Satellite multi- and hyper-spectral sensors have evolved over the past three decades into powerful monitoring tools for ecosystem processes. Research in temperate environments, however, has tended to keep pace with new remote sensing technologies more so than in tropical environments. Here, we identify what we consider to be three priority areas for remote sensing research in Neotropical dry forests. The first priority is the use of improved sensor capabilities, which should allow for better characterization of tropical secondary forests than has been achieved. Secondary forests are of key interest due to their potential for sequestering carbon in relatively short periods of time. The second priority is the need to characterize leaf area index (LAI) and other biophysical variables by means of bidirectional reflectance function models. These biophysical parameters have importance linkages with net primary productivity and may be estimated through remote sensing. The third priority is to identify tree species using hyper-spectral imagery, which represents an entirely new area of research for tropical forests that could have powerful applications in biodiversity conservation.
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Vol. 35 • No. 2