Red, white, and blue NASA meatball logo Jet Propulsion Laboratory
California Institute of Technology


Radar image of water channels and a volcano in the Gulf of Fonseca, Honduras

Remote sensing of forests and wetlands

This website presents the research projects led by Dr. Marc Simard, Senior Research Scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His research focuses on inland and coastal areas.

What is remote sensing?

The science of obtaining information about objects from a distance, typically from aircraft or satellites.

Dr. Simard uses data from optical, radar & lidar instruments in his work.

Landsat satellite on a black background Landsat 8 (optical)
Tandem-X satellite collecting data over Earth Tandem-X (radar)
Global Hawk plane flying the LVIS instrument LVIS (lidar)

Inland: forests

Develop and use state of the art remote sensing techniques to measure forest vertical structure (height, biomass, productivity) and carbon stocks.

What are carbon stocks?

A calming forest trail surrounded by trees

The amount of carbon stored (or stocked) in trees or in the ground.

When forests are lost, this carbon is released into the atmosphere.

Coastal: deltas, mangroves, & salt marshes

Develop and use state of the art remote sensing techniques to measure vegetation structure in marshes and swamps, and characterize the hydrology and productivity of coastal regions.

Hundreds of mangrove roots emerge from the ground and arc back into the ground
Mangroves are giants in Earth’s carbon cycle, capturing several times more carbon, per unit area, from the air than inland forests.

Learn more about the science.