A Review of Remote Sensing of Forest Biomass and Biofuel: Options for Small-Area Applications

GIScience & Remote SensingGIScience & Remote Sensing, Volume 48, Number 2 / April-June 2011

Colin J. Gleason and Jungho Im

“Forests have served as a primary reservoir of terrestrial carbon and have long been investigated in the global climate change context. In addition, increased exposure in the public domain of climate change issues has caused greater interest in the role of forests in the global energy balance. Researchers have been investigating the use of forests as carbon sequestration systems, as well as using forest products for conversion into biofuels. Remote sensing has been widely utilized as a cost-effective tool to provide forest baseline data (e.g., biomass) for effective and efficient forest management. Forest biomass is one of the forest parameters that is widely investigated using remote sensing because biomass is directly related to the productivity of forests and provides valuable information that is necessary for understanding ecosystem functions and carbon cycling. In this paper, we review remote sensing of forest biomass, focusing on recent advances and applications (published after 2000). We also explore the challenges of using forest biomass as biofuel, a topic that is often neglected in remote sensing papers.”