Hyper-temporal C-band SAR for baseline woody structural assessments in deciduous savannas

Russell Main, Renaud Mathieu, Waldo Kleynhans, Konrad Wessels, Laven Naidoo, Gregory P. Asner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Savanna ecosystems and their woody vegetation provide valuable resources and ecosystem services. Locally calibrated and cost effective estimates of these resources are required in order to satisfy commitments to monitor and manage change within them. Baseline maps of woody resources are important for analyzing change over time. Freely available, and highly repetitive, C-band data has the potential to be a viable alternative to high-resolution commercial SAR imagery (e.g., RADARSAT-2, ALOS2) in generating large-scale woody resources maps. Using airborne LiDAR as calibration, we investigated the relationships between hyper-temporal C-band ASAR data and woody structural parameters, namely total canopy cover (TCC) and total canopy volume (TCV), in a deciduous savanna environment. Results showed that: the temporal filter reduced image variance; the random forest model out-performed the linear model; while the TCV metric consistently showed marginally higher accuracies than the TCC metric. Combinations of between 6 and 10 images could produce results comparable to high resolution commercial (C- & L-band) SAR imagery. The approach showed promise for producing a regional scale, locally calibrated, baseline maps for the management of deciduous savanna resources, and lay a foundation for monitoring using time series of data from newer C-band SAR sensors (e.g., Sentinel1).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number661
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • ASAR
  • C-band
  • Canopy cover
  • Canopy volume
  • Hyper-temporal
  • SAR
  • Savanna

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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