Document Type


Publication Date



The use of remote sensing for environmental policy development is now quite common and well-documented, as images from remote sensing platforms are often used to focus attention on emerging environmental issues and spur debate on potential policy solutions. However, its use in policy implementation and evaluation has not been examined in much detail. Here we examine the use of remote sensing to support the implementation and enforcement of policies regarding the conservation of forests and wetlands in the USA. Specifically, we focus on the “Roadless Rule” and “Travel Management Rules” as enforced by the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service on national forests, and the “No Net Loss” policy and Clean Water Act for wetlands on public and private lands, as enforced by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Army Corps of Engineers. We discuss several national and regional examples of how remote sensing for forest and wetland conservation has been effectively integrated with policy decisions, along with barriers to further integration. Some of these barriers are financial and technical (such as the lack of data at scales appropriate to policy enforcement), while others are political.

Publisher's Statement

© 2011 by the author(s). Article deposited here in compliance with publisher policy. Publisher’s version of record:

Publication Title

Remote Sensing

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.


Publisher's PDF



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.