Decrease of L-band SAR backscatter with biomass of dense forests

Abstract : Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) is one of the most promising remote sensors to map forest carbon. The unique spaceborne and long-wavelength SAR data currently available are L-band data, but their relationship with forest biomass is still controversial, particularly for high biomass values. While many studies assume a complete loss of sensitivity above a saturation point, typically around 100 t.ha− 1, others assume a continuous positive correlation between SAR backscatter and biomass. The objective of this paper is to revisit the relationship between L-band SAR backscatter and dense tropical forest biomass for a large range of biomass values using both theoretical and experimental approaches. Both approaches revealed that after reaching a maximum value, SAR backscatter correlates negatively with forest biomass. This phenomenon is interpreted as a signal attenuation from the forest canopy as the canopy becomes denser with increasing biomass. This result has strong implications for L-band vegetation mapping because it can lead to a greater-than-expected under-estimation of biomass. The consequences for L-band biomass mapping are illustrated, and solutions are proposed.
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https://hal.umontpellier.fr/hal-01902422
Contributeur : Yannick Brohard <>
Soumis le : mardi 23 octobre 2018 - 15:21:28
Dernière modification le : samedi 26 octobre 2019 - 01:46:58

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Stéphane Mermoz, Maxime Réjou-Méchain, Ludovic Villard, Thuy Le Toan, Vivien Rossi, et al.. Decrease of L-band SAR backscatter with biomass of dense forests. Remote Sensing of Environment, Elsevier, 2015, 159, pp.307 - 317. ⟨10.1016/j.rse.2014.12.019⟩. ⟨hal-01902422⟩

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