monitoring changes in tree cover for assessment of deforestation is a premise for policies to reduce carbon emission in the tropics. Here, a U-net deep learning model was used to map monthly tropical tree cover in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso between 2015 and 2021 using 5 m spatial resolution Planet NICFI satellite images. The accuracy of the tree cover model was extremely high, with an F1-score >0.98, further confirmed by an independent LiDAR validation showing that 95% of tree cover pixels had a height >5 m while 98% of non-tree cover pixels had a height <5 m. The biannual map of deforestation was then built from the monthly tree cover map. The deforestation map showed relatively consistent agreement with the official deforestation map from Brazil (67.2%) but deviated significantly from Global Forest Change (GFC)’s year of forest loss, showing that our product is closest to the product made by visual interpretation. Finally, we estimated that 14.8% of Mato Grosso’s total area had undergone clear-cut logging between 2015 and 2021, and that deforestation was increasing, with December 2021, the last date, being the highest. High-resolution imagery from Planet NICFI in conjunction with deep learning techniques can significantly improve the mapping of deforestation extent in tropical regions.

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Citation

Wagner, F.H.; Dalagnol, R.; Silva-Junior, C.H.L.; Carter, G.; Ritz, A.L.; Hirye, M.C.M.; Ometto, J.P.H.B.; Saatchi, S. Mapping Tropical Forest Cover and Deforestation with Planet NICFI Satellite Images and Deep Learning in Mato Grosso State (Brazil) from 2015 to 2021. Remote Sens. 2023, 15, 521.