SAR-based Deforestation Assessment, Espiritu Santo Island, Vanuatu
With support of the SPC/GIZ Regional Project “Climate Protection through Forest Conservation in the Pacific Island Countries’”, Vanuatu is currently developing its Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) to the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) of the World Bank. The Government of Vanuatu and GIZ agreed to develop REDD+ building on subnational approaches and to pilot the national REDD+ mechanism on Santo Island. As outlined in the RPP, the deforestation monitoring will partially build on Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Technology, which is particular suitable to detect land cover and land use in clouded regions. Together with GIZ Philippines, the SPC/GIZ Regional Project participates in the 3rd Kyoto and Carbon (K&C 3) Science Program of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Within this program, Vanuatu is granted access to pre-processed SAR data of the ALOS Palsar sensor and technical training in deforestation detection.
This document describes the steps to derive the 2007 – 2010 deforestation patterns for Espiritu Santo Island processing ALOS Palsar data. Section 1 introduces the data sets. Section 2 presents the approach how to detect forest cover change based on the gamma naught (γ0) backscatter coefficient. While section 3 provides an overview over the processing chain as a whole, section 4 describes each processing step in detail. Section 5 discusses potential limitations due to data and processing constraints and provides guidance how to improve the assessment.