Remote Sensing and the Estimation of Ecosystem Parameters and Functions

  • Carol A. Wessman
Part of the Eurocourses: Remote Sensing book series (EURS, volume 4)


Remote sensing provides the synoptic views needed to study ecosystem dynamics occurring at landscape, regional and global scales. The type of biophysical attributes sensible from space will determine how widely ecological extrapolations can be implemented. Monitoring large scale biological processes is contingent on two factors. First, key structural and physiological characteristics of ecosystems must be identified which can be directly linked to underlying processes. Second, the capability to measure these characteristics remotely must exist. Successful estimation of parameters such as absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (APAR), canopy chemistry, and canopy water content will provide insights on changes in seasonal photosynthesis and photosynthate allocation, the susceptibility of plants to disease, rate of litter decomposition, and other changes related to environmental stress. Linkage between small-scale ecological understanding and large-scale dynamics is important and can be accomplished through characterization of reflectance properties at the leaf, canopy, and landscape scales.


Remote Sensing Photosynthetically Active Radiation Vegetation Index Land Cover Type Advance Very High Resolution Radiometer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© ECSC, EEC, EAEC, Brussels and Luxembourg 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol A. Wessman
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology Cooperative Institute for Research in Environ. Sciences (CIRES)University of ColoradoBoulder

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