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.
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Mayer, Audrey L. and Lopez, Ricardo D., "Use of remote sensing to support forest and wetlands policies in the USA" (2011). School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science Publications. 26.