Abstract: Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) has been an unparalleled tool in cloudy and rainy regions as it allows observations throughout the year because of its all-weather, all-day operation capability. In this paper, the influence of Wenchuan Earthquake on the Sichuan Giant Panda habitats was evaluated for the first time using SAR interferometry and combining data from C-band Envisat ASAR and L-band ALOS PALSAR data. Coherence analysis based on the zero-point shifting indicated that the deforestation process was significant, particularly in habitats along the Min River approaching the epicenter after the natural disaster, and as interpreted by the vegetation deterioration from landslides, avalanches and debris flows. Experiments demonstrated that C-band Envisat ASAR data were sensitive to vegetation, resulting in an underestimation of deforestation; in contrast, L-band PALSAR data were capable of evaluating the deforestation process owing to a better penetration and the significant coherence gain on damaged forest areas. The percentage of damaged forest estimated by PALSAR decreased from 20.66% to 17.34% during 2009–2010, implying an approximate 3% recovery rate of forests in the earthquake impacted areas. This study proves that long-wavelength SAR interferometry is promising for rapid assessment of disaster-induced deforestation, particularly in regions where the optical acquisition is constrained.
Keywords: SAR interferometry; coherence; Wenchuan Earthquake; giant panda habitat
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Chen, F.; Guo, H.; Ishwaran, N.; Zhou, W.; Yang, R.; Jing, L.; Chen, F.; Zeng, H. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Interferometry for Assessing Wenchuan Earthquake (2008) Deforestation in the Sichuan Giant Panda Site. Remote Sens. 2014, 6, 6283-6299.
Chen F, Guo H, Ishwaran N, Zhou W, Yang R, Jing L, Chen F, Zeng H. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Interferometry for Assessing Wenchuan Earthquake (2008) Deforestation in the Sichuan Giant Panda Site. Remote Sensing. 2014; 6(7):6283-6299.
Chen, Fulong; Guo, Huadong; Ishwaran, Natarajan; Zhou, Wei; Yang, Ruixia; Jing, Linhai; Chen, Fang; Zeng, Hongcheng. 2014. "Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Interferometry for Assessing Wenchuan Earthquake (2008) Deforestation in the Sichuan Giant Panda Site." Remote Sens. 6, no. 7: 6283-6299.