Journal of Forestry Research

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 791–797 | Cite as

Drone remote sensing for forestry research and practices

  • Lina Tang
  • Guofan ShaoEmail author
Review Article


Drones of various shapes, sizes, and functionalities have emerged over the past few decades, and their civilian applications are becoming increasingly appealing. Flexible, low-cost, and high-resolution remote sensing systems that use drones as platforms are important for filling data gaps and supplementing the capabilities of crewed/manned aircraft and satellite remote sensing systems. Here, we refer to this growing remote sensing initiative as drone remote sensing and explain its unique advantages in forestry research and practices. Furthermore, we summarize the various approaches of drone remote sensing to surveying forests, mapping canopy gaps, measuring forest canopy height, tracking forest wildfires, and supporting intensive forest management. The benefits of drone remote sensing include low material and operational costs, flexible control of spatial and temporal resolution, high-intensity data collection, and the absence of risk to crews. The current forestry applications of drone remote sensing are still at an experimental stage, but they are expected to expand rapidly. To better guide the development of drone remote sensing for sustainable forestry, it is important to systematically and continuously conduct comparative studies to determine the appropriate drone remote sensing technologies for various forest conditions and/or forestry applications.


Drone Remote sensing UAV UAS UA RPA Forest 


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Copyright information

© Northeast Forestry University and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Urban EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesXiamenChina
  2. 2.Department of Forestry and Natural ResourcesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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