Retrival of forest biomass and biomass change with spaceborn SAR

The objective of the research programme is to investigate and evaluate X-, C-, L- and P-band SAR data from the spaceborne systems TanDEM-X, Sentinel-1, ALOS PALSAR and ALOS-2 PALSAR-2, and airborne systems E-SAR and SETHI for primarily biomass and tree height estimations and their change over time, both in boreal and hemi-boreal forests. The change studies will include detection and mapping of clear-cuts, thinning cuttings, wind-thrown damages and forest growth. The programme will focus on using SAR techniques including Polarimetric SAR, Interferomteric SAR (InSAR) and Polarimetric InSAR, and radargrammetry. As a first step, methods and algorithms will be developed at plot level (radius of ≥ 10 m) relating the forest variables estimated from field data to SAR data at two test sites in Sweden. As a second step, the accuracy assessment will be done at stand level. Finally, a regional up-scaling will be performed to cover large parts of two counties in Sweden. SAR data will be evaluated separately or in combination. In addition, an enhanced biomass map covering Sweden will be produced and evaluated based on PALSAR-2 backscatter data, separately and in combination with Sentinel-2. At one test site, a tower equipped with a radar sensor (L- and P-band) will be deployed, which enable a deeper understanding of how weather and seasonal effects affect SAR backscatter. To our knowledge this will be the first tower of its kind in boreal forest. The proposed programme will last two years and includes funding for a new Ph.D. student at SLU


Lars Ulander (contact)

Professor at Earth and Space Sciences, Radar Remote Sensing

Erik Blomberg

Doktorand at Earth and Space Sciences, Radar Remote Sensing

Leif Eriksson

Docent at Earth and Space Sciences, Radar Remote Sensing

Maciej Soja

Projektassistent at Earth and Space Sciences, Radar Remote Sensing


Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)

Uppsala, Sweden


Swedish National Space Board

Funding years 2015–2016

Related Areas of Advance and Infrastructure

Sustainable Development

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Basic Sciences

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