Radar backscattering model for multilayer mixed-species forests

Pan Liang, Mahta Moghaddam, L. E. Pierce, Richard M. Lucas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (SciVal)


A multilayer canopy scattering model is developed for mixed-species forests. The multilayer model provides a significantly enhanced representation of actual complex forest structures compared to the conventional canopy-trunk layer models. Multilayer Michigan Microwave Canopy Scattering model (Multi-MIMICS) allows overlapping layer configuration and a tapered trunk model applicable to forests of mixed species and/or mixed growth stages. The model is the first-order solution to a set of radiative transfer equations and includes layer interactions between overlapping layers. It simulates SAR backscattering coefficients based on input dimensional, geometrical, and dielectric variables of forest canopies. The Multi-MIMICS is an efficient realization of actual forest structures and can be shaped for specific interest of forest parameters. We present the model's application and validation in the paper. The model is parameterized using data collected from a 220,000-ha area of forests in central Queensland, Australia. Fifteen 50/spl times/50 m test sites representing the general forest diversity and growth stages are chosen as ground truth. Polarimetric backscattering airborne SAR (AIRSAR) data of the same area are acquired to validate the model simulations. The model predicts SAR backscattering coefficients of the test areas. Simulation results show a good agreement with AIRSAR data at most frequencies and polarizations. The simulated backscattering coefficient from the multilayer model and the standard MIMICS are also compared and significant improvements are observed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2612-2625
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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