Remote Sensing, Vol. 10, Pages 66: A Comparison of Regression Techniques for Estimation of Above-Ground Winter Wheat Biomass Using Near-Surface Spectroscopy Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs10010066 Authors: Jibo Yue Haikuan Feng Guijun Yang Zhenhai Li Above-ground biomass (AGB) provides a vital link between solar energy consumption and yield, so its correct estimation is crucial to accurately monitor crop growth and predict yield. In this work, we estimate AGB by using 54 vegetation indexes (e.g., Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, Soil-Adjusted Vegetation Index) and eight statistical regression techniques: artificial neural network (ANN), multivariable linear regression (MLR), decision-tree regression (DT), boosted binary regression tree (BBRT), partial least squares regression (PLSR), random forest regression (RF), support vector machine regression (SVM), and principal component regression (PCR), which are used to analyze hyperspectral data acquired by using a field spectrophotometer. The vegetation indexes (VIs) determined from the spectra were first used to train regression techniques for modeling and validation to select the best VI input, and then summed with white Gaussian noise to study how remote sensing errors affect the regression techniques. Next, the VIs were divided into groups of different sizes by using various sampling methods for modeling and validation to test the stability of the techniques. Finally, the AGB was estimated by using a leave-one-out cross validation with these powerful techniques. The results of the study demonstrate that, of the eight techniques investigated, PLSR and MLR perform best in terms of stability and are most suitable when high-accuracy and stable estimates are required from relatively few samples. In addition, RF is extremely robust against noise and is best suited to deal with repeated observations involving remote-sensing data (i.e., data affected by atmosphere, clouds, observation times, and/or sensor noise). Finally, the leave-one-out cross-validation method indicates that PLSR provides the highest accuracy (R2 = 0.89, RMSE = 1.20 t/ha, MAE = 0.90 t/ha, NRMSE = 0.07, CV (RMSE) = 0.18); thus, PLSR is best suited for works requiring high-accuracy estimation models. The results indicate that all these techniques provide impressive accuracy. The comparison and analysis provided herein thus reveals the advantages and disadvantages of the ANN, MLR, DT, BBRT, PLSR, RF, SVM, and PCR techniques and can help researchers to build efficient AGB-estimation models.
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