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Effects of Forest Biomass and Stand Consolidation on P-Band Backscatter

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4 Author(s)
Smith-Jonforsen, G. ; Chalmers Univ. of Technol., Goteborg ; Folkesson, K. ; Hallberg, B. ; Ulander, L.M.H.

In previous studies, P-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) has shown potential for biomass retrieval in forests. However, while measurements show a general agreement that backscatter increases with increasing biomass, different studies show that the backscatter from stands of similar biomass can significantly vary depending on forest structure, hence making biomass retrieval more challenging. In this letter, we show that, while biomass may be the single most important parameter determining the backscatter from a forest, the number density of trees has also a major impact. This can be explained using simple arguments, leading us to propose the use of the biomass-consolidation index to describe P-band HV-polarized backscatter. This is supported by electromagnetic-modeling studies and by a few measurements from boreal forest made with the AIRSAR system over the BOREAS test site in Canada.

Published in:

Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, IEEE  (Volume:4 ,  Issue: 4 )