Canadian Forest Service Publications

Wide area forest height mapping using Tandem-X standard mode data. 2015. Chen, H.; Goodenough, D.G.; Cloude, S.R.; Padda, P. Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS), 2015 IEEE International. pp. 3782-3785.

Year: 2015

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 36530

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1109/IGARSS.2015.7326647

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In this paper we report results of a study aimed at assessing the potential for using the standard mode of TanDEM-X (single polarization HH, single baseline and single-pass radar interferometry) to estimate forest canopy heights over two Canadian forest test sites, where supporting LIDAR data is available for validation. We first apply two coherence correction factors to TanDEM-X data, one for signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) based on noise statistics from TanDEM-X metadata and the other on a system correction based on bare surface reference scattering. We then use coherence amplitude of the interferogram and interferometric wavenumber kz to estimate forest canopy heights. The radar heights are validated against a LIDAR CHM (Canopy Height Model) reference. A simple linear scaling of the TanDEM-X height products based on a relatively small LIDAR calibration patch is used to extend the canopy height products over a mosaic of multiple swaths for very wide area forest height mapping using radar coherence.

Plain Language Summary

In this paper we report the results of a study using Germany’s TanDEM-X radar remote sensing images to estimate forest canopy heights over two CFS’ forest test sites. We acquired TanDEM-X radar data from the German Aerospace Centre and developed and tested a new algorithm for forest canopy height retrieval using these radar images. We validated our radar forest canopy heights against LIDAR references and demonstrated the potential for wide-area forest canopy height mapping by forming a mosaic of multiple TanDEM-X radar images in Hinton, Alberta. Our research with TanDEM-X radar data contributes to the development of forest canopy height information over large forest regions, especially in Canada’s northern forests, which is valuable for forest biomass estimation. This work is aligned with the CFS efforts for responsible resource development and information to manage Canada’s forest lands and natural resources.