Report: The SAR Handbook (NASA et al 2019)

Source: NASA et al


The motivation for this Handbook is to translate knowledge gained from decades of research in SAR into practical guidance to countries on how SAR can be used for different aspects of forest monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) for REDD+. There has been growing interest in applying this technology to land cover mapping and monitoring in the tropics, where seasonal and permanent cloud cover make detecting deforestation and forest degradation very challenging.

Radar data historically was known for being costly and complicated to use. However, with new datasets becoming available and open source, such as SENTINEL -1 from the European Space Agency (ESA), the fusion of optical and radar data becomes an option for sustainable and replicable methods. The drawback is the lack of historical radar data to include in historical baselines. However, the sooner SAR data is included in National Forest Monitoring Systems, the sooner it will be considered historical data in the future.

The handbook walks you through the principles of SAR data applications from the beginning, starting from how to access the data and perform basic processing techniques. It describes how to use SAR data to map deforestation and forest degradation and how to estimate forest height. It also provides guidance on the best methods for using SAR to map and monitor forest biomass. It includes a chapter that exemplifies the use of radar for mapping mangrove forests.

It concludes with the important issue of choosing a sampling design while using SAR data for biomass estimation.