Twenty-first century remote sensing technologies are revolutionizing the study of tropical forests

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


The fields of tropical biology and conservation face significant transformations due to rapid technological developments in remote sensing. Other fields (e.g. Archeology) are experiencing this momentous change even more rapidly. In this article, we review some of the challenges that the fields of tropical biology and conservation face during the first quarter of the twenty-first century from the perspective of various remote sensing technologies, and discuss the transformations that they may bring to these disciplines. In addition, we review two emerging technologies driving paradigm changes in the nexus of ecology, remote sensing, and analytics: near-surface remote sensing and Wireless Sensor Networks. These two technologies, arising from the eScience paradigm, offer unique opportunities to integrate field observations at hyper-temporal and spatial resolutions that were not possible as recently as 5 years ago.


  • Arturo Sanchez-Azofeifa
  • Jose Antonio Guzmán
  • Carlos A. Campos
  • Saulo Castro
  • Virginia Garcia-Millan
  • Joanne Nightingale
  • Cassidy Rankine
External organisations
  • University of Alberta
  • National Physical Laboratory
Research areas and keywords


  • hyperspectral remote sensing, LiDAR, multispectral remote sensing, near-surface remote sensing, wireless sensor networks
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-619
Number of pages16
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sep 1
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes