Semi-automatic multi-segmentation classification for land cover change dynamics in North Macedonia from 1988 to 2014

Abstract

Land cover assessment and monitoring are essential for sustainable management of natural resources and environmental protection. Object-based image analysis (OBIA) for land cover classification has become an area of interest due to its superiority over the pixel-based classification method. The main objective of this paper is developing a method for land cover classification on the national and sub-national level in the Republic of North Macedonia for mapping and monitoring the land cover changes in the study area from 1988 to 2014. For that purpose, in this study, we combine OBIA with rule set semi-automated multi-segmentation classification for large-scale areas over medium-resolution satellite imagery. Thus, Landsat image collections over North Macedonia have been combined with topographic and settlement layers for land cover classification. Based on the knowledge of certain land cover features, rule-based classification has been developed using two different segmentation parameters. The results show that the overall agreement of the new semi-automatic classification method developed for North Macedonia is 83%. The most significant change in the land cover can be noticed in the forest class, with a total increase of 8% on national and 15% in the South-East region. These results confirm that this new semi-automatic, cost-effective, and accurate land cover classification method can be easily employed and adjusted for different study areas and can be used in numerous remote sensing applications.

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Acknowledgments

The study has been prepared within the scope of Macedonia’s Fourth National Communication and Third Biennial Update Report on Climate Change under the UNFCCC.

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Correspondence to Gordana Kaplan.

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Responsible Editor: Biswajeet Pradhan

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Kaplan, G. Semi-automatic multi-segmentation classification for land cover change dynamics in North Macedonia from 1988 to 2014. Arab J Geosci 14, 93 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12517-020-06347-x

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Keywords

  • Land cover
  • Segmentation
  • Rule-based classification
  • Satellite remote sensing