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Seasonal dynamics of C-band backscatter of boreal forests with applications to biomass and soil moisture estimation

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4 Author(s)
Pulliainen, J.T. ; Helsinki Univ. of Technol., Espoo, Finland ; Mikhela, P.J. ; Hallikainen, M.T. ; Ikonen, J.-P.

The seasonal changes of the C-band backscattering properties of boreal forests are investigated by applying 1) a semiempirical forest backscattering model and 2) multitemporal ERS-1 SAR data from two test areas in Finland. The semiempirical modeling of forest canopy volume backscattering and extinction properties is based on high-resolution data from the authors' ranging scatterometer HUTSCAT. The response of ERS-1 SAR to forest stem volume (biomass) and other forest characteristics is investigated by employing the National Forest Inventory sample plots, stand-wise forest inventory data and LANDSAT- and SPOT-based digital land use maps. The results show that the correlation between the backscattering coefficient and forest stem volume (biomass) varies from positive to negative depending on canopy and soil moisture. Additionally, the seasonal snow cover and soil freezing/thawing effects cause drastic changes in the radar response. A novel method for the estimation of forest stem volume (biomass) is introduced. This technique is based on the use of: 1) multitemporal ERS-1 SAR data; 2) reference sample plot information; and 3) the semiempirical backscattering model. It is shown that the multitemporal ERS-1 SAR images can be successfully used for estimating the forest stem volume. The effects of soil moisture variations to ERS-1 SAR results have been analyzed using hydrological soil moisture model and in situ data. The results indicate that the semiempirical model can he used for predicting the soil and canopy moisture variations in ERS-1 images

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:34 ,  Issue: 3 )