Forests are currently under global threat from human activities, despite the fact that recent findings confirm trees are critical for the health of humans as well as for the entire planet. Advances in whole forest research, which includes the upper reaches and not just the forest floor, are providing critical information about carbon storage, biodiversity, water cycles, and other essential ecosystem services provided by trees. The methods to study forest canopies are relatively new and vastly underfunded, despite our growing recognition of the global importance of trees. In addition to advancing exploration of the treetops, the forest canopy toolkit is also proving instrumental to jumpstart innovative actions to conserve forest ecosystems.