Assessment of Forest above Ground Biomass Estimation Using Multi-Temporal C-band Sentinel-1 and Polarimetric L-band PALSAR-2 Data

Academic Article


  • Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), as an active sensor transmitting long wavelengths, has the advantages of working day and night and without rain or cloud disturbance. It is further able to sense the geometric structure of forests more than passive optical sensors, making it a valuable tool for mapping forest Above Ground Biomass (AGB). This paper studies the ability of the single- and multi-temporal C-band Sentinel-1 and polarimetric L-band PALSAR-2 data to estimate live AGB based on ground truth data collected in New England, USA in 2017. Comparisons of results using the Simple Water Cloud Model (SWCM) on both VH and VV polarizations show that C-band reaches saturation much faster than the L-band due to its limited forest canopy penetration. The exhaustive search multiple linear regression model over the many polarimetric parameters from PALSAR-2 data shows that the combination of polarimetric parameters could slightly improve the AGB estimation, with an adjusted R2 as high as 0.43 and RMSE of around 70 Mg/ha when decomposed Pv component and Alpha angle are used. Additionally, the single- and multi-temporal C-band Sentinel-1 data are compared, which demonstrates that the multi-temporal Sentinel-1 significantly improves the AGB estimation, but still has a much lower adjusted R2 due to the limitations of the short wavelength. Finally, a site-level comparison between paired control and treatment sites shows that the L-band aligns better with the ground truth than the C-band, showing the high potential of the models to be applied to relative biomass change detection.
  • Authors

  • Huang, Xiaodong
  • Ziniti, Beth
  • Torbick, Nathan
  • Ducey, Mark
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • September 2018
  • Published In

  • Remote Sensing  Journal
  • Keywords

  • PALSAR-2
  • SAR
  • Sentinel-1
  • aboveground biomass
  • forest
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 1424
  • End Page

  • 1424
  • Volume

  • 10
  • Issue

  • 9