A new approach, based on the application of multi-spectral remote sensing data of Landsat imagery, is introduced to determine large-scale spatiotemporal variations of forest cover changes quantitatively and with a high degree of precision. The test area covers about 837,330.5ha of a mountainous region in Central Italy. The approach employs several multi-temporal Landsat acquisitions to account for forest cover changes larger than 0.5ha for the period from March 2002 to July 2011. In contrast to automated approaches that strongly curtail mapping time, the approach introduced here allowed us to map only the real forest cover change, based on a robust validation and rectification of the detected forest change. Derived high spatial resolution data of forest change estimates indicate that about 5.7% (47,670.5ha) of the observed forest area was subject to human-induced change between 2002 and 2011. Moreover, the detected forest cover changes, most of which are identifiable as timber harvesting, are considerably larger than those reported in the official statistics and often fall within the perimeter of restricted areas (i.e., national parks and natural reserves). © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
Borrelli, P., Sandia Rondon, L.A., Schutt, B. (2013). The use of Landsat imagery to assess large-scale forest cover changes in space and time, minimizing false-positive changes. APPLIED GEOGRAPHY, 41, 147-157 [10.1016/j.apgeog.2013.03.010].