Reed beds are the second largest producer of biomass in Olkiluoto Island. Quantitative information on the extent and amount of reed stands is an integral part of the biosphere assessment related to long-term safety analysis of nuclear fuel repository site currently under construction. The major challenge in reed bed mapping is discrimination between reed and other green vegetation. Spectral field measurements were used to study the temporal and spatial variability of spectral characteristics of reed beds. Feasibility of discriminating reed beds from other vegetation based on hyperspectral measurements was studied as well. Results indicate that there is large temporal variation of reed bed spectra and the optimal time for data acquisition differs for old and new reed bed types. Comparing spectral characteristics of the reed bed and meadow classes in a local neighborhood indicated that the classes have high within-class spectral variability and similar mean spectra, however, 10 out of 11 targets had lower angle to the mean spectrum of the corresponding class than that of the other class when Spectral Angle Mapper (SAM) was used. Comparing the spectral characteristics of reed beds at four test sites within the Olkiluoto Island indicated that while some of the sites had similar spectra, the difference between others was remarkable. This is partly explained by different density and height of dead and live reed stems at the four sites.
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