Battelle has announced that NASA will fund a three-year collaborative project to investigate how the chemical properties of leaves and tree canopy structures affect remote sensing observations.
“The goal of the research is to understand the linkages between canopy structure and the leaf traits that influence photosynthetic capacity,” said NEON’s Keith Krause, who is leading the research. “This should allow us to improve our interpretation of remote sensing data and to better map and monitor rates of productivity in forest ecosystems.”
Funded under NASA’s Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Science program, the study will be led by Battelle, the Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of New Hampshire using data from the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) program.
The researchers will leverage multi-modal remote sensing with passive solar-reflected hyperspectral and active discrete/waveform LiDAR data to study structure and trait relationships across a wide range of spatial resolutions. NEON’s data with NASA’s satellite technology will provide a more expanded knowledge of structure and trait relationships.
Researchers will investigate how trees grow, provide different habitats for various animals and what factors affect the exchange of carbon dioxide with the atmosphere. The researchers will also study the vegetation chemistry and forest health.
Researchers will use two existing NEON sites for the study: the Harvard Forest in Massachusetts and the Bartlett Experimental Forest in New Hampshire. The study will use field measurements and remote sensing data from the sites to augment with simulations of realistic forests.
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