Assessing fine beam RADARSAT-1 backscatter from a white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa (Gaertner)) canopy
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To determine whether spaceborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), specifically fine beam RADARSAT-1 C-band, could be used to provide quantitative data on white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa (Gaertner)) forests, backscatter coefficients (σ°) were examined in relation to structural parameter data collected from plots located in a mangrove forest of the Mexican Pacific. Significant coefficients of determination were recorded between the backscatter coefficients and the logarithms of both Leaf Area Index (LAI) and mean stem height at two incident angles for both the dry and wet seasons. The highest coefficients of determination for LAI (r2 = 0.60) and mean stem height (r2 = 0.72) were observed using the shallower (~40°) and steeper (~47°) incident angles, respectively. No significant relationships were recorded between the backscatter coefficients and either stem density, basal area or mean DBH. Given the results of this investigation, it is recommended that for cloud covered regions, fine beam RADARSAT-1 data could be used by resource managers when they require a quick method for surveying structural damage to mangroves resulting from both natural and anthropogenic causes.
KeywordsBackscatter coefficients Biophysical parameters LAI Mangroves Mexico RADARSAT-1 SAR
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