The role of remote sensing and human–environment interactions (HEI) research in social and environmental decision-making has steadily increased along with numerous technological and methodological advances in the global environmental change field. Given the growing inter- and trans-disciplinary nature of studies focused on understanding the human dimensions of global change (HDGC), the need for a synchronization of agendas is evident. We conduct a bibliometric assessment and review of the last two decades of peer-reviewed literature to ascertain what the trends and current directions of integrating remote sensing into HEI research have been and discuss emerging themes, challenges, and opportunities. Despite advances in applying remote sensing to understanding ever more complex HEI fields such as land use/land cover change and landscape degradation, agricultural dynamics, urban geography and ecology, natural hazards, water resources, epidemiology, or paleo HEIs, challenges remain in acquiring and leveraging accurately georeferenced social data and establishing transferable protocols for data integration. However, recent advances in micro-satellite, unmanned aerial systems (UASs), and sensor technology are opening new avenues of integration of remotely sensed data into HEI research at scales relevant for decision-making purposes that simultaneously catalyze developments in HDGC research. Emerging or underutilized methodologies and technologies such as thermal sensing, digital soil mapping, citizen science, UASs, cloud computing, mobile mapping, or the use of “humans as sensors” will continue to enhance the relevance of HEI research in achieving sustainable development goals and driving the science of HDGC further.
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