Remote sensing methods are revolutionizing how scientists study ecosystems and promise to become powerful new tools in the fight to protect them. Ecologists have devised a range of tools to measure forest health and genetic diversity remotely, offering the possibility of faster, more standardized monitoring that would supplement ground-based measurements. Other researchers are using satellite-derived information about vegetation to gain insights into the animals living there. They have created the Map of Life, an online repository of maps of species’ ranges that compensates for the lack of ecologists to physically count every species and population throughout its range. There is even progress on remotely counting penguins in Antarctica and following whales and wildebeests in their migrations.

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