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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(11), 1116; doi:10.3390/rs9111116

Relationships of S-Band Radar Backscatter and Forest Aboveground Biomass in Different Forest Types

1
School of Geography, Geology and the Environment , Centre for Landscape and Climate Research, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
2
Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Buckhurst Road, Ascot SL5 7PY, UK
3
National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO), University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
4
Geography, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter EX44RJ, UK
5
School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3FF, UK
6
Faculty of Forestry, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir, Benhama Ganderbal J&K 191201, India
7
School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 110067, India
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 August 2017 / Revised: 5 October 2017 / Accepted: 30 October 2017 / Published: 2 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass Remote Sensing in Forest Landscapes)
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Abstract

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) signals respond to the interactions of microwaves with vegetation canopy scatterers that collectively characterise forest structure. The sensitivity of S-band (7.5–15 cm) backscatter to the different forest types (broadleaved, needleleaved) with varying aboveground biomass (AGB) across temperate (mixed, needleleaved) and tropical (broadleaved, woody savanna, secondary) forests is less well understood. In this study, Michigan Microwave Canopy Scattering (MIMICS-I) radiative transfer model simulations showed strong volume scattering returns from S-band SAR for broadleaved canopies caused by ground/trunk interactions. A general relationship between AirSAR S-band measurements and MIMICS-I simulated radar backscatter with forest AGB up to nearly 100 t/ha in broadleaved forest in the UK was found. Simulated S-band backscatter-biomass relationships suggest increasing backscatter sensitivity to forest biomass with a saturation level close to 100 t/ha and errors between 37 t/ha and 44 t/ha for HV and VV polarisations for tropical ecosystems. In the near future, satellite SAR-derived forest biomass from P-band BIOMASS mission and L-band ALOS-2 PALSAR-2 in combination with S-band UK NovaSAR-S and the joint NASA-ISRO NISAR sensors will provide better quantification of large-scale forest AGB at varying sensitivity levels across primary and secondary forests and woody savannas. View Full-Text
Keywords: forest aboveground biomass; MIMICS-I model; AirSAR S-band SAR; temperate; tropics forest aboveground biomass; MIMICS-I model; AirSAR S-band SAR; temperate; tropics
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Ningthoujam, R.K.; Balzter, H.; Tansey, K.; Feldpausch, T.R.; Mitchard, E.T.A.; Wani, A.A.; Joshi, P.K. Relationships of S-Band Radar Backscatter and Forest Aboveground Biomass in Different Forest Types. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 1116.

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