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Open AccessReview

In Situ/Remote Sensing Integration to Assess Forest Health—A Review

Department Monitoring & Exploration Technologies, Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research—UFZ, Permoserstr. 15, D-04318 Leipzig, Germany
German Environment Agency, Wörlitzer Platz 1, D-06844 Dessau-Roßlau, Germany
Chair of Forest Utilization, Technische Universität Dresden, Pienner Str. 19, D-01737 Tharandt, Germany
German Aerospace Center, Space Administration, Koenigswinterer Str. 522-524, D-53227 Bonn, Germany
Bavarian Forest National Park, Department of Conservation and Research, Freyunger Straße 2, 94481 Grafenau, Germany
MTA-SZIE Plant Ecological Research Group, Szent István University (SZIU), 2100, Gödöllő, Páter Károly u. 1. and SZIU Technical Department, 1118 Budapest, Villányi út 29-43, Hungary
Department Computational Landscape Ecology, Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research—UFZ, Permoser Street 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Lars T. Waser and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Remote Sens. 2016, 8(6), 471;
Received: 4 March 2016 / Revised: 11 May 2016 / Accepted: 30 May 2016 / Published: 3 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Forest Health)
PDF [818 KB, uploaded 3 June 2016]


For mapping, quantifying and monitoring regional and global forest health, satellite remote sensing provides fundamental data for the observation of spatial and temporal forest patterns and processes. While new remote-sensing technologies are able to detect forest data in high quality and large quantity, operational applications are still limited by deficits of in situ verification. In situ sampling data as input is required in order to add value to physical imaging remote sensing observations and possibilities to interlink the forest health assessment with biotic and abiotic factors. Numerous methods on how to link remote sensing and in situ data have been presented in the scientific literature using e.g. empirical and physical-based models. In situ data differs in type, quality and quantity between case studies. The irregular subsets of in situ data availability limit the exploitation of available satellite remote sensing data. To achieve a broad implementation of satellite remote sensing data in forest monitoring and management, a standardization of in situ data, workflows and products is essential and necessary for user acceptance. The key focus of the review is a discussion of concept and is designed to bridge gaps of understanding between forestry and remote sensing science community. Methodological approaches for in situ/remote-sensing implementation are organized and evaluated with respect to qualifying for forest monitoring. Research gaps and recommendations for standardization of remote-sensing based products are discussed. Concluding the importance of outstanding organizational work to provide a legally accepted framework for new information products in forestry are highlighted. View Full-Text
Keywords: remote sensing; in situ sampling; sensor networks; monitoring; standardization; forest health; sentinel satellites; Copernicus remote sensing; in situ sampling; sensor networks; monitoring; standardization; forest health; sentinel satellites; Copernicus

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Pause, M.; Schweitzer, C.; Rosenthal, M.; Keuck, V.; Bumberger, J.; Dietrich, P.; Heurich, M.; Jung, A.; Lausch, A. In Situ/Remote Sensing Integration to Assess Forest Health—A Review. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 471.

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