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Summary of Proposal LAN2934

TitleCROP-X BIOPAR 2: Early season high resolution monitoring and modeling of crop biophysical parameters using X-band SAR backscattering
Investigator Villa, Paolo - CNR - IREA, Institute for Electromagnetic Sensing of the Environment
Team Member
Dr Macelloni, Giovanni - CNR, IFAC
PhD Holecz, Francesco - Sarmap, Agriculture
SummaryThe preliminary results of the work carried out in LAN2412 proposal (CROP-X BIOPAR) have shown that during 2014 field campaigns, a crucial part of the growing season, the summer crops early growth phase (from emergence to completion of stem elongation) has been under-sampled. As a consequence, low to intermediate plant size, density and biomass conditions are not enough well represented in LAN2412 dataset. This is particularly true for maize fields, but also for rice and soybean. For this reason, we are proposing a follow-up to LAN2412 aimed at focusing on the early summer season period in the same study area and with homologous monitoring targets, in order to fill the gaps highlighted in the 2014 results cited above and deliver a more comprehensive assessment of backscattering response of summer crops in X-band SAR. CROP-X BIOPAR 2 project aims at: 1) fostering the physical knowledge of interactions between canopy and substrate biophysical parameters and their influence on backscattering response of summer crops agricultural targets in X-band range, with particular emphasis on early growth phase, and 2) integrating such knowledge of biophysical crop parameters into the radiative transfer model tested in LAN2412, refining its inputs over initial plant growth phase. The main objectives of the proposed project are: i) to put forward the investigation carried out by LAN2412 project on TSX multi-temporal data sensitivity to soil condition and moisture, plant biomass, and plant morphology throughout the phenological cycle of different crops (rice, maize and soybean), and ii) to join together 2014 data acquired along the whole summer season (May to September) with fine resolution new data to be collected in mid May-mid June 2015, for accurately monitoring summer crops using multi-temporal TSX data. For these purposes, we need the acquisition of new TSX Stripmap Mode (dual-pol) high resolution data covering mid May-mid June 2015 range with the highest temporal revisit possible (11 days) over the study area already used for developing LAN2412: south-western Lombardy region, northern Italy. In situ measurement campaigns of crop biophysical parameters will be concentrated during the initial growth phase of rice, maize and soybean crop fields surveyed and will be conducted simultaneously with the TerraSAR-X Stripmap scenes, in order to allow a more accurate correlation between the remotely sensed data and those measured on the ground. 2015 campaigns will be carried out over targets homogeneous in characteristics and size with the ones surveyed in 2014 for LAN2412 proposal. During each campaign in situ data will be collected on the characteristics of soil and vegetation characterizing each of the fields surveyed. TSX data and in situ crop biophysical parameters collected in quasi-controlled conditions will be integrated with 2014 data, and used as dataset for further testing the single layer radiative transfer model adapted and tested LAN2412 (Paloscia et al., 2014). This information will be used for model calibration and simulation of crop biophysical parameters at field scale, starting from backscattering response derived from TSX scenes in areas, for the reconstruction of phenology dynamics of major summer crops cultivated in the study area. Finally, biophysical parameters mapping products derived from backscattering models applied to multi-temporal TerraSAR-X scenes will be validated and transferability of the general approach in different case studies or with different SAR data will be assessed. One intermediate and one final report will be provided at 6 months and at the end of the project, in 12 months. The work will be framed in context of two running projects: “Space4Agri” (Lombardy Region-CNR project) and “ERMES” (FP7 Collaborative Project), which will provide funding for both data and field campaign costs.

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