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A simple statistical extension at the individual tree level for an earlier-developed very high frequency forest backscatter model is proposed. This extended model treats trunk volumes as random quantities. A concept of random forest reflection coefficient is also introduced to characterize radar returns from individual trees. Based on the extended model, a set of algorithms for estimating the mean trunk (stem) volume from synthetic aperture radar data at the individual tree level is developed assuming that the areal tree density is known. The algorithms are specified for different scenarios related to a priori information on parameters of statistical distributions for the trunk volume and fluctuations of the forest reflection coefficient. An approximate lower bound on the standard deviation in the unbiased estimation of the mean trunk (stem) volume is proposed. This bound can be readily obtained by means of computer simulation for any specified statistical distribution for the trunk volume and fluctuations of the forest reflection coefficient. Performance analysis for the proposed algorithms is numerically performed by means of Monte Carlo simulation for a variety of scenarios. This analysis has shown that the algorithms provide nearly unbiased and efficient estimates, and the proposed lower bound is a very accurate approximation. The results of the study have demonstrated that the approach and methods developed in this paper suggest promising solutions in accurate forest parameter retrieval.
Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:46 , Issue: 1 )
Date of Publication: Jan. 2008