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3D Remote Sensing for Forests – Progress and Perspective


This is an article collection published in Forest Ecosystems.

Guest Edited by Yong Pang, Qinghua Guo, Huaguo Huang, Lin Cao, John Kershaw, Manuela Hirschmugl and Xinlian Liang

Forests exhibit distinct vertical stratification, geographical variation, biological diversity, and are dynamic systems. To disentangle and understand these complex features, managers and scientists rely on efficient and reliable assessments of forest resources across spatial scales. The rise of three-dimensional (3D) observation technology has changed the application potential of remote sensing of forests. 3D forest observations include those from terrestrial, mobile, UAV, and satellite platforms using both active and passive sensors. Initially, laser scanning (LS), or Lidar, was the main data source. Now, multispectral and panchromatic images from airborne or satellite platforms are comparable with LS in terms of forest attributes estimation over large areas, and are expected to be applied practically in the near future. Meanwhile, the information that can be extracted is still limited and not yet adequately accurate for many research and management needs. Further development is required to improve the accuracy and reliability of the mensuration and the attributes estimated from these new technologies.

This Thematic Series covers a range of topics related to 3D remote sensing in forest environments, from terrestrial to spaceborne platforms, from active to passive sensors, and their applications across diverse forested landscapes. Review papers summarizing past and ongoing progresses and original research papers reflecting recent developments are particularly welcome, including studies about thematic information extraction, new techniques for forest mensuration, new missions, as well as new algorithms and applications.

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