2020 – Joseph J Landsberg, Australia, Richard H Waring, USA, and Nicholas C Coops, Canada

For their groundbreaking work in developing forest growth models based on tree ecophysiology, and further development of these models to widespread geospatial forest analysis using remote sensing techniques. In the 20th century, forest growth was largely predicted based on inventories of historical stand growth, with limited ability to predict responses to innovations in silviculture and changing environments. Prof. Waring and Prof. Landsberg focused on understanding forest growth as a result of ecophysiology at the level of trees and stands. Prof. Coops further developed this approach to explore environmental and biotic influences on forest growth across large landscapes using remote sensing techniques, with applications expanded beyond forest growth into areas of future responses to changing climates and invasive pests. Together these scientists fundamentally changed our understanding of forest growth, providing new, spatially explicit tools that are routinely used by forest managers, scientists and policy makers. Understanding of the forest biomass and subsequently the carbon sink scenarios across large areas is currently of utmost importance when developing tools for climate change mitigation globally.