© 2020

Remote Sensing of Plant Biodiversity

  • Jeannine Cavender-Bares
  • John A. Gamon
  • Philip A. Townsend
  • Links remote sensing to physiological, ecological and evolutionary knowledge of plant biodiversity

  • Provides a novel perspective and approach for linking hyperspectral data to phylogenetic information that underpins the tree of life

  • Summarizes the importance to humanity of meeting the technological and methodological challenges in monitoring the Earth's biodiversity

Open Access

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxii
  2. Jeannine Cavender-Bares, John A. Gamon, Philip A. Townsend
    Pages 1-12 Open Access
  3. Jeannine Cavender-Bares, Anna K. Schweiger, Jesús N. Pinto-Ledezma, Jose Eduardo Meireles
    Pages 13-42 Open Access
  4. Shawn P. Serbin, Philip A. Townsend
    Pages 43-82 Open Access
  5. Felix Morsdorf, Fabian D. Schneider, Carla Gullien, Daniel Kükenbrink, Reik Leiterer, Michael E. Schaepman
    Pages 83-104 Open Access
  6. Roberta E. Martin
    Pages 105-120 Open Access
  7. José Eduardo Meireles, Brian O’Meara, Jeannine Cavender-Bares
    Pages 155-172 Open Access
  8. Michael Madritch, Jeannine Cavender-Bares, Sarah E. Hobbie, Philip A. Townsend
    Pages 173-197 Open Access
  9. Jesús N. Pinto-Ledezma, Jeannine Cavender-Bares
    Pages 199-223 Open Access
  10. Sydne Record, Kyla M. Dahlin, Phoebe L. Zarnetske, Quentin D. Read, Sparkle L. Malone, Keith D. Gaddis et al.
    Pages 225-253 Open Access
  11. Andrea Paz, Marcelo Reginato, Fabián A. Michelangeli, Renato Goldenberg, Mayara K. Caddah, Julián Aguirre-Santoro et al.
    Pages 255-266 Open Access
  12. Erik A. Bolch, Maria J. Santos, Christiana Ade, Shruti Khanna, Nicholas T. Basinger, Martin O. Reader et al.
    Pages 267-307 Open Access
  13. Angela Lausch, Marco Heurich, Paul Magdon, Duccio Rocchini, Karsten Schulz, Jan Bumberger et al.
    Pages 309-348 Open Access
  14. Anna K. Schweiger
    Pages 385-423 Open Access
  15. John A. Gamon, Ran Wang, Hamed Gholizadeh, Brian Zutta, Phil A. Townsend, Jeannine Cavender-Bares
    Pages 425-447 Open Access
  16. Franziska Schrodt, Betsabe de la Barreda Bautista, Christopher Williams, Doreen S. Boyd, Gabriela Schaepman-Strub, Maria J. Santos
    Pages 449-484 Open Access
  17. Néstor Fernández, Simon Ferrier, Laetitia M. Navarro, Henrique M. Pereira
    Pages 485-501 Open Access
  18. David Schimel, Philip A. Townsend, Ryan Pavlick
    Pages 503-518 Open Access

About this book


This Open Access volume aims to methodologically improve our understanding of biodiversity by linking disciplines that incorporate remote sensing, and uniting data and perspectives in the fields of biology, landscape ecology, and geography. The book provides a framework for how biodiversity can be detected and evaluated—focusing particularly on plants—using proximal and remotely sensed hyperspectral data and other tools such as LiDAR. The volume, whose chapters bring together a large cross-section of the biodiversity community engaged in these methods, attempts to establish a common language across disciplines for understanding and implementing remote sensing of biodiversity across scales.

The first part of the book offers a potential basis for remote detection of biodiversity. An overview of the nature of biodiversity is described, along with ways for determining traits of plant biodiversity through spectral analyses across spatial scales and linking spectral data to the tree of life. The second part details what can be detected spectrally and remotely. Specific instrumentation and technologies are described, as well as the technical challenges of detection and data synthesis, collection and processing. The third part discusses spatial resolution and integration across scales and ends with a vision for developing a global biodiversity monitoring system. Topics include spectral and functional variation across habitats and biomes, biodiversity variables for global scale assessment, and the prospects and pitfalls in remote sensing of biodiversity at the global scale.


Remote detection of biodiversity Retrieving functional traits from spectra Community assembly Spectral diversity Leaf optical properties Hyperspectral field data collection and processing Spatial resolution and integration across scales Micro and macroscopic structure of leaves Detection of disease and decline in forests Ocean and aquatic biodiversity Open Access

Editors and affiliations

  • Jeannine Cavender-Bares
    • 1
  • John A. Gamon
    • 2
  • Philip A. Townsend
    • 3
  1. 1.Ecology, Evolution & BehaviorUniversity of MinnesotaSaint PaulUSA
  2. 2.University of Nebraska–Lincoln, School of Natural ResourcesUniversity of Alberta, Departments of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences and Biological Sciences, Edmonton, AB, CanadaLincolnUSA
  3. 3.Department of Forest and Wildlife EcologyUniversity of Wisconsin–MadisonMadisonUSA

About the editors

Dr. Jeannine Cavender-Bares is a Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota. She earned a Masters at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and a PhD in Biology at Harvard University. Her research focuses on the ecology and evolution of plant function, applying phylogenetics and spectral data to community ecology, and remote sensing of biodiversity. She is committed to advancing international efforts for global monitoring and assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services to aid management efforts towards sustainability.

Dr. John Gamon is a Professor in the Departments of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences and Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta. He also conducts research in Quantitative Remote Sensing at the Center for Advanced Land Management Information Technologies (CALMIT) in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He earned his Masters and his PhD in Botany at the University of California, Davis, and did his Post-Doctoral Research on Remote Sensing and Ecophysiology at the Carnegie institution in Stanford, CA. His research focus include photosynthesis, ecosystem function, productivity, biodiversity, ecoinformatics and sustainability. 

Dr. Philip Townsend is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He earned his PhD in Geography at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His research focuses include physiological remote sensing, imaging spectroscopy, ecosystem ecology, and watershed hydrology. 

Bibliographic information