RCMRD staff members attended the SAR training organized by the SERVIR-West Africa Hub and AGRHYMET Regional Centre. Phoebe Odour the Land cover and GHG Lead and Dr. Kenneth Mubea the Capacity Development were in the training on “synthetic aperture radar (SAR) for mapping of forest degradation and deforestation” at AGRHYMET Regional Centre in Niamey, Niger from January 29 to February 2 2018.
The training aims to strengthen the remote sensing competencies of SERVIR hubs and their partners on the use of SAR data and applications. SERVIR-West Africa conducted the training in collaboration with Silva Carbon. The training further aimed at providing sufficient theoretical and practical knowledge to the participants from SERVIR-hubs (West Africa and Eastern and Southern Africa) and partners from CILSS/AGRHYMET member countries to effectively use SAR data and its applications to mapping of forest degradation and deforestation.
After the training, the 30 course participants would be able to understand the concepts and general applications of SAR remote sensing data and understand its potential and limitations for mapping of deforestation and forest degradation.
Course facilitators were Rebecca Miller (NASA SCO), Franz Meyer (University of Alaska Fairbanks) and Josef Kellndorfer (Earth Big Data, LLC). Training components included remote sensing capabilities of SAR data and applications. The training also covered both theory and concepts of imaging radar system and practical of SAR data handling and analysis.
The training begun with an introduction to microwave remote sensing as well as a discussion of the concepts of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). Participants were introduced to typical SAR data types with their related applications and explained how modern SAR data can be searched and accessed.
Although the potential of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data is well recognized, the current level of experience in operational use of SAR data for forest mapping/monitoring and more specifically, biomass estimation is limited in SERVIR regions. The development of forest mapping/monitoring and biomass estimation workflows using SAR datasets and blended SAR-optical methods, that will feed into a Methods and Guidance document (MGD). Ultimately, the MGD will become a major contribution to support national REDD+ Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) systems.
Furthermore, the participants were shown some procedures of how to integrate SAR data into Geographic Information System and extract information from the original SAR observations. Furthermore, the participants covered topics in forest application including formation of time series data, SAR image scaling, noise reductions, visualization, accuracy of measurements, sources of error, fusion of optical and SAR data and the role of SAR data in MRV system.
Opening ceremony of the SAR training (from left, NASA SCO, D.G (AGRHYMET), USAID-WA, Chief of Party (SERVIR-WA)
Group photo of the participants