Hyperspectral remote sensing of temperate pasture quality

Thulin, S 2008, Hyperspectral remote sensing of temperate pasture quality, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Hyperspectral remote sensing of temperate pasture quality
Author(s) Thulin, S
Year 2008
Abstract This thesis describes the research undertaken for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, testing the hypothesis that spectrometer data can be used to establish usable relationships for prediction of pasture quality attributes. The research data consisted of reflectance measurements of various temperate pasture types recorded at four different times (years 2000 to 2002), recorded by three hyperspectral sensors, the in situ ASD, the airborne HyMap and the satellite-borne Hyperion. Corresponding ground-based pasture samples were analysed for content of chlorophyll, water, crude protein, digestibility, lignin and cellulose at three study sites in rural Victoria, Australia. This context was used to evaluate effects of sensor differences, data processing and enhancement, analytical methods and sample variability on the predictive capacity of derived prediction models. Although hyperspectral data analysis is being applied in many areas very few studies on temperate pastures have been conducted and hardly any encompass the variability and heterogeneity of these southern Australian examples. The research into the relationship between the spectrometer data and pasture quality attribute assays was designed using knowledge gained from assessment of other hyperspectral remote sensing and near-infrared spectroscopy research, including bio-chemical and physical properties of pastures, as well as practical issues of the grazing industries and carbon cycling/modelling. Processing and enhancement of the spectral data followed methods used by other hyperspectral researchers with modifications deemed essential to produce better relationships with pasture assay data. As many different methods are in use for the analysis of hyperspectral data several alternative approaches were investigated and evaluated to determine reliability, robustness and suitability for retrieval of temperate pasture quality attributes. The analyses employed included stepwise multiple linear regression (SMLR) and partial least squares regression (PLSR). The research showed that the spectral research data had a higher potential to be used for prediction of crude protein and digestibility than for the plant fibres lignin and cellulose. Spectral transformation such as continuum removal and derivatives enhanced the results. By using a modified approach based on sample subsets identified by a matrix of subjective bio-physical and ancillary data parameters, the performance of the models were enhanced. Prediction models from PLSR developed on ASD in situ spectral data, HyMap airborne imagery and Hyperion and corresponding pasture assays showed potential for predicting the two important pasture quality attributes crude protein and digestibility in hyperspectral imagery at a few quantised levels corresponding to levels currently used in commercial feed testing. It was concluded that imaging spectrometry has potential to offer synoptic, simultaneous and spatially continuous information valuable to feed based enterprises in temperate Victoria. The thesis provide a significant contribution to the field of hyperspectral remote sensing and good guidance for future hyperspectral researchers embarking on similar tasks. As the research is based on temperate pastures in Victoria, Australia, which are dominated by northern hemisphere species, the findings should be applicable to analysis of temperate pastures elsewhere, for example in Western Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, North America, Europe and northern Asia (China).
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences
Keyword(s) Pastures -- Australia -- Remote sensing
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