Forests are essential in today's society and serve as sources for producing paper products, lumber, and fuelwood. Also, forests make freshwater from mountain watersheds, purify the air, offer habitat to wildlife, and offer recreational opportunities, among many other ecosystem services. Balance of ecological and recreational functions and accurate and precise information about forest structure and its biophysical parameters are needed to support informed decision-making and sustainable management.
Many natural resource managers' and policymakers' decisions regarding forests are linked with the geospatial data covered by conventional forest inventory methods. Remote sensing data fills the existing forest monitoring information gaps, particularly in many developing countries. Through remote sensing, information retrieved through space- and airborne acquisition methods offer a synoptic view over large or inaccessible areas. The Forest Resources Assessment supports global tree cover and forest land use monitoring. Monitoring programs implement a systematic framework to obtain information about forest cover changes and forest land-use changes globally.