Coniferous species are present in almost all major vegetation biomes on Earth, though they are the most abundant in the northern hemisphere, where they form the northern tree and forest lines close to the Arctic Circle. Monitoring coniferous forests with satellite and airborne remote sensing is active, due to the forests' great ecological and economic importance. We review the current understanding of spectral behavior of different components forming coniferous forests. We look at the spatial, directional, and seasonal variations in needle, shoot, woody element, and understory spectra in coniferous forests, based on measurements. Through selected case studies, we also demonstrate how coniferous canopy spectra vary at different spatial scales, and in different viewing angles and seasons. Finally, we provide a synthesis of gaps in the current knowledge on spectra of elements forming coniferous forests that could also serve as a recommendation for planning scientific efforts in the future.