Background and Objectives

The three objectives of the Forest DRAGON 2 project are

1) to further develop, improve and extent the products of the Forest DRAGON 1 project,

2) to serve the observational priority of ESA's Living Planet Programme for the land surface and specifically ecosystem structure, and

3) to include new and innovative topics, i.e. exploration of synergistic EO data from radar, optical and hyper-spectral satellites and investigation of multi-temporal and multi-scale options.

For Objective 1) the following approach is chosen:

Validation of the two Forest DRAGON 1 base maps by

i) following the GLOBCOVER-approach (i.e. exploiting freely available Landsat and Quickbird archives and including the new VCF change product),

ii) cooperation with FAO's Forest Resource Assessment through the coordinator's TerraSAR-X DLR-project FRA-SAR-2010, and

iii) intensifying contacts with the Chinese collaborators to

iv) generate as the final product a validated forest structure change map 1995-2005-2010.

For Objective 2) an observational priority are ecosystem characteristics like extent, physical structure, patterns and phenology, biome types, land cover and land use characteristics, as well as the identification and monitoring of reactions to major natural and anthropogenic disturbances, like fires, insects and droughts.
Hence, the following approaches is chosen:

- SAR will be analysed for ecosystem physical structure using known semi-empirical relationships between backscatter intensities, backscatter time series, polarisation ratios, polarimetric decomposition and biomass; optical data and their products (i.e. NDVI-derivatives, FPAR, land cover maps) will be applied to map ecosystem patterns and phenology,

- SAR and optical products jointly will be explored to improve existing land cover maps and to monitor change.

For Objective 3) the approach includes the exploitation of multi-parameter radar data (specifically multi-frequency, -polarisation and -angle acquisitions), new hyper-spectral data from space, synergistic optical-radar analysis and investigation of multi-(and hyper-)temporal datasets and multi-resolution up- respective down-scaling exercises.


The deliverable for Objective 1) is a validated forest structure change map 1995-2005-2010. The product will be generated in close cooperation with and will be exchanged with DRAGON 2 carbon proposals.

The deliverable for Objective 2) is a disturbance identification database, which contains flags for structural (and where identifiable land use) changes, phenological trends, natural and anthropogenic disturbances. This work will be linked to DRAGON 2 proposals for rice and crop mapping, fire monitoring and atmospheric pollutants.

The deliverables for Objective 3) are several methodological procedures (i.e. a Sentinel-Procedure) for monitoring forest ecosystems using different sensors (optical, radar) at different scales (50 m or better and 150 m) in the next decade in accordance with GEOSS requirements.

Data sources are ESA, Chinese and Third Party EO sensors according to the DRAGON 2 Announcements of Opportunity. The large range of low resolution data at 500-1000 m (ENVISAT ASAR GM, MODIS VCF etc.) is also considered for generation of integrated forest products to be used in ecological modelling.