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Above Ground Forest Biomass Estimation using Fully Polarimetric / Interferometric Radar Data

Tobias Mette (1), Irena Hajnsek(1) , Konstantinos Papathanassiou(1) , and Reiner Zimmermann(2)

(1) DLR German Aerospace Center, PO Box 1116, 82230 Wessling, Germany
(2) Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, P.O.Box, D-07701 Jena, Germany


The assessment of above ground forest biomass is one of the most demanded parameters for global carbon stock modelling. Its estimation on a global scale is a big challenge for radar remote sensing. Unfortunately, conventional radar remote sensing techniques based on backscattering amplitude evaluation cannot estimate accurately forest biomass above a level of 120 tons/hectare. In this poster presentation we address an alternative methodology for estimating forest biomass from remote sensing data based on primary forest parameter estimates from single frequency polarimetric-interferometric radar data. As already demonstrated in the last years, single baseline polarimetric interferometry allows accurate quantitative estimation of key forest parameters as forest height mean forest extinction and underlying terrain topography. Based on these primary forest parameters an above ground biomass estimation methodology - that potentially allows the estimation of biomass levels up to 400 tons/hectare - is addressed and discussed. The proposed methodology is applied on fully polarimetric repeat pass interferometric data acquired with DLR's experimental airborne system at L- and P-band over the Fichtelgebirge test area in Germany. The estimation performance is tested against accurate and detailed ground measurements. Finally, advantages and limitations with respect to local and global scale biomass estimation are critically discussed.


Full paper


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