The alarming increase in the magnitude and spatiotemporal patterns of changes in composition, structure and function of forest ecosystems during recent years calls for enhanced cross-border mitigation and adaption measures, which strongly entail intensified research to understand the underlying processes in the ecosystems as well as their dynamics. Remote sensing data and methods are nowadays the main complementary sources of synoptic, up-to-date and objective information to support field observations in forest ecology. In particular, analysis of three-dimensional (3D) remote sensing data is regarded as an appropriate complement, since they are hypothesized to resemble the 3D character of most forest attributes. Following their use in various small-scale forest structural analyses over the past two decades, these sources of data are now on their way to be integrated in novel applications in fields like citizen science, environmental impact assessment, forest fire analysis, and biodiversity assessment in remote areas. These and a number of other novel applications provide valuable material for the Forests
special issue “3D Remote Sensing Applications in Forest Ecology: Composition, Structure and Function”, which shows the promising future of these technologies and improves our understanding of the potentials and challenges of 3D remote sensing in practical forest ecology worldwide.
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