Apr 1, 2020

Detecting tropical selective logging with SAR data requires a time series approach

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Matthew G HethcoatShaun Quegan


Selective logging is the primary driver of forest degradation in the tropics and reduces the capacity of forests to harbour biodiversity, maintain key ecosystem processes, sequester carbon, and support human livelihoods. While the preceding decade has seen a tremendous improvement in the ability to monitor forest disturbances from space, advances in forest monitoring have almost universally relied on optical satellite data from the Landsat program, whose effectiveness is limited in tropical regions with frequent cloud cover. Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data can penetrate clouds and have been utilized in forest mapping applications since the early 1990s, but no study has exclusively used SAR data to map tropical selective logging. A detailed selective logging dataset from three lowland tropical forest regions in the Brazilian Amazon was used to assess the effectiveness of SAR data from Sentinel-1, RADARSAT-2 and PALSAR-2 for monitoring tropical selective logging. We built Random Forest models in an effort to classify pixel-based differences in logged and unlogged areas. In addition, we used the BFAST algorithm to assess if a dense time series of Sentinel-1 imagery displayed recognizable shifts in pixel values after selective ...Continue Reading

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