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Candy Land: Images Reveal Forests' True Colors

Candy-colored Forest

CAO Forest Map

(Image credit: Carnegie Airborne Observatory, Carnegie Institution for Science)

This three-dimensional chemical map of a forest in Panama uses colors to reveal the different chemical compositions of vegetation. Similar maps help researchers understand how diverse and healthy tropical forests are.

Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz Island, Calif.

(Image credit: Carnegie Airborne Observatory, Carnegie Institution for Science)

The terrain of Santa Cruz Island, part of Channel Islands National Park off the coast of California. Researchers with the Carnegie Airborne Observatory have worked to develop ways to monitor the island's biodiversity, fire risk and the threat from invasive species.

Peruvian Amazon

Peru

(Image credit: Carnegie Airborne Observatory, Carnegie Institution for Science)

A map of the tropical forests of Peru created with Carnegie Airborne Observatory data. Different colors represent different chemical compositions of trees.

Kohala, Hawaii

Hawaii map

(Image credit: Carnegie Airborne Observatory, Carnegie Institution for Science)

This map shows a segment of the island of Hawai'i called Kohala.

Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park Map

(Image credit: Carnegie Airborne Observatory, Carnegie Institution for Science)

The surface of Mars? No, this chemical composition map is of a portion of Kruger National Park in South Africa.

Cliff View

Volcanoes National Park

(Image credit: Carnegie Airborne Observatory, Carnegie Institution for Science)

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park as mapped by the Carnegie Airborne Observatory. The mapping allows researchers to measure the encroachment of invasive species, a big problem on isolated islands like those that make up Hawaii.

Stephanie Pappas
Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science. She covers the world of human and animal behavior, as well as paleontology and other science topics. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has ducked under a glacier in Switzerland and poked hot lava with a stick in Hawaii. Stephanie hails from East Tennessee, the global center for salamander diversity. Follow Stephanie on Google+.