Mapping forests in monsoon Asia with ALOS PALSAR 50-m mosaic images and MODIS imagery in 2010
Extensive forest changes have occurred in monsoon Asia, substantially affecting climate, carbon cycle and biodiversity. Accurate forest cover maps at fine spatial resolutions are required to qualify and quantify these effects. In this study, an algorithm was developed to map forests in 2010, with the use of structure and biomass information from the Advanced Land Observation System (ALOS) Phased Array L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR) mosaic dataset and the phenological information from MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MOD13Q1 and MOD09A1) products. Our forest map (PALSARMOD50 m F/NF) was assessed through randomly selected ground truth samples from high spatial resolution images and had an overall accuracy of 95%. Total area of forests in monsoon Asia in 2010 was estimated to be ~6.3 × 106 km2. The distribution of evergreen and deciduous forests agreed reasonably well with the median Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) in winter. PALSARMOD50 m F/NF map showed good spatial and areal agreements with selected forest maps generated by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA F/NF), European Space Agency (ESA F/NF), Boston University (MCD12Q1 F/NF), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO FRA), and University of Maryland (Landsat forests), but relatively large differences and uncertainties in tropical forests and evergreen and deciduous forests.