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A new concept in polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (POLSAR) speckle filtering that preserves the dominant scattering mechanism of each pixel is proposed in this paper. The basic principle is to select pixels of the same scattering characteristics to be included in the filtering process. To achieve this, the algorithm first applies the Freeman and Durden decomposition to separate pixels into three dominant scattering categories: surface, double bounce, and volume, and then unsupervised classification is applied. Speckle filtering is performed using the classification map as a mask. A single-look or multilook pixel centered in a 9 × 9 window is filtered by including only pixels in the same and two neighboring classes from the same scattering category. This filter is effective in speckle reduction, while perfectly preserving strong point target signatures, and retains edges, linear, and curved features in the POLSAR data. The effect of speckle filtering on scattering characteristics, such as entropy, anisotropy, and alpha angle, will be discussed.