iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Estimation of forest cover change using Sentinel-2 multi-spectral imagery in Georgia (the Caucasus)

Giorgi Mikeladze (1)   , Alexander Gavashelishvili (1), Ilia Akobia (2), Vasil Metreveli (1)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 13, Issue 4, Pages 329-335 (2020)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor3386-013
Published: Aug 07, 2020 - Copyright © 2020 SISEF

Research Articles

Our objective was to use Sentinel-2A multispectral data in order to cost-effectively detect change in forest cover in Georgia (the Caucasus). Generalized additive models (GAMs) were used to fit forest cover measures to Sentinel-2A spectral band values modified using different topographic correction methods. Canopy closure (calculated from upward-looking fisheye photographs taken beneath forest canopy) was the best forest cover measure accounted for by the Sentinel-2 spectral data that were topographically corrected using the Minnaert Correction (R2 = 0.882). Spectral bands best explaining canopy closure were Band 3 (Green), Band 8 (NIR) and Band 12 (SWIR). Our model is able to reasonably detect spatial and temporal changes in canopy closure, even in highly rugged terrain and diverse vegetation cover, and it has potential to be improved to the extent that it can be applied by managers of natural resources. Based on free open source applications in combination with cheap gadgets our approach might play an important role in monitoring the forests of countries with low economic indicators.


Generalized Additive Models, Forest Cover, Satellite Imagery, Sentinel-2, Fisheye, Topographic Correction

Authors’ address

Giorgi Mikeladze 0000-0003-4972-0562
Alexander Gavashelishvili 0000-0001-9677-6038
Vasil Metreveli 0000-0002-9558-0655
Center of Biodiversity Studies, Institute of Ecology, Ilia State University, Cholokashvili Str. 5, 0162 Tbilisi (Georgia)
Ilia Akobia
Department of Geoinformatics, Institute of Botany, Ilia State University, Botanical Str. 1, 0105 Tbilisi (Georgia)

Corresponding author

Giorgi Mikeladze


Mikeladze G, Gavashelishvili A, Akobia I, Metreveli V (2020). Estimation of forest cover change using Sentinel-2 multi-spectral imagery in Georgia (the Caucasus). iForest 13: 329-335. - doi: 10.3832/ifor3386-013

Academic Editor

Maurizio Marchi

Paper history

Received: Feb 25, 2020
Accepted: Jun 03, 2020

First online: Aug 07, 2020
Publication Date: Aug 31, 2020
Publication Time: 2.17 months

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