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Title: Estimating forest parameters from synthetic aperture radar : a case study of Thetford Forest
Author: Skinner, L.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2003
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Approximately one quarter of the worlds population 'heavily' rely upon forest resources for food, shelter or income. This level of dependence had led to the most intense period of deforestation in recent history. Furthermore, the future effect of the current forest practices in terms of the environmental, social and commercial consequences is unknown. The international community have recognised this fact, yet there is still no consensus on possibly ways to approach the problem. One of the fundamental issues which has caused this lack of agreement are the difficulties in obtaining an accurate assessment of the current state of the worlds forest and a future method to monitor their development. This thesis is concerned with the use of spaceborne and airborne synthetic aperture radar sensors for the retrieval of information related to forest inventory practices. The main objective is to provide a quantitative set of results which may be used to define the accuracy and range of forest parameters which may be derived from SAR data sources. In particular, three main areas has been focused upon, forest extent, forest volume and forest height. For the derivation of forest extent, a combination of spaceborne and airborne SAR data sets were analysed to provide thematic maps of forest, non-forest and multi-species areas. The main analysis focused upon calculating separability measures for different SAR data sources with a variety of sensor related properties (such as wavelength, polarisation, resolution, etc.). The retrieval of forest timber volume was approached in a similar fashion. A semi-empirical model was used to characterise the SAR backscatter and coherence response. The model was then inverted to allow estimates of the timber volume to be made. The critical sensor parameters which affected the accuracy and range of the estimates were identified and discussed in terms of the user requirements (i.e. Forestry Commission). Finally, the use of SAR interferometric techniques for the retrieval of forest stand height were also analysed for a number of spaceborne (ERS and JERS) and airborne SAR (ESAR) systems. Estimates of stand height were limited to the airborne interferometric data sets due to the long revisit time of the spaceborne sensors.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available