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Identification of tree resources outside forests in the upcountry of Sri Lanka using medium resolution satellite imagery

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Tree Resources Outside the Forests (TROF) are fundamental to sustainable use of natural resources in Sri Lanka because of logging in natural forests has been banned since 1990. As a result the country meet its timber and fuelwood demand mainly from TROF. However the information on TROF is fragmented sketchy and insufficient leading to underestimate the contribution of TROF to national development. Thus there is a need of assessing TROF in terms of their spatial distribution quality and quantity. These data would be helpful in formulating policies as well as development of management strategies for TROF. Although ground based tree measurement is reliable such technique is laborious time consuming and expensive. Alternatively availability of satellite imagery such as Landsat makes it possible to acquire information on large area basis at low cost. Thus this study was conducted combining Landsat data ground truth information and statistical analysis to identify classify and estimate TROF in Nuwara Eliya district. Satellite images were classified in to five land cover classes where TROF were found. Automated classification of Landsat imageries allowed classifying land cover into TROF systems with overall accuracy of 80.1%. Major TROF systems in the area were identified as tea based systems followed by home gardens and annual crop based systems

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