© 2015 Elsevier B.V. The ability of remote-sensing technologies to rapidly deliver data on habitat quantity (e.g., amount, configuration) and quality (e.g., structure, distribution of individual plant species, habitat types and/or communities, persistence) across a range of spatial resolutions and temporal frequencies is increasingly sought-after in conservation management. However, several problematic issues (e.g., imagery correction and registration, image interpretation, habitat type and quality definitions, assessment and monitoring procedures, uncertainties inherent in mapping, expert knowledge integration, scale selection, analysis of the interrelationships between habitat quality and landscape structure) challenge the effective and reliable use of such data and techniques. We discuss these issues, as a contribution to the development of a common language, framework and suite of research approaches among ecologists, remote-sensing experts and stakeholders (conservation managers) on the ground, and highlight recent theoretical and applied advances that provide opportunities for meeting these challenges. Reconciling differing stakeholder perspectives and needs will boost the timely provisioning of reliable information on the current and changing distribution of biodiversity to enable effective conservation management.