The NIST Headquarters in Gaithersburg, MD also provides a convenient testbed to evaluate the current state of knowledge relating optical remote sensing to biophysiological measurements of vegetative land cover. The mixed deciduous forest at NIST, with some tree specimens well over 100 years old, has a network of sensors deployed over a 1-hectare area within the larger 40-hectare forest. These sensors measure respiration, sap flow in trees, and meteorological parameters to provide ground truth to model simulations and optical observations. Optical remote sensing observations of vegetation can help constrain ecosystem models used to estimate carbon fluxes. Optical observations provide the advantage of sampling up to the global scale. However, linking a satellite scale footprint to the patch and leaf-level observations is an ongoing area of research.
The goals of the research are to: