An effective method for a posteriori ortho-rectification of continental-scale synthetic aperture radar (SAR) mosaics using a digital elevation model (DEM) has been developed. The method is based on homologous feature matching between the DEM and a simulated SAR image. The simulated image is derived from the radar-viewing geometry, topographic information and contextual information provided by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), shorelines and water bodies database (SWBD) and GeoCover Landsat mosaics. Two large L-band SAR mosaics (the global boreal forest mapping (GBFM) Siberia mosaic and the global rain forest mapping (GRFM) Africa mosaic), assembled from the Japanese Earth Resources Satellite-1 (JERS-1) data, were accurately geo-referenced and ortho-rectified. The GRFM Africa mosaic was also radiometrically corrected for topographic effects. The accurate co-registration with the DEM allows for improved classification methods based on the combination of SAR backscatter with terrain features. Comparison of the revised GBFM and GRFM mosaics with a forthcoming set of continental-scale mosaics assembled from the Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) Phased Array L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR) data will offer a unique possibility for change detection studies over the Tropical and Boreal forest zones with a temporal spacing of some 10 years.