Remote Sensing, Vol. 13, Pages 3042: Use of TanDEM-X and SRTM-C Data for Detection of Deforestation Caused by Bark Beetle in Central European Mountains
Remote Sensing doi: 10.3390/rs13153042
The availability of global digital elevation models (DEMs) from multiple time points allows their combination for analysing vegetation changes. The combination of models (e.g., SRTM and TanDEM-X) can contain errors, which can, due to their synergistic effects, yield incorrect results. We used a high-resolution LiDAR-derived digital surface model (DSM) to evaluate the accuracy of canopy height estimates of the aforementioned global DEMs. In addition, we subtracted SRTM and TanDEM-X data at 90 and 30 m resolutions, respectively, to detect deforestation caused by bark beetle disturbance and evaluated the associations of their difference with terrain characteristics. The study areas covered three Central European mountain ranges and their surrounding areas: Bohemian Forest, Erzgebirge, and Giant Mountains. We found that vertical bias of SRTM and TanDEM-X, relative to the canopy height, is similar with negative values of up to −2.5 m and LE90s below 7.8 m in non-forest areas. In forests, the vertical bias of SRTM and TanDEM-X ranged from −0.5 to 4.1 m and LE90s from 7.2 to 11.0 m, respectively. The height differences between SRTM and TanDEM-X show moderate dependence on the slope and its orientation. LE90s for TDX-SRTM differences tended to be smaller for east-facing than for west-facing slopes, and varied, with aspect, by up to 1.5 m in non-forest areas and 3 m in forests, respectively. Finally, subtracting SRTM and NASA DEMs from TanDEM-X and Copernicus DEMs, respectively, successfully identified large areas of deforestation caused by hurricane Kyril in 2007 and a subsequent bark beetle disturbance in the Bohemian Forest. However, local errors in TanDEM-X, associated mainly with forest-covered west-facing slopes, resulted in erroneous identification of deforestation. Therefore, caution is needed when combining SRTM and TanDEM-X data in multitemporal studies in a mountain environment. Still, we can conclude that SRTM and TanDEM-X data represent suitable near global sources for the identification of deforestation in the period between the time points of their acquisition.
Free full text: Read More