Free Synthetic Aperture Radar Handbook Available

Caitlin Dempsey


User can access this free handbook which provides insight into how different Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) methodologies can be used for forest monitoring and biomass estimation.  The handbook is a collaborative effort between the SERVIR program (USAID-NASA initiative) and SilvaCarbon.  

The growing availability of open SAR data from such sources as Sentinel-1 has made using radar data a feasible option for land cover mapping and monitoring.  Of growing interest is the use of SAR data in the tropics where cloud-cover can make detecting land use activities challenging.

SAR can be used for different aspects of forest monitoring, reporting, and verification.  The objective of the SAR Handbook is to provide a comprehensive instruction on accessing and using SAR data.  The handbook covers:

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 exemplifes 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.

Free weekly newsletter

Fill out your e-mail address to receive our newsletter!

Each chapters covers SAR topics: SAR basics, SAR for forest change detection, forest height estimation, biomass estimation, mangrove monitoring, and sampling design and includes theoretical basics and applied exercises.  The entire handbook can be dowloaded or just individual chapters, trainings and one-pagers. The access page also contains links to the tutorial data and supplemental materials. The one-pagers highlight important concepts presented in the SAR handbook.

Chapter one takes a look at the how and why of developing the SAR handbook.  Chapter two reviews the basics radar remote sensing and introduces SAR processing. Chapter three looks at how SAR can be applied to monitor deforesting and forest degradation.  Chapter four looks how using freely available SAR data for estimating forest height.  Chapter five reviews how to use SAR to estimate forest biomass.  Chapter six is focused on the use of SAR for wetland monitoring.  Chapter seven goes over sampling design.  The final chapter, chapter eight takes a look at the future potential of SAR applications.


See Also

Photo of author
About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.