Special Issue : Remote Sensing for Dryland Sustainability

Scope: Drylands are defined by scarcity of water and limited soil moisture, which account for 41% of the global terrestrial area and are home to a third of the global human population and half of the livestock. Global drylands encompass deserts, grasslands, savannahs, Mediterranean ecosystems, and even some forests. For millennia, drylands have been shaped by a combination of low precipitation, droughts, and heat waves, as well as human activities such as fire management/use, livestock grazing, harvesting of wood and non-wood forest products, and soil cultivation. Drylands provide critical ecosystem services to societies but are threatened by rapid global warming, extreme climate events, and intensified human land use activities (e.g., irrigation), posing great concerns about the sustainability that drylands can support human society and natural ecosystems.

Recent advances in field and spaceborne sensor as well as data-model integration and AI technologies enable more information about drylands to be resolved; good examples include groundwater dynamics from satellite gravimetry, and biomass mapping from spaceborne LiDAR and SAR. Meanwhile, challenges remain on how to capitalize on the various types of Earth observation data to truly solve the pressing societal and environmental challenges in global drylands. As such, we compile this special issue to cover the latest development in using remote sensing for drylands sustainability.

Broad themes (but not limited to): 

  • Extent and shifts of global drylands.
  • Climate and hydrological trends over global drylands.
  • Food, water, and energy securities in a socio-ecological context.
  • Climate resilience of drylands pastoralism and agropastoralism.
  • Progress of the UN’s SDGs (Sustainability Development Goals) in global drylands.
  • Role of drylands in achieving a carbon-neutral world.
  • Mapping and managing the groundwater-dependent ecosystems (GDEs) such as riparian forests and wetlands.
  • Environmental impact of human land-use activities such as ecological restoration, crop expansion, and urbanisation.
  • Drylands ecosystem functions and services.
  • Drivers of greening and drying in global drylands.
  • Global drylands biodiversity, phenology, and their interactions.
  • Advanced data analytics, machine learning, and AI.
  • Novel field, UAV, and spaceborne instruments.

Please note that the submission deadline is December 31, 2024.

About the journal: the Journal of Remote Sensing (https://spj.science.org/journal/remotesensing) is a Science-Partner Journal that aims to publish high-quality, online-only, Open-Access publications to benefit the Earth observation community. The journal was founded in Jan 2021 and expects to receive its first impact factor in the middle of 2024. 

Authors whose work is accepted for publication in the Journal of Remote Sensing before July 1, 2025 will not be responsible for paying APCs (Article Processing Charges). Meanwhile, there are no submission charges. As such, it is free to publish your research in full OA licence within the timeframe of this special issue.