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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(3), 174;

Mapping Plant Functional Types in Floodplain Wetlands: An Analysis of C-Band Polarimetric SAR Data from RADARSAT-2

Laboratorio de Ecología, Teledetección y Ecoinformática, Instituto de Investigación e Ingeniería Ambiental, Universidad Nacional de San Martín, 25 de Mayo and Francia S/N, General San Martín 1650, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Godoy Cruz 2290, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires 1425, Argentina
Grupo de Teledetección Cuantitativa, Instituto de Astronomía y Física del Espacio, Universidad de Buenos Aires—Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Intendente Güiraldes 2160, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires 1428, Argentina
Agenzia Spaziale Italiana, Via del Politecnico snc, Rome 00133, Italy
Instituto Gulich, Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales, Ruta C45 km 8 Falda del Cañete, Córdoba 5187, Argentina
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Javier Bustamante, Alfredo R. Huete, Ricardo Díaz-Delgado, Nicolas Baghdadi, Heiko Balzter and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 17 November 2015 / Revised: 4 February 2016 / Accepted: 14 February 2016 / Published: 25 February 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue What can Remote Sensing Do for the Conservation of Wetlands?)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [5268 KB, uploaded 25 February 2016]   |  


The inclusion of functional approaches on wetland characterizations and on biodiversity assessments improves our understanding of ecosystem functioning. In the Lower Paraná River floodplain, we assessed the ability of C-band polarimetric SAR data of contrasting incidence angles to discriminate wetland areas dominated by different plant functional types (PFTs). Unsupervised H/α and H/A/α Wishart classifications were implemented on two RADARSAT-2 images differing in their incidence angles (FQ24 and FQ08). Obtained classes were assigned to the information classes (open water, bare soil and PFTs) by a priori labeling criteria that involved the expected interaction mechanisms between SAR signal and PFTs as well as the relative values of H and α. The product obtained with the shallow incidence angle scene had a higher accuracy than the one obtained with the steep incidence angle product (61.5% vs. 46.2%). We show how a systematic analysis of the H/A/α space can be used to improve the knowledge about the radar polarimetric response of herbaceous vegetation. The map obtained provides novel ecologically relevant information about plant strategies dominating the floodplain. Since the obtained classes can be interpreted in terms of their functional features, the approach is a valuable tool for predicting vegetation response to floods, anthropic impacts and climate change. View Full-Text
Keywords: incidence angle; macrophytes; marshes; SAR polarimetry; polarimetric decompositions; Wishart classification incidence angle; macrophytes; marshes; SAR polarimetry; polarimetric decompositions; Wishart classification

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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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Morandeira, N.S.; Grings, F.; Facchinetti, C.; Kandus, P. Mapping Plant Functional Types in Floodplain Wetlands: An Analysis of C-Band Polarimetric SAR Data from RADARSAT-2. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 174.

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