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Natural Resources Science


Protected areas (PAs) have been established worldwide for achieving long-term goals in the conservation of nature with the associated ecosystem services and cultural values. Globally, 15% of the world’s terrestrial lands and inland waters, excluding Antarctica, are designated as PAs. About 4.12% of the global ocean and 10.2% of coastal and marine areas under national jurisdiction are set as marine protected areas (MPAs). Protected lands and waters serve as the fundamental building blocks of virtually all national and international conservation strategies, supported by governments and international institutions. Some of the PAs are the only places that contain undisturbed landscape, seascape and ecosystems on the planet Earth. With intensified impacts from climate and environmental change, PAs have become more important to serve as indicators of ecosystem status and functions. Earth’s remaining wilderness areas are becoming increasingly important buffers against changing conditions. The development of remote sensing platforms and sensors and the improvement in science and technology provide crucial support for the monitoring and management of PAs across the world. In this editorial paper, we reviewed research developments using state-of-the-art remote sensing technologies, discussed the challenges of remote sensing applications in the inventory, monitoring, management and governance of PAs and summarized the highlights of the articles published in this Special Issue.

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