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Special Issue "Assessment of Trees Outside Forests (TOF) Using Remote Sensing"

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Remote Sensing".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 March 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Christoph Kleinn

Professor of Forest Inventory and Remote Sensing, Forest Inventory and Remote Sensing, Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Büsgenweg 5, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +49 551 39 33472
Interests: forest monitoring; national forest inventories; forest mensuration; sampling and modelling for forest inventory
Guest Editor
Dr. Sebastian Schnell

Thünen Institute of Forest Ecosystems, Alfred-Möller-Straße 1, Haus 41/42, 16225 Eberswalde, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: sampling and modelling; remote sensing; forest inventory; small area estimation
Guest Editor
Dr. Philip Beckschäfer

Forest Inventory and Remote Sensing, Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Büsgenweg 5, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Northwest German Forest Research Institute (NW-FVA), Grätzelstr. 2, 37079 Göttingen, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Interests: remote sensing; forest and tree inventory; assessment of phenology and forest structural variables

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Why are we opening a Special Issue of Remote Sensing on the assessment of Trees Outside Forests (TOF)?

The answer is simple: it is generally acknowledged that trees have important economic and ecological functions—and we find trees not only in but also outside forests, both on natural and managed lands. The interest in TOF has actually been increasing constantly over the past decades both from a resource point of view and from an ecological perspective.

However, while there are many global and large area studies on forest cover, there does not appear to be many such studies on TOF. For example, Zomer et al. (2016) provided a global estimate for one type of TOF, agroforestry systems, and Schnell et al. (2015a) compared estimated national level forest and non-forest tree biomasses from FAO-assisted national forest inventories in 11 countries, where trees were both recorded on forest and non-forest lands. From these studies, the overall relevance of TOF became very obvious, although regionally considerably different. Publications on approaches that deal with the specific characteristics of the scattered, sometimes scarce resource TOF, are not abundant (e.g., Kleinn 2000, Schnell et al. 2015b) and do not focus on the potential of recent developments in remote sensing.

The planned Special Issue of Remote Sensing focusses on remote sensing to support the assessment of TOF. Contributions on any challenge in that context are welcome: purely technical remote sensing issues, issues of field sampling, modelling, harmonizing definitions, defining specific objectives, combination with other forest or landscape inventories, etc.

Interested authors are encouraged to submit their original manuscripts in the context of the assessment of TOF. We kindly ask the authors to carefully and explicitly explain in their manuscripts the definition of “forest“ that they apply – from which the definition of “TOF“ automatically derives. It is certainly helpful to illustrate with examples the “class of TOF“ considered for the assessment.

Please take into account that we are exclusively dealing here with biophysical definitions of “forest” (please refer, for example, to the definitions in the FAO forest classification, which base essentially on the criteria “minimum crown cover”, “minimum area”, “minimum height at maturity in situ” and “absence of other land uses than forest”), and explicitly not with legal definitions or general geographical definitions of land use classes.

We look forward to receiving your submissions.


  1. Kleinn, C. On large area inventory and assessment of trees outside forests. Unasylva 2000, 51, 3–10.
  2. Schnell, S; Altrell, D; G Ståhl and Kleinn, C. The contribution of trees outside forests to national tree biomass and carbon stocks-a comparative study across three continents. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 2015, 187, 4197.
  3. Schnell S, C Kleinn and G Ståhl . Monitoring trees outside forests: a review. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 2015, 187, 600.
  4. Zomer, R; Neufeldt, H; Jianchu, X; Ahrends, A; Bossio, D; Trabucco, A; van Nordwijk, M; Wang, M. Global tree cover and biomass carbon on agricultural land: the contribution of agroforestry to global and national carbon budgets. Nature 2016, doi:10.1038/srep29987
Prof. Christoph Kleinn
Dr. Sebastian Schnell
Dr. Philip Beckschäfer
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Trees outside forests
  • Remote sensing
  • Tree inventories
  • Climate convention
  • Biodiversity convention
  • Landscape assessment
  • Forest landscape restoration
  • Tree cover in urban and rural landscapes

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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