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Report No. 23

All-weather Land-cover Change Mapping System for the Wet Tropics

Research Report
Catherine Ticehurst, Stuart Phinn and Alex Held
ISBN 0 86443 692 0

This publication outlines a methodology using satellite images collected by a radar system for mapping land-cover changes in tropical environments. Radar sensors are 'active' imaging systems, providing their own source of illumination, and thus can be reliably used in (cloud and smoke prone) tropical environments. For vegetation, radar systems provide information relating to structure, such as height and density of trees.

The study demonstrates the utility of imaging radar data (from the Japanese JERS satellite) as a surrogate for, and add-on to Landsat and aerial photographic imagery in particular for change detection analysis in the rainforests of the Wet Tropics Bioregion of far north Queensland.

Two important types of change, when examining remotely sensed images of forests, are seasonal change and forest clearing/regrowth. To test how well radar is able to detect land-cover change, Landsat and JERS data sets from two different dates for the Wet Tropics (Daintree River/Cape Tribulation region and Hinchinbrook Island/Tully region) were examined. The results show that imaging radar is able to detect regions of forest clearing as well as seasonal influences on vegetation and land cover.

Download file is a PDF document that is designed to be printed using the duplex feature on your printer (i.e. double-sided).



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