Earth Observation of Ecosystem Services: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Earth Observation of Ecosystem Services

1st Edition

Edited by Domingo Alcaraz-Segura, Carlos Marcelo Di Bella, Julieta Veronica Straschnoy

CRC Press

518 pages | 83 B/W Illus.

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A balanced review of differing approaches based on remote sensing tools and methods to assess and monitor biodiversity, carbon and water cycles, and the energy balance of terrestrial ecosystem. Earth Observation of Ecosystem Services highlights the advantages Earth observation technologies offer for quantifying and monitoring multiple ecosystem functions and services. It provides a multidisciplinary reference that expressly covers the use of remote sensing for quantifying and monitoring multiple ecosystem services.

Rather than exhaustively cover all possible ecosystem services, this book takes a global look at the most relevant remote sensing approaches to estimate key ecosystem services from satellite data. Structured in four main sections, it covers carbon cycle, biodiversity, water cycle, and energy balance. Each section contains a review of conceptual and empirical methods, techniques, and case studies linking remotely sensed data to the biophysical variables and ecosystem functions associated with key ecosystem services.

The book identifies relevant issues and challenges of assessment, presents cutting-edge sensing techniques, uses globally implemented tools to quantify ecosystem functions, and presents examples of successful monitoring programs. Covering recent developments undertaken on the global and national stage from Earth observation satellite data, it includes valuable lessons and recommendations and novel ways to improve current global monitoring systems. The book delineates the use of Earth observation data so that it can be used to quantify, map, value, and manage the valuable goods and services that ecosystems provide to societies around the world.


"… a valuable compendium of information… should serve as an impetus driving greater awareness of remote sensing technologies and their adoption in ecosystem service assessments."

—African Journal of Range & Forage Science 2015, 32(1)

"Monitoring and mapping ecosystem services is critical to their effective management. This book covers the latest remote sensing techniques for doing that. A must read for anyone concerned with ecosystem services."

—Robert Costanza, The Australian National University

"… a broad and valuable introduction to the use of remotely sensed data sets in assessing and monitoring key ecosystem services. … relevant to students and researchers interested in using earth observations in advancing their methods of inquiry. The subject matter is impressive, ranging from the carbon cycle to urban heat island effects. As humankind brings increasingly greater pressure to bear on natural systems, an improved understanding of their function in the context of change is critical. … an important contribution in explaining the utility of remotely sensed data in meeting this challenge."

—Matthew C. Hansen, University of Maryland

"… synthesizes the state of the art of how remote sensing can contribute to get the pulse of the planet, specifically on how our ecosystems are changing and what key benefits they provide to societies. … Timely, systematic, reliable, and easily accessible information on the flow of services to society from ecosystems is urgently needed: this book contributes one great leap forward. A massive effort from all nations will be needed to achieve full implementation of the suggested approach."

—Patricia Balvanera, Centro de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

"… offers a great overview of how earth observation systems are being used, can be used in the near future and what the caveats and pitfalls are at present. … It is one of the objectives of GEO BON to provide this overview and develop capacity building programmes for the whole community. This book is a good step into that direction."

—Rob H.G. Jongman, Alterra, Wageningen UR, Steering Committee GEO BON

Table of Contents

Earth Observation of Ecosystem Services: A Global Vision for Monitoring Ecosystem Services with Satellite


General Overview on Remote Sensing of Ecosystem Services

Overview of Book Sections and Chapters

Ecosystem Services Related to C Dynamics: Its Evaluation Using Remote Sensing Techniques


The C Cycle: Key Processes

Conceptual Frameworks to Connect C Dynamics and ES

Scale Issues in the Evaluation of C Related ES

Which Intermediate Services Should Be Monitored?

Concluding Remarks

Recent Advances in the Estimation of Photosynthetic Stress for Terrestrial Ecosystems Services Related to Carbon Uptake


Alternative Ways to Remotely Estimate Photosynthetic Stress of Terrestrial Vegetation

Final Considerations

Earth Observation of Carbon-Cycling Pools and Processes in Northern High-Latitude Systems

Introduction to Remote Sensing of Carbon Cycling Processes at Northern High Latitudes

Remote Sensing of Vegetation Biomass and Primary Production in Arctic Tundra

Remote Sensing of Vegetation Biomass and Primary Production in Boreal Forests

Remote Sensing of Land-Atmosphere Exchange of Carbon in Arctic Tundra and Boreal Forests

Remote Sensing of Soil Carbon Processes (Soil Respiration, Decomposition, Methane Production) and Stocks in Arctic Tundra and Boreal Forests

Remote Sensing of Carbon Emissions from Fire

Summary and Conclusions

Monitoring the Ecosystem Service of Forage Production


ANPP Estimation through Successive Biomass Harvests

ANPP Estimation through Remote Sensing

Radiation Use Efficiency Estimation through ANPP and APAR

Forage Monitoring System Based on Remote Sensing

Other Uses of Remote Sensing for Livestock Systems


Missing Gaps in the Estimation of the Carbon Gains Service from Light Use Efficiency Models


Material and Methods



Biomass Burning Emission Estimation in Amazon Tropical Forest


Methods for Estimation of Biomass Burning Emission

Biomass Distribution in Amazon Tropical Forest

Materials and Methods

Results and Discussion


Earth Observation for Species Diversity Assessment and Monitoring


Finding Species from Space

Earth Observation Of Land Cover And Species Niches

Measuring Ecosystem Functioning In Animal Ecology And Conservation

Concluding Remarks

Ecosystem Services Assessment of National Parks Networks for Functional Diversity and Carbon Conservation Strategies Using Remote Sensing






Catchment Scale Analysis of the Influence of Riparian Vegetation on River Ecological Integrity Using Earth Observation Data


Study Area

Datasets and Method




Evaluation of Hydrological Ecosystem Services through Remote Sensing

Society and Hydrological Services

Hydrological Services and the Water Cycle

Remote Sensing of Ecosystem Functioning for Hydrological Services Provision

Remote Sensing of Drivers and Pressures of Hydrological Services

Integrating Remote Sensing Data with Hydrological Modelling

Conclusions and Perspectives

Assimilation of Remotely Sensed Data into Hydrologic Modeling for Ecosystem Services Assessment


Hydrologic Modeling and Ecosystem Services Quantification

Hydrologic Modeling and Remote Sensing

Water Quality Monitoring and Remote Sensing


Detecting Ecosystem Reliance on Groundwater Based on Satellite-Derived Greenness Anomalies and Temporal Dynamics



Results and Discussion


Surface Soil Moisture Monitoring by Remote Sensing: Applications to Ecosystem Processes and Scale Effects


Soil Moisture Monitoring By Remote Sensing Sources

Assimilation of Remote Sensing Data into Hydrological Modeling

Estimating ET as an Indirect Valuation for Soil Moisture Stress on Vegetation

Final Remarks/Conclusions

Snowpack as a Key Element In Mountain Ecosystem Services: Some Clues to Design Useful Monitoring Programs

Introduction: From Monitoring Snow Cover to Quantify Ecosystem Services

Design and Implementation of Methodologies to Monitor the Services Provided by Snow Cover

Final Services Provided By Snow in Mountain Areas

A Case Study of Monitoring Snow Cover to Quantify Ecosystem Services: Sierra Nevada Biosphere Reserve (Spain)


Characterizing and Monitoring Climate Regulation Services


Identification of Ecosystem Functional Types

Biophysical Properties from Ecosystem Functional Types

Climate Regulation Services in Regional Modeling

Discussion and Conclusions

Ecosystem Services Related to Energy Balance. A Case Study of Wetlands Reflected Energy


Wetlands Reflected Energy


Energy Balance and Evapotranspiration: A Remote Sensing Approach to Assess Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem Services, Energy Balance and Evapotranspiration

Relating ET and Energy Balance to Ecosystem Services

The Use of Remote Sensing to Estimate Evapotranspiration and Its Relationship with Ecosystem Services

Evapotranspiration, Albedo, Land Surface Temperature and Their Relation with Ecosystem Services

A Case Study: The Impact of Large-Scale Deforestation on Dry Forests Of Central Argentina: Changes in Evapotranspiration, Surface Temperature and Albedo At Landscape Scale


Urban Heat Island Effect


Evaluation of the Urban Heat Island Effect

Requirements of A Suitable Remote Sensing Sensor to Analyze the Urban Heat Island Effect

Assessment of Different Procedures to Retrieve the Land Surface Emissivity over Urban Areas


Multidimensional Approaches in Ecosystem Services Assessment

The Need of a Multidimensional and Interdisciplinary Framework for Ecosystem Service Assessment

The Supply Side of Ecosystem Services

The Demand Side of Ecosystem Services

Discussion and Future Steps: Towards Hybrid Methodologies And New Concepts


About the Series

Earth Observation of Global Changes

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Ecology
NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Environmental / General
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Remote Sensing & Geographic Information Systems