Above- and belowground systems are linked via plant chemistry. In forested systems, leaf litter chemistry and quality mirror that of green foliage and have important afterlife effects. In systems where belowground inputs dominate, such as grasslands, or in ecosystems where aboveground biomass is frequently removed by burning or harvesting, foliar traits may provide important information regarding belowground inputs via exudates and fine-root turnover. Many, if not most, of the plant traits that drive variation in belowground processes are also measurable via remote sensing technologies. The ability of remote sensing techniques to measure fine-scale biodiversity and plant chemistry over large spatial scales can help researchers address ecological questions that were previously prohibitively expensive to address. Key to these potential advances is the idea that remotely sensed vegetation spectra and plant chemistry can provide detailed information about the function of belowground processes beyond what traditional field sampling can provide.
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- Microbial community
- Plant chemistry
- Soil processes