ABSTRACTThis paper examines a simple geometrical method for forest height estimation using single-baseline single frequency polarimetric synthetic aperture radar interferometry (PolInSAR) data. The suggested method estimates the forest biophysical parameters based on the varied extinction random volume over ground (VERVoG) model with top layer extinction greater than zero. We approach the problem using a geometrical method without the need for any auxiliary data or prior information. The biophysical parameters, i.e. top layer extinction value, forest height and extinction gradient are estimated in two separate stages. In this framework, the offset value of the extinction is estimated in an independent procedure as a function of a geometrical index based on the signal penetration in the volume layer. As a result, two remaining biophysical parameters can be calculated in a geometrical way based on the observed volume coherence. The proposed algorithm was evaluated using the L-band PolInSAR data of the European Space Agency (ESA) BioSAR 2007 campaign. A pair of experimental SAR (ESAR) images was acquired over the Remningstorp test site in southern Sweden. The selected images were employed for the performance analysis of the proposed approach in the forest height estimation application based on the VERVoG model. The experimental result shows that the proposed inversion method based on the VERVoG model with top layer extinction greater than zero estimates the volume height with an average root mean square error (RMSE) of 2.08 m against light detection and ranging (LiDAR) heights. It presents a significant improvement of forest height accuracy, i.e. 4.1 m compared to the constant extinction RVoG model result, which ignores the forest heterogeneity in the vertical direction.

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