Standard Article

Semiarid Land Assessment: Monitoring Dry Ecosystems with Remote Sensing

Remote Sensing

  1. Joachim Hill

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a2302

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Hill, J. 2006. Semiarid Land Assessment: Monitoring Dry Ecosystems with Remote Sensing. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. University of Trier, Trier, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


Semiarid lands belong to the world's dryland environments, which are permanently, seasonally or temporarily subjected to a significant deficit in moisture availability. Drylands, or dry ecological systems, include the proper deserts as well as their semiarid and subhumid dry margins. The areas referred to range from the cold polar deserts (which, because of their highly specific nature, are not considered in this article) to warm tropical deserts surrounded by tropical semiarid and subhumid drylands, including subtropical Mediterranean latitudes.

Remote sensing is the scientific approach to extracting information from an object without coming into physical contact with it. Broad definitions would need to include computer vision, astronomy, medical and biological imaging, sonar, observation of terrestrial and marine ecosystems and many other fields. Within the restricted context of this article we shall limit our perspective to collecting information about the state of terrestrial ecosystems through air- and space-borne sensor systems. This process is based on the interaction of electromagnetic radiation with the surface constituents, and increasing knowledge about these interaction mechanisms makes it possible to interpret remotely sensed data with regard to specific environmental conditions and their change in time.