My research is centered on the interface of terrestrial ecology, land use and climate change, in relation to forest ecosystems. Two important questions have been addressed in my research. First, with an increasing number of people inhabiting marginal floodplains and with increasing frequencies of extreme floods, can forests act to reduce the severity of flooding events? Second, can we improve predictions of current and future carbon fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems, not only at specific sites, but also to regional and potentially global-scales? Remote sensing techniques are necessary in addressing these questions due to their ability to estimate vegetation structure and composition at regional to global spatial scales. The composition and structure of vegetation are key attributes of ecosystems affecting their current and future carbon, water, and energy flows. To answer these questions I have made extensive use of state-of-the art terrestrial biosphere and fluvial hydrology models, and of airborne, terrestrial, and satellite remote sensing techniques to characterize vegetation biophysical and biochemical variables.