Japanese scientists used phased-array type L-band SAR (PALSAR) high-resolution multi-polarization low-noise sensors aboard the Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) to generate maps of changing global forest cover for 2007-2010.
The scientists applied region-specific backscatter thresholds to produce a global map of forest and non-forest cover, from which they generated maps of forest losses and gains (see accompanying figure). Results showed that the natural forest cover in Sumatra, for example, is decreasing.
The researchers publicly released four-year PALSAR mosaics and forest/non-forest data with 25-meter resolution. For more information or links to the data, visit http://spie.org/x113746.xml.