TitleComparison of two types of forest disturbance using multitemporal Landsat TM/ETM plus imagery and field vegetation data
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsHais, M, Jonasova, M, Langhammer, J, Kucera, T
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment

Forest disturbances influence many landscape processes, including changes in microclimate, hydrology, and soil erosion. We analyzed the spectral response and temporal progress of two types of disturbances of spruce forest (bark beetle outbreak and clear-cuts) in the central part of Sumava Mountains at the border between the Czech Republic and Germany, Central Europe. The bark beetle (Ips typographus [L]) outbreak in this region in the last 20 years resulted in regional-scale spruce forest decay. Clear-cutting was done here to prevent further bark-beetle propagation in the buffer zones. The aim of the study is to identify the differences in spectral response between the two types of forest disturbances and their temporal dynamics. General trends were analyzed throughout the study area, with sampled disturbance areas selected to assess the relationship between field vegetation data and their spectral response. Thirteen Landsat TM/ETM+ scenes from 1985 to 2007 were used for the assessment. The following spectral indices were estimated: NDMI, Tasseled Cap (Brightness, Greenness, Wetness), DI, and DI’. The DI’, Wetness, and Brightness indices show the highest sensitivity to forest disturbance for both disturbance types (clear-cuts and bark beetle outbreak). The multitemporal analysis distinguished three different stages of development. The highest spectral differences between the clear-cuts and the bark beetle disturbances were found in the period between 1996 and 2004 with increased levels of forest disturbance (repeated measures ANOVA, Scheffe post hoc test; p