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The objective of this paper is to investigate potential of satellite C-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) radar in monitoring sugarcane growth in southern China. This paper proposes a method to map sugarcane growing area and retrieve sugarcane leaf area index (LAI) in different growth stages using ENVISAT Advanced SAR (ASAR) alternating polarization HH/HV data. The temporal response of ASAR alternating polarization HH/HV data to sugarcane fields and sugarcane LAI was first analyzed in the study area. The analysis shows that sugarcane fields have increasing temporal radar response trend with sugarcane growth and ratio of ASAR HV to HH data has a better correlation with the increase of sugarcane LAI. A theoretical radiative transfer model was adopted to interpret the trend. Based on the temporal variation of the radar response of sugarcane fields, a method for mapping sugarcane planting area was developed using ASAR HH and HV polarization data at two acquisition dates with a certain classification accuracy. The empirical models were also established to estimate LAI of sugarcane using the HV/HH polarization ratio. The results suggest that C-band ASAR data appear promising in the development of an operational system for monitoring sugarcane growth in southern China.