Various remote sensing studies have been conducted to investigate methods and applications of vegetation mapping and analysis in arctic environments. The general purpose of these studies is to extract information on the spatial and temporal distribution of vegetation as required for tundra ecosystem and climate change studies. Because of the recent emphasis on understanding natural systems at large spatial scales, there has been an increasing interest in deriving biophysical variables from satellite data. Satellite remote sensing offers potential for extrapolating, or 'scaling up' biophysical measures derived from local sites, to landscape and even regional scales. The most common investigations include mapping spatial vegetation patterns or assessing biophysical tundra characteristics, using medium resolution satellite data. For instance, Landsat TM data have been shown to be useful for broad vegetation mapping and analysis, but not accurately representative of smaller vegetation communities or local spatial variation. It is anticipated, that high spatial resolution remote sensing data, now available from commercial remote sensing satellites, will provide the necessary sampling scale to link field data to remotely sensed reflectance data. As a result, it is expected that these data will improve the representation of biophysical variables over sparsely vegetated regions of the Arctic.
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