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Frontiers in Ecosystem Monitoring

2.5 ECTS Montpellier Year 2 Semester 3 Elective Environmental sciences, Tool 14


Tropical forests are diverse and some of them have among the densest biomasses in the world. Their study is a challenge due to poor accessibility, adverse atmospheric conditions, often complex vegetation physiognomy, and a lack of funding in many tropical countries. Meanwhile there is a growing and urgent need for monitoring those endangered ecosystems which provide various services that vary across time and space, depending on their structure and functioning. Forest ground inventory has been and is still a common method to inventory tropical forests and to monitor their evolution. However, techniques based on remoteness or automated (and often massive) data flow acquisition growingly complement traditional inventories and are increasingly used by scientists and ecosystem managers.

This module introduces students to:

  • techniques: sensors (e.g. Lidar, Radar, spectrometer), vectors (drone, aircraft, satellite, ground device) and some of their combinations,
  • data mining and processing
  • datasets combination and analysis

through theoretical and practical learning.

Learning outcomes

Students have a clear overview of various cutting-edge techniques used for acquisition of data (including variables like forest cover, biomass, tree diversity, and vegetation indices), where to find data, how to combine them in time and space depending on the objective addressed, and how to analyse these data. They gain a first practical experience in the manipulation of one dataset to address the biophysical characterisation of a tropical forest ecosystem.
The module does not introduce to GIS, which mastering is recommended for the guided work.

Teaching and learning methods

  • Lectures (6h)
  • Supervised guided group work (15h)
  • Oral defences (3h).

Type of assessment

  • Group
  • Oral presentation, Written assignment
  • Written report and oral defence of a group project.


  • Location : Montpellier
  • ECTS granting : AgroParisTech
  • Organisation : AgroParisTech


Raphaël Manlay

Dr Raphaël Manlay

  • Senior lecturer (PhD)
  • AgroParisTech, Montpellier France
Eric Marcon

Dr Eric Marcon

  • Senior lecturer (PhD)
  • AgroParisTech, Montpellier France