Aboveground biomass (AGB) plays a critical functional role in coastal wetland ecosystem stability, with high biomass vegetation contributing to organic matter production, sediment accretion potential, and the surface elevation’s ability to keep pace with relative sea level rise. Many remote sensing studies have employed either imaging spectrometer or synthetic aperture radar (SAR) for AGB estimation in various environments for assessing ecosystem health and carbon storage. This study leverages airborne data from NASA’s Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer-Next Generation (AVIRIS-NG) and Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) to assess their unique capabilities in combination to estimate AGB in coastal deltaic wetlands. Here we develop AGB models for emergent herbaceous and forested wetland vegetation in coastal Louisiana. In addition to horizontally emitted, vertically received (HV) backscatter, SAR parameters are expressed by the Freeman–Durden polarimetric decomposition components representing volume and double-bounce scattering. The imaging spectrometer parameters include normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), reflectance from 290 visible-shortwave infrared (VSWIR) bands, the first derivatives from those bands, or partial least squares (PLS) x-scores derived from those data. Model metrics and cross-validation indicate that the integrated models using the Freeman-Durden components and PLS x-scores improve AGB estimates for both wetland vegetation types. In our study domain over Louisiana’s Wax Lake Delta (WLD), we estimated a mean herbaceous wetland AGB of 3.58 Megagrams/hectare (Mg/ha) and a total of 3551.31 Mg over 9.92 km2
, and a mean forested wetland AGB of 294.78 Mg/ha and a total of 27,499.14 Mg over 0.93 km2
. While the addition of SAR-derived values to imaging spectrometer data provides a nominal error decrease for herbaceous wetland AGB, this combination significantly improves forested wetland AGB prediction. This integrative approach is particularly effective in forested wetlands as canopy-level biochemical characteristics are captured by the imaging spectrometer in addition to the variable structural information measured by the SAR.
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