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Earth observation satellite sensors for biodiversity monitoring: potentials and bottlenecks

Kuenzer, Claudia, Ottinger, Marco, Wegmann, Martin, Guo, Huadong, Wang, Changlin, Zhang, Jianzhong, Dech, Stefan, Wikelski, Martin
International journal of remote sensing 2014 v.35 no.18 pp. 6599-6647
animals, biodiversity, biologists, ecologists, languages, monitoring, remote sensing, scientists, vegetation
Many biologists, ecologists, and conservationists are interested in the possibilities that remote sensing offers for their daily work and study site analyses as well as for the assessment of biodiversity. However, due to differing technical backgrounds and languages, cross-sectorial communication between this group and remote-sensing scientists is often hampered. Hardly any really comprehensive studies exist that are directed towards the conservation community and provide a solid overview of available Earth observation sensors and their different characteristics. This article presents, categorizes, and discusses what spaceborne remote sensing has contributed to the study of animal and vegetation biodiversity, which different types of variables of value for the biodiversity community can be derived from remote-sensing data, and which types of spaceborne sensor data are available for which time spans, and at which spatial and temporal resolution. We categorize all current and important past sensors with respect to application fields relevant for biologists, ecologists, and conservationists. Furthermore, sensor gaps and current challenges for Earth observation with respect to data access and provision are presented.