Regional Training on Synthetic Aperture Radar for Monitoring of Forest Carbon Stocks



ICIMOD’s SERVIR Hindu Kush Himalaya (SERVIR–HKH) and REDD initiatives, in collaboration with SilvaCarbon, are organizing a five-day regional training on “Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) for Monitoring of Forest Carbon Stocks” in Kathmandu, Nepal, from 30 April to 4 May 2018. The training aims to strengthen the remote sensing competencies of SERVIR hubs and their partners while using SAR data and applications and to provide theoretical and practical knowledge for using SAR data and its applications to monitor forest carbon stocks.

SERVIR has partnered with the SilvaCarbon initiative to build capacity in forest degradation and deforestation mapping. The REDD Initiative works with ICIMOD’s regional member countries (RMCs) to support them in their REDD readiness phase, providing capacity development and technical assistance by implementing south-south learning platforms in the HKH region. 

SAR data is well known, but few in the HKH region are familiar with using it to estimate forest carbon stocks. The process of using SAR datasets to develop forest carbon stocks mapping/monitoring workflows will provide material for a methods and guidance document, which will support national REDD+ Monitoring, Reporting and Verification systems. The training will cover topics such as SAR sensitivity to forest biomass, SAR polarimetry, processing techniques, algorithm development, errors representation, SAR and optical data integration, measuring, and reporting and verification. It will explore new developments in SAR, including new sensors and recently developed automatic processing services.

The training will feature theoretical discussions and hands-on basic processing procedures using data sets from active radar systems to show the limitations and error sources of each processing technique. Participants will extract information from the original SAR observations and integrate SAR data into a Geographic Information System (GIS). Algorithms and scripts on parameteric and non-parameteric models will be shared with participants. 

Expected Outcomes

Participants will work with local data and ground plots to quantify and monitor forest biomass. By the end of the training they are expected to:

  • Understand SAR sensitivity to forest biomass
  • Understand the choice of SAR data for local and regional applications
  • Develop radar-biomass models with local ground or lidar data
  • Apply algorithms to SAR polarimetric imagery
  • Conduct forest carbon mapping and monitoring
  • Perform uncertainty assessment