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Remote Sens. 2015, 7(4), 4290-4317; doi:10.3390/rs70404290

Reviewing ALOS PALSAR Backscatter Observations for Stem Volume Retrieval in Swedish Forest

Gamma Remote Sensing, Worbstrasse 225, 3073 Gümligen, Switzerland
Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Chalmers University of Technology, SE-412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden
Department of Forest Resource Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-901 83 Umeå, Sweden
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Lars T. Waser and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 4 February 2015 / Revised: 25 March 2015 / Accepted: 1 April 2015 / Published: 13 April 2015
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Between 2006 and 2011, the Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) Phased Array L-type Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR) instrument acquired multi-temporal datasets under several environmental conditions and multiple configurations of look angle and polarization. The extensive archive of SAR backscatter observations over the forest test sites of Krycklan (boreal) and Remningstorp (hemi-boreal), Sweden, was used to assess the retrieval of stem volume at stand level. The retrieval was based on the inversion of a simple Water Cloud Model with gaps; single estimates of stem volume are then combined to obtain the final multi-temporal estimate. The model matched the relationship between the SAR backscatter and the stem volume under all configurations. The retrieval relative Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) differed depending upon environmental conditions, polarization and look angle. Stem volume was best retrieved in Krycklan using only HV-polarized data acquired under unfrozen conditions with a look angle of 34.3° (relative RMSE: 44.0%). In Remningstorp, the smallest error was obtained using only HH-polarized data acquired under predominantly frozen conditions with a look angle of 34.3° (relative RMSE: 35.1%). The relative RMSE was below 30% for stands >20 ha, suggesting high accuracy of ALOS PALSAR estimates of stem volumes aggregated at moderate resolution. View Full-Text
Keywords: ALOS PALSAR; backscatter; forest; boreal; Sweden; stem volume; retrieval ALOS PALSAR; backscatter; forest; boreal; Sweden; stem volume; retrieval

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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. (CC BY 4.0).

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Santoro, M.; Eriksson, L.E.; Fransson, J.E. Reviewing ALOS PALSAR Backscatter Observations for Stem Volume Retrieval in Swedish Forest. Remote Sens. 2015, 7, 4290-4317.

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