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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(9), 700; doi:10.3390/rs8090700

Interferometric SAR Coherence Models for Characterization of Hemiboreal Forests Using TanDEM-X Data

1
University of Tartu, Institute of Physics, W. Ostwaldi 1, 50411 Tartu, Estonia
2
Department of Space Technology, Tartu Observatory, 61602 Tõravere, Tartumaa, Estonia
3
Department of Radio Science and Engineering, Aalto University, P.O. Box 13000, 00076 AALTO, Finland
4
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, P.O. Box 1000, 02044 VTT, Finland
5
Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science, Lund University, Sölvegatan 12, 223 62 Lund, Sweden
6
Institute of Forestry and Rural Engineering, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Kreutzwaldi 5, 51014 Tartu, Estonia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Sangram Ganguly, Zhong Lu and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 31 May 2016 / Revised: 28 July 2016 / Accepted: 15 August 2016 / Published: 25 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Vegetation Structure and Dynamics)
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Abstract

In this study, four models describing the interferometric coherence of the forest vegetation layer are proposed and compared with the TanDEM-X data. Our focus is on developing tools for hemiboreal forest height estimation from single-pol interferometric SAR measurements, suitable for wide area forest mapping with limited a priori information. The multi-temporal set of 19 TanDEM-X interferometric pairs and the 90th percentile forest height maps are derived from Airborne LiDAR Scanning (ALS), covering an area of 2211 ha of forests over Estonia. Three semi-empirical models along with the Random Volume over Ground (RVoG) model are examined for applicable parameter ranges and model performance under various conditions for over 3000 forest stands. This study shows that all four models performed well in describing the relationship between forest height and interferometric coherence. Use of an advanced model with multiple parameters is not always justified when modeling the volume decorrelation in the boreal and hemiboreal forests. The proposed set of semi-empirical models, show higher robustness compared to a more advanced RVoG model under a range of seasonal and environmental conditions during data acquisition. We also examine the dynamic range of parameters that different models can take and propose optimal conditions for forest stand height inversion for operationally-feasible scenarios. View Full-Text
Keywords: forest height; radar interferometry; Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR); TanDEM-X; vegetation mapping; X-band; InSAR; semi-empirical models, coherence; LiDAR forest height; radar interferometry; Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR); TanDEM-X; vegetation mapping; X-band; InSAR; semi-empirical models, coherence; LiDAR
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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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MDPI and ACS Style

Olesk, A.; Praks, J.; Antropov, O.; Zalite, K.; Arumäe, T.; Voormansik, K. Interferometric SAR Coherence Models for Characterization of Hemiboreal Forests Using TanDEM-X Data. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 700.

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