Regional Training on Synthetic Aperture Radar for Mapping of Forest Degradation and Deforestation

Date 12 Feb 2018 to 16 Feb 2018
Venue ICIMOD Headquarters, Nepal
Contact Persons Rajesh Bahadur Thapa
Type Training
Programmes SERVIR-HKH, MENRIS, Transboundary Landscapes, REDD+

The SERVIR-Hindu Kush Himalaya (SERVIR-HKH) and REDD+ initiatives of ICIMOD, in collaboration with SilvaCarbon, are organizing a five-day regional training on “Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) for Mapping of Forest Degradation and Deforestation” in Kathmandu, Nepal from 12–16 February 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 has been partnering with the SilvaCarbon initiative to leverage its capacity building efforts on mapping forest degradation and deforestation. The REDD+ initiative is working with the regional member countries of ICIMOD to support them in their REDD+ readiness phase. The focus of collaboration in REDD+ is providing capacity development and technical assistance by implementing South-South learning platforms in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region.

SAR data is well recognized, but the current level of experience in the operational use of SAR data for forest mapping and monitoring, and more specifically, biomass estimation, is limited in SERVIR regions. Hence, the development of forest mapping/monitoring and biomass estimation workflows using SAR datasets and blended SAR-optical methods will be a major contribution and feed into a Methods and Guidance Document (MGD). Ultimately, the MGD will support national REDD+ Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) systems.

The five-day regional training will cover:

  • Theory and concepts of SAR and imaging radar system
  • Introduction to SAR data, types and roles of SAR data in an MRV system
  • Introduction to microwave remote sensing
  • Searching and accessing modern SAR data

Based on the above theoretical background, discussions and hands-on basic processing procedures using relevant datasets from active radar systems will be conducted to outline the limitations and error sources for each processing technique. This will enable the participants to extract information from the original SAR observations and integrate SAR data into Geographic Information System (GIS).

Throughout the training, topics like forest application, including formation of time series data, SAR image scaling, noise reductions, visualization, measurement accuracy, error sources, and optical fusion will be covered, among other topics. The training will explore new developments in SAR, including upcoming SAR sensors and recently developed automatic processing services.


The training aims to provide theoretical and practical knowledge to effectively use SAR data and its applications to map forest degradation and deforestation.

Expected Outcomes

Upon the completion of the training, the participants will have a better understanding of the concepts and general applications of SAR remote sensing data and its potential/limitations for mapping of deforestation and forest degradation.

Expected Participants

Participants will be from SERVIR hubs (HKH, Mekong, and ESA), and partners from ICIMOD regional member countries. Basic knowledge in Remote Sensing and GIS is prerequisite.