From: Wageningen University and Research Centre via ScienceDaily
Published September 6, 2016 08:48 AM

Detecting forest fragility with satellites

Over the past decades’ forests in different parts of the world have suffered sudden massive tree mortality. Now an international team of scientists led by researchers from Wageningen University in the Netherlands has found a way to spot from satellite images which forests may be most likely to fall prey to such die-off events.

"Tree cover is one of the most defining aspects of landscapes," says Jan Verbesselt, lead-author and a specialist in remote sensing. "It is therefore remarkable how poorly we can predict where trees are most likely to succumb to drought and other stresses. However, our planet is permanently monitored by satellites in detail, and we are proposing a new way to use that information for detecting the fragility of ecosystems to environmental perturbations.

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Image Credits: Jet Propulsion Laboratory / NASA

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