Utilization of bistatic TanDEM-X data to derive land cover information
Forests have significance as carbon sink in climate change. Therefore, it is of high importance to track land use changes as well as to estimate the state as carbon sink. This is useful for sustainable forest management, land use planning, carbon modelling, and support to implement international initiatives like REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation). A combination of field measurements and remote sensing seems most suitable to monitor forests. Radar sensors are considered as high potential due to the weather and daytime independence. TanDEM-X is a interferometric SAR (synthetic aperture radar) mission in space and can be used for land use monitoring as well as estimation of biophysical parameters. TanDEM-X is a X-band system resulting in low penetration depth into the forest canopy. Interferometric information can be useful, whereas the low penetration can be considered as an advantage. The interferometric height is assumable as canopy height, which is correlated with forest biomass. Furthermore, the interferometric coherence is mainly governed by volume decorrelation, whereas temporal decorrelation is minimized. This information can be valuable for quantitative estimations and land use monitoring. The interferometric coherence improved results in comparison to land use classifications without coherence of about 10% (75% vs. 85%). Especially the differentiation between forest classes profited from coherence. The coherence correlated with aboveground biomass in a R² of about 0.5 and resulted in a root mean square error (RSME) of 14%. The interferometric height achieved an even higher correlation with the biomass (R²=0.68) resulting in cross-validated RMSE of 7.5%. These results indicated that TanDEM-X can be considered as valuable and consistent data source for forest monitoring. Especially interferometric information seemed suitable for biomass estimation.