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An Effective Method for InSAR Mapping of Tropical Forest Degradation in Hilly Areas

Carstairs, H; Mitchard, ETA; McNicol, I; Aquino, C; Burt, A; Ebanega, MO; Dikongo, AM; ... Disney, M; + view all (2022) An Effective Method for InSAR Mapping of Tropical Forest Degradation in Hilly Areas. Remote Sensing , 14 (3) , Article 452. 10.3390/rs14030452. Green open access

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Abstract

Current satellite remote sensing methods struggle to detect and map forest degradation, which is a critical issue as it is likely a major and growing source of carbon emissions and biodiveristy loss. TanDEM-X InSAR phase height (hϕ) is a promising variable for measuring forest disturbances, as it is closely related to the mean canopy height, and thus should decrease if canopy trees are removed. However, previous research has focused on relatively flat terrains, despite the fact that much of the world’s remaining tropical forests are found in hilly areas, and this inevitably introduces artifacts in sideways imaging systems. In this paper, we find a relationship between hϕ and aboveground biomass change in four selectively logged plots in a hilly region of central Gabon. We show that minimising multilooking prior to the calculation of hϕ strengthens this relationship, and that degradation estimates across steep slopes in the surrounding region are improved by selecting data from the most appropriate pass directions on a pixel-by-pixel basis. This shows that TanDEM-X InSAR can measure the magnitude of degradation, and that topographic effects can be mitigated if data from multiple SAR viewing geometries are available.

Type: Article
Title: An Effective Method for InSAR Mapping of Tropical Forest Degradation in Hilly Areas
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3390/rs14030452
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14030452
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 MDPI. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: InSAR; TanDEM-X; forest degradation; biomass change; synthetic aperture radar; SAR; carbon cycle; satellite data; earth observation; DLR; X-band
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10142434
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