, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp 731-741
Date: 30 Dec 2010

The progress on remote sensing technology in identifying tropical forest degradation: a synthesis of the present knowledge and future perspectives

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Abstract

Since the launch of the first satellite in 1972, ecologists have been equipped with new tools to address the degradation of tropical forests, previously limited by field-based methods. This article is a review of the state of remote sensing technology in characterizing the degradation of tropical forest. The factors responsible for the structural and functional degradation of the tropical forest and its likely impacts are described in view of generating remote sensing based inputs. In order to assess the degradation and utility of geo-informatics tools, 32 parameters are identified. The research developments at different levels of information extraction from the historic to recent periods are elaborated, and future challenges are predicted. The article concludes that an additional momentum of research is required to answer many unresolved questions of tropical forest degradation.