Application of Radarsat imagery on grassland heterogeneity assessment
Heterogeneity, the degree of dissimilarity, is one of the most important and widely applicable concepts in ecology. It is highly related to ecosystem condition and wildlife habitat. In this study, the feasibility of applying Radarsat-1 HH polarization Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) image on heterogeneity study is tested on the Grasslands National Park (GNP) and surrounding pastures. GNP is located in southern Saskatchewan along the international boundary of Canada and the United States, which represents northern mixed grasslands. Fieldwork was conducted at GNP and surrounding pastures from June to July, 2003. Biophysical variables including species composition, cover, biomass, and canopy height were collected from 10 sites. Height heterogeneity index, Shannon’s index, and standard deviation were calculated based on field data. One standard mode Radarsat-1 HH image acquired on August 1, 2003 was used for this study. Parameters from texture analysis and standard deviation of the backscatters are correlated with biophysical parameters to measure grasslands heterogeneity. Results showed that different parameters had various abilities to detect field heterogeneity. Correlation showed the highest ability to explain variation of bareground cover (79%). Mean and contrast can also be utilized to explain the variation of grass biomass and standing dead cover (59% and 56% respectively).
synthetic aperture radar (SAR)
Grasslands National Park
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