Potential of texture from {SAR} tomographic images for forest aboveground biomass estimation

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) texture has been demonstrated to have the potential to improve forest biomass estimation using backscatter. However, forests are 3D objects with a vertical structure. The strong penetration of SAR signals means that each pixel contains the contributions of all the scatterers inside the forest canopy, especially for the P-band. Consequently, the traditional texture derived from SAR images is affected by forest vertical heterogeneity, although the influence on texture-based biomass estimation has not yet been explicitly explored. To separate and explore the influence of forest vertical heterogeneity, we introduced the SAR tomography technique into the traditional texture analysis, aiming to explore whether TomoSAR could improve the performance of texture-based aboveground biomass (AGB) estimation and whether texture plus tomographic backscatter could further improve the TomoSAR-based AGB estimation. Based on the P-band TomoSAR dataset from TropiSAR 2009 at two different sites, the results show that ground backscatter variance dominated the texture features of the original SAR image and reduced the biomass estimation accuracy. The texture from upper vegetation layers presented a stronger correlation with forest biomass. Texture successfully improved tomographic backscatter-based biomass estimation, and the texture from upper vegetation layers made AGB models much more transferable between different sites. In addition, the correlation between texture indices varied greatly among different tomographic heights. The texture from the 10 to 30 m layers was able to provide more independent information than the other layers and the original images, which helped to improve the backscatter-based AGB estimation.


Potential of texture from {SAR} tomographic images for forest aboveground biomass estimation
Publication Type
Journal Article
Year of Publication
Liao Z, He B, Quan X
International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
Date Published
Submitted on 21 October 2021