The study focuses on land cover detection using ERS C-band SAR data. Project background is the parameterization of distributed hydrologicalwatershed models. The actual land cover type is an important input parameter for the physical and chemical modelling of the watershedhydrology and plays a significant role in the GIS-based delineation of the distributed modelling entities that are used to preserve the spatialheterogeneity of catchments within hydrological models.<p>The study goal was to clarify the feasibility of SAR-based land cover detection in a hilly watershed. Besides the frequently performedmultitemporal analysis of backscatter intensity and intensity changes, the phase content of complex SAR data provides an additional potentialfor environmental applications, which is still poor investigated in regional studies (Schwäbisch 1997). Hence, both backscatter intensity andinterferometric coherence information derived from PRI and SLC datasets of the ERS-1/2 tandem mission (1995/96) was used to address theformulated questions.<p>Investigation area is the River Bröl catchment. It is part of the Rhine drainage system and located in the Renish Slate Mountains, CentralUplands, Germany. The area covers approx. 216 km2 and has a hilly relief with terrain heights varying from 65 to 400 meters. Numeroushydrological field studies have been carried out in the area (Bende 1997, Flügel 1995) resulting in a comprehensive hydro-meteorologicaldatabase available for reference purposes (Klenke 1999a).