RADAR BACKSCATTER AND OPTICAL TEXTURAL INDICES FUSION FOR PINE PLANTATION STRUCTURE MAPPING
Keywords: SAR, SPOT, Fusion, Forestry, Texture, Estimation
Abstract. One of the most important concerns of remote sensing research has been the quantification of forest structure variables. This issue has been investigated using different remotely sensed data including optical, radar and lidar data. Moreover, the utility of multisensor data has been examined for this task. Radar images are being considered as one of the available tools for forest studies; however, some constrains of this data such as speckle noise and the high sensitivity of this data to topography prevent it from being widely utilized for forest structure mapping. A possible solution is to integrate radar data with optical data to improve the accuracy of the biophysical parameter estimations; however, the results of the common fusion method does not show significant improvement if the efficacy of one of the datasets is much lower than the other one. In this study multi-date ALOS/PALSAR data with HH and HV polarizations were used along with SPOT-5 textural indices derived from the grey level co-occurrence matrix (GLCM), and the subtract and sum histogram (SADH), calculated in different orientations and window sizes for retrieval of a Pinus radiata plantation at plot-level in NSW, Australia. In order to overcome the deficiency of the common fusion method, a new fusion method called ratio fusion is examined for fusion of radar and optical data. The results showed that the estimation of biophysical parameters including mean height, mean DBH, stand volume, basal area and stocking using SPOT-5 textural indices was more accurate than that derived using the backscatter data derived from multi-date ALOS/PALSAR images. Also, the accuracy of estimation of these forest structure parameters increases when the ratio of the SPOT-5 textural indices to the radar backscatter is used for this task.