Remote sensing of forest structure using LiDAR and SAR

Balzter, Heiko; Burwell, Claire; Rowland, Clare S. ORCID:; Tansey, Kevin. 2008 Remote sensing of forest structure using LiDAR and SAR. In: 8th Seminar on Remote Sensing and GIS Applications in Forest Engineering, Curitaba, Brazil, 7-8 Oct 2008.

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Forests play an important role in the global climate system because they take up and store large amounts of carbon in the form of biomass. This paper examines techniques of retrieving structural forest information using the remote sensing techniques of LiDAR and SAR. Both sensing methods can provide information on the vertical structure of forests. Certain LiDAR instruments can record a vertical waveform of reflected radiation from the forest which can be related to vertical biomass distribution. Forest height is a biophysical parameter that can be used to estimate aboveground forest biomass using allometric equations. Interferometric and polarimetric SAR instruments at different wavelengths can deliver information on terrain elevation under forest, tree canopy height and biomass. Examples of airborne imaging LiDAR (Optech), spaceborne profiling LiDAR (ICESAT-GLAS), airborne interferometric SAR (ESAR) and spaceborne interferometric SAR (ALOS-PALSAR) are presented. In particular, L-band and X-band SAR have been investigated for use to generate a forest height and biomass map without the need for an external Digital Terrain Model. For denser forests a longer wavelength such as P-band would be required.

Item Type: Publication - Conference Item (Paper)
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biogeochemistry > CC01B Land-surface Feedbacks in the Climate System > CC01.5 Datasets for land-surface science
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Parr
Additional Keywords: Syynthetic Aperture Radar, Light Detection and Ranging, Airborne Laser Scanning, forest biomass, tree height
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 29 Oct 2008 12:58 +0 (UTC)

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