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Scientific Consultation Workshop: Remote Sensing of 3D-Vegetation Structures

3 June 2009

ESA, in collaboration with the Institute of Chemistry and Dynamics of the Geosphere, Forschungszentrum Jülich, will organise the Scientific Consultation Workshop: Remote Sensing of 3D-Vegetation Structures. The Workshop will take place at the the Institute of Chemistry and Dynamics of the Geosphere, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Wilhelm-Johnen-Straβe, 52428 Jülich Germany on 2 July 2009.

For more detailed information on the workshop organisation and venue please see: ESA_Vegetation_Scientific_Consultation.pdf.


It is widely accepted that increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are altering the Earth's climate system. Terrestrial ecosystems store and sequester vast amounts of carbon and are therefore a key component of the global carbon cycle. Understanding the nature of that contribution is vital to understanding current and future climate trends. In addition, vegetation plays an important role in regulating the land-atmosphere exchange of energy fluxes and recycling of precipitation and, consequently, influences the hydrological cycle representing a key factor in water management and land degradation processes.

ESA optical sensors have been proved to provide a key source of data to derive global geo-information products on forest and vegetation dynamics. ESA exploitation activities (e.g., GlobCarbon) have demonstrated their capacity to deliver long-term consistent data sets of key vegetation variables at global scale to the scientific community.

The coming generation of ESA Operational mission (the Sentinels) will enhance that capacity providing novel observations with unprecedented accuracy and resolutions. This enhanced capability will provide operational institutions and the scientific community with an excellent tool to enhance vegetation monitoring and to improve our understanding of the carbon cycle and land surface processes.

In this context, the 3D-Vegetation workshop aims at establishing an open consultation process with the scientific community in order to identify the main open scientific questions and the research needs in terms of scientific support tools, products validation and cross-comparison in the thematic area of vegetation processes.

The ultimate target of the workshop is to lay down the basic scientific requirements to be addressed by ESA via its new EO scientific program, the Support To Science Element (STSE), in order to develop dedicated scientific support tools to facilitate algorithm development, cross-comparison and validation activities in preparation for the scientific exploitation of the coming ESA missions.

Key topics include:

• State-of-the-art of physically-based vegetation retrieval algorithms for passive sensing and scientific development needs associated to the potential scientific exploitation of coming ESA missions (Sentinels) by the vegetation community.

• Radiative Transfer Models and 3-D field measurements of forest and canopy structures (e.g., through ground based LiDAR) as tools for algorithm development support, validation and products cross-comparison.

• Needs and requirements for super-sites in support of vegetation biophysical products.

• Earth observation product prototyping, validation and cross-comparison strategies.

A series of recommendations and guidelines for future research activities will be drawn from the discussions and an active participation of all participants will be appreciated.

The workshop will be limited to 30 participants.

If you plan to attend the workshop, please register no later than Monday 22nd June 2009 by sending an e-mail (subject “ESA 3D-Veg workshop – registration”) to Yasmin Fattah at the Forschungszentrum Jülich (

Final Programme


Welcome (Dr. U. Rascher, FZ Juelich, Germany)


STSE and Workshop objectives (Diego Fernandez, ESA)


Dynamic plant response in a dynamic environment – scaling plant function from the leaf to the canopy using optical remote sensing (Dr. U. Rascher FZ Juelich, Germany)


Exploiting 3D vegetation structure information provided by laser scanning (Dr. F. Morsdorf, University of Zurich, Switzerland)


Coffee break


Vegetation structure measurement and modelling, (Prof. P. Lewis, University College of London, London, UK)


Discussion I




What can we learn about vegetation and carbon by combining optical and radar data? (Prof. S. Quegan, Centre for Terrestrial Carbon Dynamics, UK)


Optical remote sensing of vegetation: a better understanding of fundamental principles for an improved exploitation (Prof. J. Moreno, Univ. Valencia, Spain)


Coffee break


Process imaging - welcomed new tool used in plant ecophysiological investigations (Prof. L. Nedbal, Institute of Systems Biology and Ecology, Czech Rep.)


Discussion II


Drafting of recommendations


Closure of Meeting


Workshop Dinner




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