Canadian Forest Service Publications

Forest Canopy Height Estimation Using Tandem-X Coherence Data. 2016. Chen, H.; Cloude, S.R.; Goodenough, D.G. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, VOL. 9, NO. 7.

Year: 2016

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 37635

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1109/JSTARS.2016.2582722

† This site may require a fee

Mark record


In this paper, we report results of a study aimed at assessing the potential for using X-band single-pass radar interferometric coherence for forest canopy height estimation. We use datasets from the Tandem-X satellite pair collected over Canadian forest test sites, where supporting lidar data are available for validation. We first employ dual-copolarized modes to assess the potential of polarimetric interferometry for forest canopy height retrieval. We show that for this forest type, single polarization modes have better properties, including much improved spatial coverage.We develop a new algorithm for single polarization data and validate the canopy height products against lidar.We then extend the canopy height product over a mosaic of multiple swaths to demonstrate the potential for very wide area forest height mapping using radar coherence.

Plain Language Summary

In this paper we report the results of our study aimed at assessing the potential for using operational spaceborne radar satellite technology to estimate forest canopy height over large areas in Canada. For this, we acquired German’s Tandem-X radar remote sensing data from the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and develop new algorithms for quantitative estimation of forest canopy height products at medium spatial resolutions. We validated the radar canopy height products against LIDAR and then extend the height products over a mosaic of multiple radar swaths to demonstrate the potential for very wide area forest height mapping 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 boreal forest systems, 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.