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Summary of Proposal LAN0365

TitleDual-Polarized and Polarimetric Repeat Pass TerraSAR-X to Map and Monitor Tillage Activities on Agricultural Land in Canada
Investigator McNairn, Heather - Government of Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Team Member
Physical Scientist Shang, Jiali - Government of Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Geomatics Analyst Gauthier, Eric - Government of Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Geomatics Analyst Champagne, Catherine - Government of Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Geomatics Analyst Pacheco, Anna - Government of Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Post-Doctoral Fellow Merzouki, Amine - Government of Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Summary

Targeting of best management practices to vulnerable landscapes is required to promote the long term sustainability of the agriculture sector. Frequent tillage of fragile lands promotes soil loss and the degradation of soil quality. Consequently targeting programs and policies to promote best practices on these lands is critical. However, information is needed for effective targeting and monitoring. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is involved in a multi-year research project to develop methods to map land management activities using optical and SAR satellite imagery. Optical data are able to estimate the amount of residue left after harvest and tillage. SAR data help to track tillage activities and to estimate surface roughness associated with tillage disturbance. It is the knowledge of residue cover and tillage disturbance that provides a full picture of land management activities. To date, AAFC has investigated integration of C-Band (RADARSAT-1 and ASAR) data into radar models to estimate both soil moisture and surface roughness. In 2008, a long term research site in eastern Ontario will be imaged with RADARSAT-1, RADARSAT-2, ASAR and PALSAR sensors. This project proposes to include TerraSAR-X data in this acquisition planning in order to address the following objectives:
1.Determine whether repeat-pass TerraSAR-X data can detect the occurrence of tillage activities.
2.Determine whether a differential InSAR approach could be used to detect changes in roughness attributable to soil disturbance from tillage activities.
3.Determine whether dual polarized and fully polarimetric TerraSAR-X can be used to estimate surface roughness.
4.Demonstrate how X-, C- and L-Band data can be integrated to provide improved estimates of surface parameters.

The team will investigate more simplistic approaches to track tillage occurrence, such as changes in backscatter as well as changes in polarimetric variables such as anisotropy and the circular polarization correlation coefficient. Differential InSAR will also be investigated to determine if this method could detect changes in root mean square roughness (rms) attributable to soil disturbance from tillage activities. Integration of TerraSAR-X derived roughness estimates with C- and L-Band data will occur within the radar models currently under investigation.

The team is requesting 8 repeat-pass TerraSAR-X StripMode dual polarization acquisitions and 4 polarimetric acquisitions for the duration of the project. The team wishes to capture one spring and one fall tillage season.

AAFC has funding from two approved research projects, one funded by the AAFC Research Branch and a second by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). RADARSAT-2 data are being provided under an approved CSA-MDA SOAR project.

This research activity is expected to generate a series of conference papers and presentations, as well as peer-reviewed journal publications. In addition, AAFC will complete a final report on research findings and provide a sample of output products to support the promotion of TerraSAR-X.

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