ALOS PALSAR Data for Tropical Forest Interpretation and Mapping

M.Mahmudur Rahman, Josaphat Tetuko Sri Sumantyo


Tropical forest cover is changing in many parts of the World and got attention to the global community since it is one of the main drivers of climate change. Microwave sensor data is useful to monitor forest coverage since presence of cloud often obscures for a continuous and periodic monitoring by optical sensors. The objective of this investigation was to examine the newly available Advanced Land Observation Satellite (ALOS) PALSAR polarimetric data for forest interpretation and mapping. The study area was located in the tropical forest region of South-eastern Bangladesh. The area covers with tropical wet evergreen and semi-evergreen forest, plantation, mixed bamboo and scrubby re-growth. Forest and forest mosaic could be separated from other land covers (water, agriculture shrimp farms etc). Forest appears in cyan in VV, VH and HV (RGB) composition, while forest mosaic in dark red and cyan. Large-scale plantation is distinguishable from natural vegetation based on texture. The study developed an interpretation key for the study region. Visually interpreted PALSAR image was digitized on-screen to prepare forest cover map. The map was verified with Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) image, which was earlier validated on the ground. The result of this investigation will be useful for interpretation, delineation and mapping of forest cover using PALSAR polarimetric data in similar forest ecosystems.

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