Monitoring in North Korea using modified NDVI method

Sunmin Lee, Sung Hwan Park, Hyung Sup Jung

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Climate changes have been related to human activity as well as deforestation. These issue are worse in developing countries. Their forests continue to degrade for firewood collection and food production. The deforestation in North Korea is on the rise from forest reclamation for food. Also, secondary effects such as flooding intensify deforestation. Therefore, assessing the current situation of forest in North Korea is necessary. Although many institutions released statistics of forest information of North Korea, the difference between the statistics increased confusion of policy-makers. Since the political situation in North Korea makes difficult to have in-situ measurements, it is more difficult to have accurate information of North Korea. By using satellite images, the limitation of accessibility could be overcome. In this paper, the objective of this research is to monitor the forest status of North Korea using multi-temporal Landsat TM images, from 1980s to 2010s. Since the deforestation in North Korea is caused by local residents, the study area are Pyeongyang and Hyesan which are having high population density. The images acquired at fall after the harvest are used to distinguish the agriculture area from the forest area. After the atmospheric effect with the COST model is corrected, the modified NDVI values are calculated by using Red, Green, Blue, and NIR bands. The modified NDVI is used to observe autumn colours of fall time images by migrating value of Red band. Forest area is extracted by applying a threshold to each NDVI images. Finally, total forest area difference is analysed in time-series. As results, the dimension of forest has largely decreased in both Pyeongyang and Hyesan. Also, we find that forest area can be more accurately calculated from an image of the fall season by using the modified NDVI.

Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 2015
Event36th Asian Conference on Remote Sensing: Fostering Resilient Growth in Asia, ACRS 2015 - Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Duration: 24 Oct 201528 Oct 2015


Conference36th Asian Conference on Remote Sensing: Fostering Resilient Growth in Asia, ACRS 2015
CityQuezon City, Metro Manila


  • Deforestation
  • Degraded forest
  • NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index)
  • North Korea


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