Biodiv Sci ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (11): 1249-1266.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2016059

• Special Feature: Chinese Biodiversity Monitoring and Research Network (Sino BON) • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A near-surface remote sensing platform for biodiversity monitoring: perspectives and prospects

Qinghua Guo1*, Jin Liu1, Yumei Li1,2, Qiuping Zhai1,2, Yongcai Wang1,2, Fangfang Wu1,2, Tianyu Hu1, Huawei Wan3, Huiming Liu3, Wenming Shen3   

  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 Satellite Environmental Application Center, Ministry of Environmental Protection, Bejing 100094
  • Received:2016-02-29 Revised:2016-08-10 Online:2016-11-20 Published:2016-12-14
  • Contact: Qinghua Guo


In recent years, the Chinese Biodiversity Monitoring and Research Network (Sino BON) has developed rapidly, which provides an unprecedented platform for long-term biodiversity monitoring and research. The near-surface remote sensing (NsRS) platform, an important component of the Sino BON-Synthesis (Synthesis Center of Sino BON) and equipped with LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) as the core technique, has developed a mature technology system integrating hardware and software, which can provide digital products such as topographic modeling under forest, stand height, stand surface structure, gap or internal boundaries, canopy closure dynamics, vegetation community division, fine spatial structure within the community, individual tree height and diameter at breast height, canopy morphology, circumference and cover, species identification, sub-meter three-dimensional landscape map and so on. Therefore it can be used to acquire multiple spatiotemporal scales of biodiversity observations and offer scientists and managers specialized and effective technical support for biodiversity evaluation and conservation. In this paper, we provide a comprehensive review on the history and recent development of remote sensing technology in biodiversity studies. Then, we summarize the important indices of biodiversity that can be extracted from remote sensing data based on the direct and indirect methods for remote sensing monitoring of biodiversity and suggest spatial and temporal scales that should be referenced against the selection of different types of remote sensing data. Next we describe in detail the application of the state-of-the-art NsRS platform at home and abroad and figure out that the near-surface remote sensing platform represented by unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), characterized by flexibility, high efficiency, low cost and high resolution, will be an important means for biodiversity monitoring in the near future. Because it can act as an indispensable intermediate bridge between satellite platform, manned aviation platform and ground survey platform when conducting the biodiversity information scaling. Finally, based on currently available techniques and equipment of the NsRS platform, we conclude that further improvement of the platform construction will greatly help us to obtain three-dimensional quantitative habitat information. And it will be a long-term, significant step for the biodiversity observation network in China to have transformed into an intelligent decision and service platform with trans-scale hierarchy dynamic monitoring ability and multi-source information integration technology.