Mapping Tropical Rainforest Canopy Disturbances in 3D by COSMO-SkyMed Spotlight InSAR-Stereo Data to Detect Areas of Forest Degradation
Publication from Digital
Remote Sensing, Special Issue Advances in Remote Sensing of Forestry , 1/2013
Assessment of forest degradation has been emphasized as an important issue for emission calculations, but remote sensing based detecting of forest degradation is still in an early phase of development. The use of optical imagery for degradation assessment in the tropics is limited due to frequent cloud cover. Recent studies based on radar data often focus on classification approaches of 2D backscatter. In this study, we describe a method to detect areas affected by forest degradation from digital surface models derived from COSMO-SkyMed X-band Spotlight InSAR-Stereo Data. Two test sites with recent logging activities were chosen in Cameroon and in the Republic of Congo. Using the full resolution COSMO-SkyMed digital surface model and a 90-m resolution Shuttle Radar Topography Mission model or a mean filtered digital surface model we calculate difference models to detect canopy disturbances. The extracted disturbance gaps are aggregated to potential degradation areas and then evaluated with respect to reference areas extracted from RapidEye and Quickbird optical imagery. Results show overall accuracies above 75% for assessing degradation areas with the presented methods.