A review of radar remote sensing for biomass estimation

S. Sinha, C. Jeganathan, L. K. Sharma, M. S. Nathawat
2015 International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology  
Forest plays a vital role in regulating climate through carbon sequestration in its biomass. Biomass reflects the health and environmental conditions of a forest ecosystem. In context to the climate change mitigation mechanisms like REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation), an extensive forest monitoring campaign is especially important. Remote sensing of forest structure and biomass with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) bears significant potential for mapping and
more » ... tanding forest ecological processes. Limitations of the conventional forest inventory procedures, like the extensive cost, labor and time, can be overcome through integrated geospatial techniques. Optical sensor or SAR data are suitable for extracting information about simple and homogeneous forest stand sites. However, optical sensors face serious limitations, specifically in tropical regions, like the cloud cover that SAR can overcome along with targeting saturation and penetration aspects. Simultaneous use of spectral information and image texture parameters improves the biomass assessment over undulating terrain and in radical conditions. Also, synergic use of multi-sensor optical and SAR has better potential than single sensor. Interferometric (InSAR) and polarimetric (PolSAR) SAR or a combination of the both (Pol-InSAR) serves as effective alternatives. These techniques could serve as valuable methods for biomass assessment of heterogeneous complex biophysical environments. However, SAR data have its own limitations and complexities. Identifying, understanding and solving major uncertainties in different stages of the biomass estimation procedure are critical. In this regard, the current study provides a review of radar remote sensing-based studies in forest biomass estimation.
doi:10.1007/s13762-015-0750-0 fatcat:wokozm3mezg23deabimwgcbm4a