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Automatic Plant Cover Estimation with Convolutional Neural Networks

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Gesellschaft für Informatik, Bonn


Monitoring the responses of plants to environmental changes is essential for plant biodiversity research. This, however, is currently still being done manually by botanists in the field. This work is very laborious, and the data obtained is, though following a standardized method to estimate plant coverage, usually subjective and has a coarse temporal resolution. To remedy these caveats, we investigate approaches using convolutional neural networks (CNNs) to automatically extract the relevant data from images, focusing on plant community composition and species coverages of 9 herbaceous plant species. To this end, we investigate several standard CNN architectures and different pretraining methods. We find that we outperform our previous approach at higher image resolutions using a custom CNN with a mean absolute error of 5.16%. In addition to these investigations, we also conduct an error analysis based on the temporal aspect of the plant cover images. This analysis gives insight into where problems for automatic approaches lie, like occlusion and likely misclassifications caused by temporal changes.


Körschens, Matthias; Bodesheim, Paul; Römermann, Christine; Bucher, Solveig Franziska; Migliavacca, Mirco; Ulrich, Josephine; Denzler, Joachim (2021): Automatic Plant Cover Estimation with Convolutional Neural Networks. INFORMATIK 2021. DOI: 10.18420/informatik2021-039. Gesellschaft für Informatik, Bonn. PISSN: 1617-5468. ISBN: 978-3-88579-708-1. pp. 499-516. Workshop: Computer Science for Biodiversity (CS4BIODiversity). Berlin. 27. September - 1. Oktober 2021