author =   {Liangyun Liu and Huan Tang and Peter Caccetta and Eric A. Lehmann and Yong Hu and Xiaoliang Wu},
  title =    {Mapping afforestation and deforestation from 1974 to 2012 using Landsat time-series stacks in Yulin District, a key region of the Three-North Shelter region, China},
  journal =  {Environmental Monitoring and Assessment},
  volume =   {},
  number =   {},
  pages =    {},
  month =    {June},
  year =     {2013},
  abstract = {The Three-North Shelter Forest Program is the largest afforestation reconstruction project in the world. Remote sensing is a crucial tool to map land use and land cover change, but it is still challenging to accurately quantify the change in forest extent from time-series satellite images. In this paper, 30 Landsat MSS/TM/ETM+ epochs from 1974 to 2012 were collected, and the high-quality ground surface reflectance (GSR) time-series images were processed by integrating the 6S atmosphere transfer model and a relative reflectance normalization algorithm. Subsequently, we developed a vegetation change tracking method to reconstruct the forest change history (afforestation and deforestation) from the time-series Landsat GSR images based on the integrated forest z-score (IFZ) model by Huang et al. (2009a), which was improved by multi-phenological IFZ models and the smoothing processing of IFZ data for afforestation mapping. The mapping result showed a large increase in the extent of forest, from 380,394 ha (14.8 % of total district area) in 1974 to 1,128,380 ha (43.9 %) in 2010. Finally, the land cover and forest change map was validated with an overall accuracy of 89.1 % and a kappa coefficient of 0.858. The forest change time was also successfully retrieved, with 22.2 % and 86.5 % of the change pixels attributed to the correct epoch and within three epochs, respectively. The results confirmed a great achievement of the ecological revegetation projects in Yulin district over the last 40 years and also illustrated the potential of the time-series of Landsat images for detecting forest changes and estimating tree age for the artificial forest in a semi-arid zone strongly influenced by human activities.}