Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center
Mapping and Remote Sensing
In recent decades, advances in remote sensing have enabled us to measure, map and monitor Earth’s ecosystems from far above the ground. Advances now allow us to collect imagery of such high resolution that plant communities can be mapped and vegetation structure visualized. With the latest Geographic Information System (GIS) software, these layers of remotely sensed data can be combined with maps of climate, soil, precipitation and other factors to develop models of past and present species distributions, as well to predict future distributions given likely changes in climate, ecology, and human development. Distribution maps allow natural resource managers and decision makers to evaluate and monitor the effects of changing conditions and management actions.