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Application of Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems in Vegetation Science: Introduction


Walsh, Stephen J. & Davis, F. W. (1994). Application of Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems in Vegetation Science: Introduction. Journal of Vegetation Science, 5(5), 657-672.


New technologies such as aircraft- and satellite-borne multispectral scanners, imaging radar systems,global positioning systems, and Geographic Informa-tion Systems (GIS) are revolutionizing vegetation map-ping and modeling. These technologies have contrib-uted to a resurgence of interest in vegetation pattern andprocesses over regional to global domains, and havealso facilitated research into the role of landscape het-erogeneity in determining plant community and ecosys-tem dynamics. In the past, high hardware and softwarecost and the need for specialized technical trainingdiscouraged most vegetation scientists from using re-mote sensing and GIS. As data and computing systemshave become more available and affordable, plant ecolo-gists and phytogeographers are now exploring the use ofremote sensing and GIS in their research. These scien-tists bring a sophisticated view of plant communitiesand ecological processes to the analysis of digital mapsand imagery (e.g. Fredriksen & Lawesson 1992;Brzeziecki et al. 1993) that was generally lacking inearlier remote sensing and GIS applications. On theother hand, most vegetation scientists have little train-ing in environmental optics, image processing, compu-ter cartography, and quantitative spatial analysis, andare often unfamiliar with new developments in digitalanalysis of spatial data.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Vegetation Science


Walsh, Stephen J.
Davis, F. W.