Evaluation of the Potential of ALOS PALSAR L-band Quadpol Radar Data for the Retrieval of Growing Stock Volume in Siberia
Because of the massive wood trade, illegal logging and severe damages due to fires, insects and pollution, it is necessary to monitor Siberian forests on a large-scale, frequently and accurately. One possible solution is to use synthetic aperture radar (SAR) remote sensing technique, in particular by combining polarimetric technique. In order to evaluate the potentiality of ALOS PALSAR L-band full polarimetric radar for estimation of GSV, a number of polarimetric parameters are investigated to characterise the polarisation response of forest cover. Regardless of the weather conditions, a high correlation (R=-0.87) is achieved between polarimetric coherence and GSV. The coherence in sparse forest is always higher than in dense forest. The coherence level and the dynamic range strongly depends on the weather conditions. The four-component polarimetric decomposition method has been applied to the ALOS PALSAR L-band data to compare the decomposition powers with forest growing stock volume (GSV). Double-bounce and volume scattering powers show significant correlation with GSV. The correlation between polarimetric decomposition parameters and GSV is enhanced if the ratio of ground-to-volume scattering is used instead of considering polarimetric decomposition powers separately. Two empirical models have been developed that describe the ALOS PALSAR L-band polarimetric coherence and ground-to-volume scattering ratio as a function of GSV. The models are inverted to retrieve the GSV for Siberian forests. The best RMSE of 38 m³/ha and R²=0.73 is obtained based on polarimetric coherence. On the other hand, using the ratio of ground-to-volume scattering the best retrieval accuracy of 44 m³/ha and R²=0.62 is achieved. The best retrieval results for both cases are observed under unfrozen condition. Saturation effects for estimated GSV versus ground-truth GSV are not observed up to 250 m³/ha.