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Remote Sens. 2015, 7(7), 8563-8585;

Evaluation of Polarimetric SAR Decomposition for Classifying Wetland Vegetation Types

Division of Polar Ocean Environment, Korea Polar Research Institute, 26 Songdomiraero, Yeonsugu, Incheon 406-840, Korea
Department of Marine Geosciences, University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149, USA
Satellite Information Application Center, Korea Aerospace Research Institute, 169-84 Gwahakro, Yuseonggu, Daejeon 305-333, Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Alisa L. Gallant and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 8 February 2015 / Revised: 14 June 2015 / Accepted: 25 June 2015 / Published: 7 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards Remote Long-Term Monitoring of Wetland Landscapes)
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The Florida Everglades is the largest subtropical wetland system in the United States and, as with subtropical and tropical wetlands elsewhere, has been threatened by severe environmental stresses. It is very important to monitor such wetlands to inform management on the status of these fragile ecosystems. This study aims to examine the applicability of TerraSAR-X quadruple polarimetric (quad-pol) synthetic aperture radar (PolSAR) data for classifying wetland vegetation in the Everglades. We processed quad-pol data using the Hong & Wdowinski four-component decomposition, which accounts for double bounce scattering in the cross-polarization signal. The calculated decomposition images consist of four scattering mechanisms (single, co- and cross-pol double, and volume scattering). We applied an object-oriented image analysis approach to classify vegetation types with the decomposition results. We also used a high-resolution multispectral optical RapidEye image to compare statistics and classification results with Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) observations. The calculated classification accuracy was higher than 85%, suggesting that the TerraSAR-X quad-pol SAR signal had a high potential for distinguishing different vegetation types. Scattering components from SAR acquisition were particularly advantageous for classifying mangroves along tidal channels. We conclude that the typical scattering behaviors from model-based decomposition are useful for discriminating among different wetland vegetation types. View Full-Text
Keywords: Polarimetric SAR (PolSAR); polarimetric decomposition; TerraSAR-X; wetland vegetation; subtropical wetland; Everglades Polarimetric SAR (PolSAR); polarimetric decomposition; TerraSAR-X; wetland vegetation; subtropical wetland; Everglades

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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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Hong, S.-H.; Kim, H.-O.; Wdowinski, S.; Feliciano, E. Evaluation of Polarimetric SAR Decomposition for Classifying Wetland Vegetation Types. Remote Sens. 2015, 7, 8563-8585.

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