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High Spatial Resolution Remotely Sensed Data for Ecosystem Characterization

This peer-reviewed resource from Bioscience magazine presents technical aspects of remote sensing for images at high spatial resolution. Characterization of ecosystem structure, diversity, and function is increasingly desired at finer spatial and temporal scales than have been derived in the past. Many ecological applications require detailed data representing large spatial extents, but these data are often unavailable or are impractical to gather using field-based techniques. Remote sensing offers an option for collecting data that can represent broad spatial extents with detailed attribute characterizations. Remotely sensed data are also appropriate for use in studies across spatial scales, in conjunction with field-collected data. This article presents the pertinent technical aspects of remote sensing for images at high spatial resolution (i.e., with a pixel size of 16 square meters or less), existing and future options for the processing and analysis of remotely sensed data, and attributes that can be estimated with these data for forest ecosystems.

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