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Monitoring, classification, and characterization of interior Alaska forests using AIRSAR and ERS-1 SAR

  • Author(s): Williams, CL
  • Rignot, E
  • et al.

At the Bonanza Creek Experimental Forest (BCEF), past ecological research has been directed at forest successional processes on the floodplain of the Tanana River and adjacent uplands. Research at the Bonanza Creek site continues on the mosaic of forests, shrublands, and wetlands in a wide variety of successional stages on the Tanana floodplain. This paper reviews research since 1988 into the capabilities of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) for monitoring, classification, and characterization of these forests using radar remote sensing and modelling techniques. Classifications of successional stages, obtained by use of different classifiers on multi-frequency and multi-polarimetric AIRSAR data, are contrasted; these classifications have been used to predict classification accuracies obtained with ERS-1 data, and to estimate the utility of an ERS-1 and RADARSAT combination for classification. Forest classifications, used in combination with ground-truth data for more than 50 forest stands, are used to summarize the distribution of biomass on the landscape. This will allow projections of future biomass. Monitoring of forest phenology, seasonality of flooding, and freeze-thaw transitions is ongoing. Also, direct monitoring of dominant tree species is demonstrating diurnal variation and interrelationships among environmental, physiological, and backscatter measurements. © 1995, Cambridge University Press. All rights reserved.

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