In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Remote Sensing

  • Introduction
  • Journals
  • Utility of Remote Sensing in Ecology
  • Identification of Individual Species
  • Marine Ecosystems

Ecology Remote Sensing
Rhett L. Mohler, John A. Harrington, Jr., Douglas G. Goodin
  • LAST REVIEWED: 26 August 2013
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 August 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199830060-0105


The use of remote sensing in ecology has increased dramatically in the last few decades, mainly due to an increase in the availability of sources of remotely sensed data. Typically, remote sensing is useful in ecology due to its ability to cover large areas efficiently, its ability to consistently and efficiently monitor change, and its ability to provide information from inaccessible areas. The primary uses of remote sensing in ecology are to provide land cover and land use information, to quantify biophysical variables that are linked with ecological processes and biodiversity, and to characterize biodiversity directly, all of which can be (and are) performed in the temporal dimension as well. Clearly, the benefits of remotely sensed data to ecology are many, and this relationship will only grow stronger as new data sources, techniques, and scientific questions are developed. The purpose of this bibliography is to provide an overview of the relation between remote sensing and ecology by presenting the most relevant works on the subject. This essay includes broad overviews of the subject as well as works that focus on more specific topics such as technique, method, sensor, and so on. With a few exceptions, works that approach the concepts from either the ecological or remote sensing perspective exclusively are not included in favor of works that blend the two fields of study. For example, a study on the technical fundamentals of multispectral image classification (even though it is very common in ecological studies) is not likely to be included unless it is written in the context of ecological study. Similarly, a study discussing the ecological implications of net primary production (NPP) is more likely to make the cut if it is focused on NPP from remotely sensed data.

General Overviews

The articles in this section are important because each provides a broad overview of the use of remote sensing in ecology. They are ideal for scholars seeking a broad introduction to this diverse topic and for those interested in how their specific topic fits into the larger body of literature. Contributions in the section on Foundational Works were published before (and include) the important papers in Kerr and Ostrovsky 2003 and Turner, et al. 2003, while the section on Contemporary Directions includes works published after this point.

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