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Assessment of JERS-1 SAR for monitoring secondary vegetation in Amazonia: II. Spatial, temporal, and radiometric considerations for operational monitoring

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While the role of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) in operational tropical forest monitoring has yet to be defined, it is nevertheless a critical technology for improving our understanding of deforestation and secondary vegetation in the tropics. In order to understand the role of this technology in operational monitoring a systematic evaluation, relative to other existing technologies of its performance is required. In this paper we evaluate the spatial, temporal, and noise constraints of JERS SAR data for mapping and monitoring biomass of secondary vegetation in Rondonia, Brazil. Our results indicate that the variability in stand estimates of biomass is high and that the source of the majority of the variability is not from speckle and the intrinsic texture of the secondary vegetation but likely due to differences in environmental conditions resulting in differential background scattering properties. Multitemporal analysis significantly improves biomass estimates to the point where it is possible to map changes in biomass. Slight reductions in the variability in estimates of normalized radar cross-section greatly improve biomass estimation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-04-10

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