Biodiv Sci ›› 2018, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (8): 789-806.DOI: 10.17520/biods.2018054

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Advances in remote sensing application for biodiversity research

Qinghua Guo1,2,*(), Tianyu Hu1,2, Yuanxi Jiang3, Shichao Jin1,2, Rui Wang1, Hongcan Guan1,2, Qiuli Yang4, Yumei Li1,2, Fangfang Wu1,2, Qiuping Zhai1,2, Jin Liu1,2, Yanjun Su1,2   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
    3 Urban Construction School, Beijing City University, Beijing 100083
    4 College of Resource and Environment Sciences, Xinjiang University, Urumqi 830046
  • Received:2018-07-22 Accepted:2018-07-24 Online:2018-08-20 Published:2018-09-27
  • Contact: Guo Qinghua
  • About author:# Co-first authors


Since rapid human population growth, overconsumption of natural resources by human activities and climate change, loss and extinction of species is increasing, and biodiversity become an important global issue. Traditional ground-based biodiversity researches focus on the species or community, which can not provide necessary information for biodiversity conservation and assessment at a large scale. Since the advantages in spatial coverage and time series, remote sensing is very useful in large-scale biodiversity monitoring, mapping and assessment. According to the height of the platform, remote sensing platforms can be classified into satellite remote sensing, airborne remote sensing and near-surface remote sensing, which can obtain biodiversity information at different spatial scales. The purpose of this study is to review the recent advances of application of different remote sensing platforms for biodiversity research. We focus on the following aspects, such as observation methods, research scale, and analyze advantages and limitations of different remote sensing platforms. Finally, we summary the future application of remote sensing in biodiversity research. From the literature statistics result, we found that satellite platform were used more frequently in biodiversity research than other remote sensing platform. Due to the high flight cost, the biodiversity researches used airborne remote sensing was fewer than the researches used satellite. Near-surface remote sensing includes the UAV platform and the ground-based platform, which is an emerging remote sensing platform and hotspot in remote sensing of biodiversity. Compared to satellite and airborne remote sensing platforms, the near-surface remote sensing platform can directly observe the individuals and can directly obtain information from species or population. Although there are some limitations in these three platforms, we believe that remote sensing technology can better serve biodiversity conservation and assessment from different temporal and spatial scales with the development of remote sensing platforms and the improvement of sensors.

Key words: satellite remote sensing, airborne remote sensing, near-surface remote sensing, UAV, lidar