Forest monitoring is the recurrent measurement of forest parameters to identify changes over time. There is currently a rising demand for monitoring, as well as growing capacities for it. This study identifies recent research on tropical forest monitoring using a systematic literature review. The research explores whether the location of these studies is in the countries where monitoring is most needed. Three characteristics, biophysical conditions, anthropogenic influences, and forest monitoring capacities were used to identify the need for tropical forest monitoring advances. This provided an understanding as to where research should be targeted in the future. The findings revealed that research appears to be concentrated in countries with strong forest monitoring capabilities that face challenges due to biophysical and anthropogenic influences (e.g., logistically difficult ground sampling and rapid pace of forest change, respectively). Consequently, future research could be targeted in countries with lower capacities and higher needs, in order to improve forest monitoring and conservation.