First Results of Monitoring Nature Conservation Sites in Alpine Region by Using Very High Resolution (VHR) X-Band SAR Data
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The exploitation of X-band imagery is currently being used in the field of agriculture for the discrimination of crop types and is also recently addressed for challenging tasks such as surface roughness and soil moisture retrieval. We investigated the potential of multi-temporal COSMO-SkyMed data for the monitoring of Natura 2000 habitats in alpine region. Short revisit time of currently available VHR synthetic aperture radar instruments (like TerraSAR-X, COSMO-SkyMed etc.) and their all-weather (day/night) image acquisition capability provides an additional advantage of continuous monitoring of nature conservation sites in particular which are small in size. Preliminary analysis of VV and VH signals indicates a predominant effect of attenuation with respect to the volume contribution as expected in case of X-band for the reduced penetration capabilities in the canopy. Significant changes in the VV signals are mainly ascribed to grazing/mowing event which reduces the canopy layer and then the signal attenuation. The final results are in agreement with the ancillary data (Normalized Vegetation Index (NDVI)) and management rule record for Natura 2000 habitats present in the alpine region.