Machine learning approach to predict terrestrial gross primary productivity using topographical and remote sensing data

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Ecological Informatics


Gross Primary Productivity (GPP) is the amount of sequestered CO2 during plant photosynthesis. GPP is an important indicator of ecosystem health in various ecologies and to assess climate change. The objective of the present work is to propose a machine learning based GPP estimation model using remote sensing (RS) data in combination with meteorological data (MET) and topographical data (TOPO) for prediction of GPP, which can be upscaled in temporal and spatial resolution. Random Forest Regression (RFR) is proposed for this using the Fluxnet2015 GPP dataset for the Australian region. This model has attained a very high accuracy with an R2 value of 0.82, as estimated by 10-fold cross-validation. The model has been compared with state-of-the-art machine learning models and found to be performing better than others. Different feature sets like MET-features and TOPO-features were evaluated in combination with RS-features. The results exhibited that the RFR model performed better when MET and TOPO features are combined with RS-features. GPP prediction for the year 2014, in 8 days temporal and 500m spatial resolution for the Australian region for different plant function types is demonstrated using the proposed model and produced very high value of R2 (0.84), when compared to ground truth. Thus, the proposed approach of the RFR model for GPP estimation showed significant improvement in regional carbon cycle studies and can also be employed for simulating GPP for the future under different climate scenarios.



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