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TitleForest Landcover Information Content of Multi-frequency Multi-polarized SAR Data of a Boreal Forest
AuthorAhern, F; Landry, R; Paterson, J S; Boucher, D; McKirdy, I
SourceProceedings of the Seventeenth Canadian Symposium on Remote Sensing, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; 1995 p. 537-549
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20041315
AbstractThis paper introduces preliminary results from a visual interpretation of multi-frequency, polarimetric airborne SAR data, of a Canadian boreal forest near Whitecourt, Alberta. The paper compares the forestry information content among nine channels of simultaneously collected SAR data.

The location of the forestry study site is approximately 40 km north of Whitecourt Alberta, Canada. Whitecourt is situated approximately 200 km. northwest of Edmonton, Alberta. Several airborne and field data collection programs have occurred at this site in the past. The study site consist of hardwood and softwood stands, areas of regeneration from forest fires, clearcuts, roads, and other human disturbances.

The NASA/JPL airborne SAR system (AIRSAR) collected eight frames of polarimetric C (5.3 Ghz), L (1.48 Ghz) and P-band (0.44 Ghz) SAR over the Whitecourt area on May 14, 1991. For this preliminary forestry study nine enhanced SAR images have been produced from each of eight frames of AIRSAR data. The data set consists of two like polarizations, HH and VV and one cross-polarization, HV, at C,L and P-bands. Data were reproduced in black and white and composite-colour format for visual interpretation.

Significant forestry backscatter differences occur in most of the nine channels of SAR. Backscatter from the C- band like-polarized (HH and VV) data appears the most similar. C-band appears to be sensitive to forestry species, while P-band seems to respond to forest biomass. L-band images seem to have characteristics intermediate between P- and C-bands images. Wetlands were particularly bright in the P-VV images, possible due to the double bounce interaction with the vertical emergent vegetation. The P-VV band appears to have the best penetration capabilities. Small clearings were visible in mature pine and spruce canopies at P-VV, but not at P-HH. A satellite SAR with C-HH, C-HV, L-HH, L-HV and L-VV bands would provide very complete forest landcover information from a single date data set.


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