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Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1151;

Aboveground Forest Biomass Estimation Combining L- and P-Band SAR Acquisitions

Cartography, GIS & Remote Sensing Department, Institute of Geography, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Goldschmidtstr. 5, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
European Space Research and Technology Centre, European Space Agency, 2200 AG Nordwijk, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 June 2018 / Revised: 16 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Remote Sensing)
PDF [6896 KB, uploaded 23 July 2018]


While considerable research has focused on using either L-band or P-band SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) on their own for forest biomass retrieval, the use of the two bands simultaneously to improve forest biomass retrieval remains less explored. In this paper, we make use of L- and P-band airborne SAR and in situ data measured in the field together with laser scanning data acquired over one hemi-boreal (Remningstorp) and one boreal (Krycklan) forest study area in Sweden. We fit statistical models to different combinations of topographic-corrected SAR backscatter and forest heights estimated from PolInSAR for the biomass estimation, and evaluate retrieval performance in terms of R2 and using 10-fold cross-validation. The study shows that specific combinations of radar observables from L- and P-band lead to biomass predictions that are more accurate in comparison with single-band retrievals. The correlations and accuracies between the combinations of SAR features and aboveground biomass are consistent across the two study areas, whereas the retrieval performance varied for individual bands. P-band-based retrievals were more accurate than L-band for the hemi-boreal Remningstorp site and less accurate than L-band for the boreal Krycklan site. The aboveground biomass levels as well as the ground topography differ between the two sites. The results suggest that P-band is more sensitive to higher biomass and L-band to lower biomass forests. The forest height from PolInSAR improved the results at L-band in the higher biomass substantially, whereas no improvement was observed at P-band in both study areas. These results are relevant in the context of combining information over boreal forests from future low-frequency SAR missions such as the European Space Agency (ESA) BIOMASS mission, which will operate at P-band, and future L-band missions planned by several space agencies. View Full-Text
Keywords: P-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR); L-band SAR; aboveground biomass estimation; boreal forest; forestry P-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR); L-band SAR; aboveground biomass estimation; boreal forest; forestry

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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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Schlund, M.; Davidson, M.W.J. Aboveground Forest Biomass Estimation Combining L- and P-Band SAR Acquisitions. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 1151.

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