Individual tree crown maps for the National Ecological Observatory Network


The ecology of forest ecosystems depends on the composition of trees. Capturing fine-grained information on individual trees at broad scales allows an unprecedented view of forest ecosystems, forest restoration and responses to disturbance. To create detailed maps of tree species, airborne remote sensing can cover areas containing millions of trees at high spatial resolution. Individual tree data at wide extents promises to increase the scale of forest analysis, biogeographic research, and ecosystem monitoring without losing details on individual species composition and abundance. Computer vision using deep neural networks can convert raw sensor data into predictions of individual tree species using ground truthed data collected by field researchers. Using over 40,000 individual tree stems as training data, we create landscape-level species predictions for over 100 million individual trees for 24 sites in the National Ecological Observatory Network. Using hierarchical multi-temporal models fine-tuned for each geographic area, we produce open-source data available as 1km^2 shapefiles with individual tree species prediction, as well as crown location, crown area and height of 81 canopy tree species. Site-specific models had an average performance of 79% accuracy covering an average of six species per site, ranging from 3 to 15 species. All predictions were uploaded to Google Earth Engine to benefit the ecology community and overlay with other remote sensing assets. These data can be used to study forest macro-ecology, functional ecology, and responses to anthropogenic change.



B. G. Weinstein, S. Marconi, A. Zare, S. A. Bohlman, A. Singh, S. J. Graves, L. Magee, D. J. Johnson, S. Record, V. E. Rubio, N. G. Swenson, P. Townsend, T. T. Veblen, R. A. Andrus, E. P. White "Individual tree crown maps for the National Ecological Observatory Network", doi:
@article {Weinstein2023.10.25.563626,
author = {Ben. G. Weinstein and Sergio Marconi and Alina Zare and Stephanie A. Bohlman and Aditya Singh and Sarah J. Graves and Lukas Magee and Daniel J. Johnson and Sydne Record and Vanessa E. Rubio and Nathan G. Swenson and Philip Townsend and Thomas T. Veblen and Robert A. Andrus and Ethan P. White},
title = {Individual tree crown maps for the National Ecological Observatory Network},
elocation-id = {2023.10.25.563626},
year = {2023},
doi = {10.1101/2023.10.25.563626},
publisher = {Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory},
URL = {},
eprint = {},
journal = {bioRxiv}