In Italy we still miss an official, accurate, precise and updated forest map which is instead essential for wall-to-wall estimation of forest variables. The same for Europe.

In this paper we compared five Fores Masks available for the entire area of Italy to examine their effects on the estimation of Growing Stock Volume and to clarify which product is best-suited for this purpose. The FMs considered were a mosaic of local forest maps produced by the Italian regional forest authorities; the FM produced from the Copernicus Land Monitoring System; the JAXA global FM; the hybrid global FM produced by Schepaschencko et al., and the FM estimated from the Corine Land Cover 2006. We used the five FMs to mask out non-forest pixels from a national wall-to-wall GSV map constructed using inventory and remotely sensed data. The accuracies of the FMs were first evaluated against an independent dataset of 1,202,818 NFI plots using four accuracy metrics. For each of the five masked GSV maps, the pixel-level predictions for the masked GSV map were used to calculate national and regional-level model-assisted estimates. The masked GSV maps were compared with respect to the coefficient of correlation (ρ) between the estimates of GSV they produced (both in terms of mean and total of GSV predictions within the national and regional boundaries) and the official NFI estimates. At the national and regional levels, the model-assisted GSV estimates based on the GSV map masked by the FM constructed as a mosaic of local forest maps were closest to the official NFI estimates with ρ = 0.986 and ρ = 0.972, for total and mean GSV, respectively. We found a negative correlation between the accuracies of the FMs and the differences between the model-assisted GSV estimates and the NFI estimate, demonstrating that the choice of the FM plays an important role in GSV estimation when using the model-assisted estimator.

To cite and read the article:

Vangi, E.; D’Amico, G.; Francini, S.; Giannetti, F.; Lasserre, B.; Marchetti, M.; McRoberts, R.E.; Chirici, G. The Effect of Forest Mask Quality in the Wall-to-Wall Estimation of Growing Stock Volume. Remote Sens. 202113, 1038.