An approach for foliar trait retrieval from airborne imaging spectroscopy of tropical forests

Roberta E. Martin, K. Dana Chadwick, Philip G. Brodrick, Loreli Carranza-Jimenez, Nicholas R. Vaughn, Gregory P. Asner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Spatial information on forest functional composition is needed to inform management and conservation efforts, yet this information is lacking, particularly in tropical regions. Canopy foliar traits underpin the functional biodiversity of forests, and have been shown to be remotely measurable using airborne 350-2510 nm imaging spectrometers. We used newly acquired imaging spectroscopy data constrained with concurrent light detection and ranging (LiDAR) measurements from the Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO), and field measurements, to test the performance of the Spectranomics approach for foliar trait retrieval. The method was previously developed in Neotropical forests, and was tested here in the humid tropical forests of Malaysian Borneo. Multiple foliar chemical traits, as well as leaf mass per area (LMA), were estimated with demonstrable precision and accuracy. The results were similar to those observed for Neotropical forests, suggesting a more general use of the Spectranomics approach for mapping canopy traits in tropical forests. Future mapping studies using this approach can advance scientific investigations and applications based on imaging spectroscopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number199
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Airborne remote sensing
  • Borneo
  • Carnegie airborne observatory
  • Foliar traits
  • Imaging spectroscopy
  • Malaysia
  • PLSR
  • Sabah
  • Spectranomics
  • Tropical forest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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