Spectral Properties of Coniferous Forests: A Review of In Situ and Laboratory Measurements

Miina Rautiainen, Petr Lukěs, Lucie Homolova, Aarne Hovi, Jan Pisek, Matti Mõttus

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleScientificpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
237 Downloads (Pure)


Coniferous species are present in almost all major vegetation biomes on Earth, though they are the most abundant in the northern hemisphere, where they form the northern tree and forest lines close to the Arctic Circle. Monitoring coniferous forests with satellite and airborne remote sensing is active, due to the forests’ great ecological and economic importance. We review the current understanding of spectral behavior of different components forming coniferous forests. We look at the spatial, directional, and seasonal variations in needle, shoot, woody element, and understory spectra in coniferous forests, based on measurements. Through selected case studies, we also demonstrate how coniferous canopy spectra vary at different spatial scales, and in different viewing angles and seasons. Finally, we provide a synthesis of gaps in the current knowledge on spectra of elements forming coniferous forests that could also serve as a recommendation for planning scientific efforts in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Article number207
Number of pages28
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • conifer
  • forest
  • spectrum
  • reflectance
  • transmittance
  • albedo
  • BRDF
  • needle
  • understory


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