Estimating Mangrove Canopy Height and Above-Ground Biomass in Everglades National Park with Airbone LiDAR and TanDEM-X Data.

Friday, 19 December 2014
Emanuelle A Feliciano1, Shimon Wdowinski1, Matthew D Potts2, Temilola E Fatoyinbo3 and Seung-Kuk Lee3, (1)University of Miami, Miami, FL, United States, (2)University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, United States, (3)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States
The coastal mangroves forests of Everglades National Park (ENP) are well protected from development. Nevertheless, climate change, hurricanes and other anthropogenic disturbances have affected these intertidal ecosystems. Understanding and monitoring forest structural parameters such as canopy height and above-ground biomass (AGB) are important for the establishment of an historical database for past, present and future ecosystem comparison. Forest canopy height has a well understood and directly proportional correlation with AGB. It is possible to derive it using (1) airborne LiDAR/Laser Scanning (ALS) or (2) space-borne radar systems such as Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) and TanDEM-X (TDX). A previous study of the mangrove canopy height and AGB in the ENP was conducted a decade ago based on ALS data acquired in 2004 in conjunction with SRTM data, which were acquired in 2000 (Simard et al. 2006).

In this study we estimated canopy height and AGB using an ALS dataset acquired in 2012 and TDX data acquired during the years 2012-2014. The ALS dataset was acquired along a 16.5 x 1.5 km swath of mangrove forest with variable canopy height. The sampled areas were representative of mangrove stature and structure in the whole ENP. Analysis of the ALS dataset showed that mangrove canopy height can reach up to ~25 meters close to the coastal ENP waters. Additionally, by comparing our ALS results with those of a previous study by Simard et al. (2006) we identified areas where mangrove height changes greater than ± 3 meters occurred.

To expand the study area to the full ENP mangrove ecosystem we processed single-polarization TDX data to obtain a Digital Canopy Model (DCM) that represents the mangrove canopy height. In order to obtain the true canopy height we calibrated the TDX phase center height with ALS true canopy height. Preliminary results of a corrected single-polarized (HH) TDX scene show that mangrove canopy height can reach up to ~25 meters in the western region of the ENP.