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Remote Sens. 2014, 6(2), 1605-1633; doi:10.3390/rs6021605
Article

Monitoring Wetlands Ecosystems Using ALOS PALSAR (L-Band, HV) Supplemented by Optical Data: A Case Study of Biebrza Wetlands in Northeast Poland

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Received: 7 January 2014; in revised form: 21 January 2014 / Accepted: 12 February 2014 / Published: 20 February 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Peatlands)
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Abstract: The aim of the study was to elaborate the remote sensing methods for monitoring wetlands ecosystems. The investigation was carried out during the years 2002–2010 in the Biebrza Wetlands. The meteorological conditions at the test site varied from extremely dry to very wet. The authors propose applying satellite remote sensing data acquired in the optical and microwave spectrums to classify wetlands vegetation habitats for the assessment of vegetation changes and estimation of wetlands’ biophysical properties to improve monitoring of these unique, very often physically impenetrable, areas. The backscattering coefficients (σ°) calculated from ALOS PALSAR FBD (Advanced Land Observing Satellite, Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar, Fine Beam Dual Mode) images registered at cross polarization HV on 12 May 2008 were used to classify the main wetland communities using ground truth observations and the visual interpretation method. As a result, the σ° values were distributed among the six wetlands’ vegetation classes: scrubs, sedges-scrubs, sedges, reeds, sedges-reeds, rushes, and the areas of each community and changes were assessed. Also, the change in the biophysical variable as Leaf Area Index (LAI) is described using the information from PALSAR data. Strong linear relationships have been found between LAI and σ° derived for particular wetland classes, which then were applied to elaborate the maps of LAI distribution. The other variables used to characterize the changing environmental conditions are: surface temperature (Ts) calculated from NOAA AVHRR (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer) and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) from ENVISAT MERIS (ENVIronmental SATellite MEdium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer). Differences of almost double Ts between “dry” and “wet” years were noticed that reflect observed weather conditions. The highest values of NDVI occurred in years with a sufficient amount of precipitation with the lowest in “dry” years. NDVI values variances within the same wetlands class resulted mainly from the differences in soil moisture. The results of this study show that the satellite data from microwave and optical spectrum gave the repetitive spatial information about vegetation growth conditions and could be used for monitoring wetland ecosystems.
Keywords: ALOS PALSAR; radar backscatter; wetlands habitats; LAI; ENVISAT MERIS; NOAA AVHRR; NDVI; surface temperature ALOS PALSAR; radar backscatter; wetlands habitats; LAI; ENVISAT MERIS; NOAA AVHRR; NDVI; surface temperature
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Dabrowska-Zielinska, K.; Budzynska, M.; Tomaszewska, M.; Bartold, M.; Gatkowska, M.; Malek, I.; Turlej, K.; Napiorkowska, M. Monitoring Wetlands Ecosystems Using ALOS PALSAR (L-Band, HV) Supplemented by Optical Data: A Case Study of Biebrza Wetlands in Northeast Poland. Remote Sens. 2014, 6, 1605-1633.

AMA Style

Dabrowska-Zielinska K, Budzynska M, Tomaszewska M, Bartold M, Gatkowska M, Malek I, Turlej K, Napiorkowska M. Monitoring Wetlands Ecosystems Using ALOS PALSAR (L-Band, HV) Supplemented by Optical Data: A Case Study of Biebrza Wetlands in Northeast Poland. Remote Sensing. 2014; 6(2):1605-1633.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Dabrowska-Zielinska, Katarzyna; Budzynska, Maria; Tomaszewska, Monika; Bartold, Maciej; Gatkowska, Martyna; Malek, Iwona; Turlej, Konrad; Napiorkowska, Milena. 2014. "Monitoring Wetlands Ecosystems Using ALOS PALSAR (L-Band, HV) Supplemented by Optical Data: A Case Study of Biebrza Wetlands in Northeast Poland." Remote Sens. 6, no. 2: 1605-1633.


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