The use of a tree growth model to provide statistical information about the microwave scattering components of boreal-type forests (in this case, Scots pine and Norwegian spruce), as an alternative to data obtained through intensive fieldwork, is described. The total backscatter from six test stands at C- and L-band frequency for three polarization combinations (HH, VV and HV) was predicted. Differences between measured C- and L-band data from a polarimetric airborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (EMISAR) and simulated backscatter values compare favourably with previous studies, with like- and cross-polarization differences generally less than 2.5 dB. Modelled backscatter values were consistently less than those observed. A likely explanation for such a discrepancy is the unrealistic manner in which the model incorporates the spatial distribution of tree needles.