The European Space Agency (ESA) is currently implementing the BIOMASS mission as 7th Earth Explorer satellite. BIOMASS will provide for the first time global forest aboveground biomass estimates based on P-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery. This paper addresses an often overlooked element of the data processing chain required to ensure reliable and accurate forest biomass estimates: accurate identification of forest areas ahead of the inversion of radar data into forest biomass estimates.The use of the P-band data from BIOMASS itself for the classification into forest and non-forest landcover types is assessed in this paper. For airborne data in tropical, hemi-boreal and boreal forests we demonstrate that classification accuracies from 90 up to 97% can be achieved using radar backscatter and phase information. However, spaceborne data will have a lower resolution and higher noise level compared to airborne data and a higher probability of mixed pixels containing multiple land cover types.Therefore, airborne data was reduced to 50 m, 100 m and 200 m resolution. The analysis revealed that about 50–60% of the area within the resolution level must be covered by forest to classify a pixel with higher probability as forest compared to non-forest. This results in forest omission and commission leading to similar forest area estimation over all resolutions. However, the forest omission resulted in a biased underestimated biomass, which was not equaled by the forest commission. The results underline the necessity of a highly accurate pre-classification of SAR data for an accurate unbiased aboveground biomass estimation.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2017|
- P-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR)
- Aboveground biomass