Airborne laser-guided imaging spectroscopy to map forest trait diversity and guide conservation

G. P. Asner, R. E. Martin, D. E. Knapp, R. Tupayachi, C. B. Anderson, F. Sinca, N. R. Vaughn, W. Llactayo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

198 Scopus citations


Functional biogeography may bridge a gap between field-based biodiversity information and satellite-based Earth system studies, thereby supporting conservation plans to protect more species and their contributions to ecosystem functioning.We used airborne laser-guided imaging spectroscopy with environmental modeling to derive large-scale, multivariate forest canopy functional trait maps of the Peruvian Andes-to-Amazon biodiversity hotspot. Seven mapped canopy traits revealed functional variation in a geospatial pattern explained by geology, topography, hydrology, and climate. Clustering of canopy traits yielded a map of forest beta functional diversity for land-use analysis. Up to 53% of each mapped, functionally distinct forest presents an opportunity for new conservation action. Mapping functional diversity advances our understanding of the biosphere to conserve more biodiversity in the face of land use and climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-389
Number of pages5
Issue number6323
StatePublished - Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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