Biospheric Sciences Seminar: Dr. Iain Woodhouse

Senior Lecturer, University of Edinburgh, UK


2011 is the UN Year of the Forest. In this talk I will take a look forward to the coming decade to consider how remote sensing might help improve our understanding of the science of forest ecosystems, and ultimately help in their conservation. To achieve this, I will argue that remote sensing scientists (and others) need to do two things: (1) we need to better understand the "value" of forests and be able to quantify that value, and (2) we need to more effectively engage with the people who live and work with the forests around the world, as well as the local institutions that have a remit to manage the forest. In the process of making this argument, I will describe some of the Earth observation work I have been involved with recently:

  • the use of macroecology to explain radar backscatter response from forests;
  • SpeCL, a space borne mission concept for a four-wavelength multispectral lidar;
  • REDD Horizon, a capacity building project in Africa that is now looking at using smartphones as a community data collection tool, and
  • cArbomap, a commercial venture aimed at improving forest surveys.