Three decades of remote sensing analysis of forest decline related to climate change

a bibliometric study




scientometrics, forest mortality, UAV, global warming, forest resources


Climate change is predicted to lead to increasingly intense and hotter droughts, causing physiological weakness followed by forest decline in many regions of the world. Long- and short-range remote sensing (satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly called drones) can sense drought-induced changes in vegetation. Although several studies have addressed forest decline events, none have analyzed the forest decline attributable to climate change using remote sensing in a concise manner. A bibliometric analysis was carried out to characterize the scientific production reported in the Web of Science repository. The search descriptors were a combination of keywords related to forest decline and remote sensing. The results showed 278 articles published between 1989 and 2021 in 92 journals, with an average annual increase of 31%. A total of 29 nodes and 220 scientific collaboration links were located, mainly led by researchers from USA, Germany and China. Keyword analysis using World-TreeMap reflected the association of different key forest decline phenomena such as drought stress and climate change. Although the use of satellite information to study and understand forest decline has been reported for just over three decades, the most notable feature of the present research was the limited role of drones with only 5 studies. This reveals an area of opportunity to take advantage of the main strengths of drones, i.e., spatial and temporal resolution, low cost compared to manned flights, and centimeter accuracy. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to increase studies to improve the use of multispectral sensors, thermal and LiDAR technology for long-term monitoring of forest decline related to climate change.


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How to Cite

Gallardo-Salazar JL, Sáenz-Romero C, Lindig-Cisneros R, López-Toledo L, Blanco-García JA, Endara-Agramont Ángel R. Three decades of remote sensing analysis of forest decline related to climate change: a bibliometric study. CIG [Internet]. 2023 May 4 [cited 2023 Sep. 22];49(1):69-87. Available from: