The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XL-8
28 Nov 2014
 | 28 Nov 2014

POLINSAR Coherence-Based Regression Analysis of Forest Biomass Using RADARSAT-2 Datasets

J. Singh, S. Kumar, and S. P. S Kushwaha

Keywords: Backscatter, Complex coherence, Forest biomass, Polarimetric Interferometric SAR (POLINSAR)

Abstract. Forests play a pivotal role in synchronizing earth’s carbon cycle by absorbing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in the form of biomass. Researchers today are trying to understand the climatic variations, especially those occurring due to destruction of forest and its corresponding biomass loss. Hence, quantification of various forest parameters such as biomass is imperative for evaluating the carbon. The objective of this research was to exploit the potential of C-band Radarsat-2 Polarimetric Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (PolInSAR) technique for analysing the relationship between complex coherence and field-estimated aboveground biomass. Association between the backscatter and the aboveground biomass was also established in the process. To serve our objective, Radarsat-2 interferometric pair dated 4th March, 2013 (master image) and 28th March, 2013 (slave image) were procured for the Barkot Reserve Forest region of Dehradun, India. Field sampling was done for 30 plots (31.62 m x 31.62 m) and stem diameter and tree height were measured in each plot. The study emphasized on the application of POLINSAR coherence instead of using conventional method of relying on backscatter values for retrieving forest biomass. Coherence matrices were utilized for generating complex coherence values for different polarization channels and were regressed against field estimated aboveground biomass. Results indicated a negative linear relationship between complex coherence and aboveground biomass with the cross – polarized coherence showing the highest R2 value of 0.71. Further, the backscatter mechanism when studied with respect to aboveground biomass indicated a positive linear relationship between backscatter values and field estimated aboveground biomass with R2 value of 0.45 and 0.61 for slave and master image respectively. The results suggest that PolInSAR technique, in combination with different modelling approaches, can be adopted for estimating forest biomass.