Remote sensing for biodiversity

Gary N. Geller, Patrick N. Halpin, Brian Helmuth, Erin L. Hestir, Andrew Skidmore, Michael J. Abrams, Nancy Aguirre, Mary Blair, Elizabeth Botha, Matthew Colloff, Terry Dawson, Janet Franklin, Ned Horning, Craig James, William Magnusson, Maria J. Santos, Steven R. Schill, Kristen Williams

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

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Remote sensing (RS)—taking images or other measurements of Earth from above—provides a unique perspective on what is happening on the Earth and thus plays a special role in biodiversity and conservation applications. The periodic repeat coverage of satellite-based RS is particularly useful for monitoring change and so is essential for understanding trends, and also provides key input into assessments, international agreements, and conservation management. Historically, RS data have often been expensive and hard to use, but changes over the last decade have resulted in massive amounts of global data being available at no cost, as well as significant (if not yet complete) simplification of access and use. This chapter provides a baseline set of information about using RS for conservation applications in three realms: terrestrial, marine, and freshwater. After a brief overview of the mechanics of RS and how it can be applied, terrestrial systems are discussed, focusing first on ecosystems and then moving on to species and genes. Marine systems are discussed next in the context of habitat extent and condition and including key marine-specific challenges. This is followed by discussion of the special considerations of freshwater habitats such as rivers, focusing on freshwater ecosystems, species, and ecosystem services.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe GEO handbook on biodiversity observation networks
EditorsMichele Walters, Robert J. Scholes
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9783319272887
ISBN (Print)9783319272863
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2017. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Remote sensing
  • Earth observation
  • Satellite
  • Monitoring
  • Terrestrial
  • Marine
  • Freshwater
  • Ecosystem services


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