Meet the MGEM Faculty

Lead Faculty:

Dr Nicholas Coops

Canada Research Chair in remote Sensing (I)

My main research focus is the use of remote sensing technology to assess forest resources, both for conservation and production applications. I am specifically interested in advanced forest inventory techniques using high spatial resolution optical remote sensing imagery and LIDAR, use of remote sensing for ecosystem and carbon accumulation modeling for biodiversity, production and greenhouse calculations, and detection of damaging agents in forests using spectral forest condition mapping.

In MGEM I am one of the faculty mentors, and teach introductory and advanced remote sensing courses.

Some papers you may find interesting which I have been working on with my research lab include:

Hermosilla, Txomin; Wulder, Michael A.; White, Joanne C.; Coops, Nicholas C.; Hobart, Geordie W. (2017) Updating Landsat time series of surface-reflectance composites and forest change products with new observations INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF APPLIED EARTH OBSERVATION AND GEOINFORMATION . 63, 104-111

Coops, Nicholas C.; Hermosilla, Txomin; Hilker, Thomas; Black, T. Andrew (2017) Linking stand architecture with canopy reflectance to estimate vertical patterns of light-use efficiency REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT . 194, 322-330

Bolton, Douglas K.; Coops, Nicholas C.; Hermosilla, Txomin; Wulder, Michael A.; White, Joanne C. (2017) Assessing variability in post-fire forest structure along gradients of productivity in the Canadian boreal using multi-source remote sensing JOURNAL OF BIOGEOGRAPHY . 44, 1294-1305

Rickbeil, Gregory J. M.; Hermosilla, Txomin; Coops, Nicholas C.; White, Joanne C.; Wulder, Michael A. (2017) Barren-ground caribou (Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus) behaviour after recent fire events; integrating caribou telemetry data with Landsat fire detection techniques GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY . 23, 1036-1047

Goodbody, Tristan R. H.; Coops, Nicholas C.; Tompalski, Piotr; Crawford, Patrick; Day, Ken J. K. (2017) Updating residual stem volume estimates using ALS-and UAV-acquired stereo-photogrammetric point clouds INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING . 38, 2938-2953

Tompalski, P., Coops N.C., White, J.C., Wulder, M.A. (2015). Augmenting Site Index Estimation with Airborne Laser Scanning Data Forest Science (60)

Coops, N.C., Fontana, F., Wulder, M.A (2014). Monitoring National-Scale Indirect Indicators of Biodiversity Using a Long Time-Series of Remotely Sensed Imagery Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing 41(3)1 – 14

Coops NC, Nilker T, Hall FG, Nichol CJ, Drolet GG (2011). Estimation of Light-use Efficiency of Terrestrial Ecosystem from Space: A Status Report Bioscience 60(10):788-797

Nicholas Coops

Dr Ryan Frazier

Lecturer: MGEM Program

My research focuses on using optical remotely sensed imagery to observe change in boreal forests over long time periods. These data that are generated can provide information on forest disturbances including indicators of severity, but also offer the ability to monitor recovery and regrowth of forests at an annual time step. This information is required for many tasks, but is becoming more and more pertinent with a changing climate.

My main role in the Forestry Department is to conduct classes in the MGEM program such as GEM 530 – Geospatial Data Analysis, GEM 580 – Geoinformatics Seminar, and GEM 599 – Project Proposal Development and Proof of Concept. I also support lecturing in GEM500 – Landscape Ecology & Management and GEM 511- Advanced GIS for Environmental Management

Recent Publications include:

Frazier, R. J., Coops, N. C., Wulder, M. A., Hermosilla, T., & White, J. C. (2018). Analyzing spatial and temporal variability in short-term rates of post-fire vegetation return from Landsat time series. Remote Sensing of Environment, 205, 32-45.

Navrátilová, J., Hájek, M., Navrátil, J., Hájková, P., & Frazier, R. J. (2017). Convergence and impoverishment of fen communities in a eutrophicated agricultural landscape of the Czech Republic. Applied Vegetation Science, 20(2), 225-235.

Pickell, P. D., Hermosilla, T., Frazier, R. J., Coops, N. C., & Wulder, M. A. (2016). Forest recovery trends derived from Landsat time series for North American boreal forests. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 37(1), 138-149.

Frazier, R. J., Coops, N. C., & Wulder, M. A. (2015). Boreal shield forest disturbance and recovery trends using Landsat time series. Remote Sensing of Environment, 170, 317-327.

Frazier, R. J., Coops, N. C., Wulder, M. A., & Kennedy, R. (2014). Characterization of aboveground biomass in an unmanaged boreal forest using Landsat temporal segmentation metrics. ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, 92, 137-146.

Ryan Frazier

Dr Sarah Gergel

Assistant Dean, Equity and Inclusion

Research focus areas:

  • Mapping and Quantifying Ecosystem Services
  • Social-ecological Landscapes and Resilience
  • Historical Dynamics of Large River-floodplains
  • Mapping & Monitoring with First Nations
  • High Resolution Image Analysis (satellite imagery and historical aerial photographs)

Sarah Gergel

Dr Trevor Jones

Coordinator: MGEM Program

My research employs remotely sensed data and field measurements to map and describe the distribution, composition, structure and dynamics of forests. In Canada, these efforts have supported the management of forested ecosystems and enhanced further research possibilities within the National Park system. I’ve also researched total (above- and below-ground) carbon stocks and both natural and anthropogenic loss within mangrove ecosystems. In coastal Madagascar, this work supports conservation initiatives aiming to improve long-term livelihoods, safeguard biodiversity and help mitigate climate change through mangrove conservation, restoration and managed-use.

I provide overall coordination for the MGEM program and support lecturing for GEM500 – Landscape Ecology & Management and GEM520 – Remote Sensing for Ecosystem Management.

Recent publications include:

  • Sanderman et al., 2018. A global map of mangrove forest soil carbon at 30 m spatial resolution. Environmental Research Letters (in press).
  • Benson et al., 2017. Mangrove carbon stocks and ecosystem cover dynamics in southwest Madagascar and the implications for local management. Forests8, 190.
  • Jones et al., 2016. Madagascar’s mangroves: Quantifying nation-wide and ecosystem specific dynamics, and detailed contemporary mapping of distinct ecosystems. Remote Sensing8, 106.
  • Joneset al., 2016.  The mangroves of Ambanja and Ambaro Bays, northwest Madagascar: Historical dynamics, current status and deforestation mitigation strategy. In Estuaries: A lifeline of ecosystem services in the Western Indian Ocean. Diop, S., Scheren, P., Eds.; Springer International Publishing.
  • Gardner et al., 2016. Rapid assessments and local knowledge reveal high bird diversity in mangroves of north-west MadagascarWetlands Ecology and Management, DOI: 10.1007/s11273-016-9501-3.

Trevor Jones

Support Faculty:

Dr Bianca Eskelson

Assistant Professor

Research focus areas:

  • Estimation of disturbance effects
  • Recovery dynamics after disturbance
  • Spatial copula models
  • Nearest neighbor imputation

Dr Michael Meitner

Associate Professor

Research focus areas:

  • Public perception based assessment of aesthetic resources
  • Structured decision making and non-market valuation techniques
  • Environmental visualization and geographic information systems
  • Sustainability planning and public engagement

Michael Meitner

Dr Andrés Varhola


My doctoral research project involved using remote sensing to evaluate the effects of canopy cover loss on snow dynamics in the interior of British Columbia. More specifically, I linked Landsat and LiDAR data to characterize forest structure changes produced by the mountain pine beetle across a large watershed, where prototype ultrasonic range sensors were deployed to monitor snow accumulation and ablation. While the increased risk of flooding resulting from clearcutting due to more snow accumulation and faster melting has been well documented, I was able to estimate a suite of key canopy structure variables used for hydrologic modeling at a pixel-by-pixel level in the entire watershed. This represented a major methodological improvement for hydrologic modeling, increasing our ability to more accurately predict the hydrologic impacts of widespread insect outbreaks.

I the past few years, I have been fully dedicated to teaching undergraduate courses about Forest Management, Statistics, Remote Sensing and Hydrology at UBC and SFU. I am passionate about innovative teaching-learning approaches and will put all my pedagogical expertise in the MGEM program by running the Professional Development course. Its mission is to provide students with experiential knowledge and tangible tools to significantly enhance their motivation, confidence, extracurricular skills, resumes and, ultimately, the likelihood of being hired or start a business immediately upon graduation.

Some of my favorite publications include:

Varhola A., Coops N.C, Weiler M., Moore R.D. 2010. Forest canopy effects on snow accumulation and ablation: an integrative review of empirical results. Journal of Hydrology 392 (3-4): 219-233.

Varhola A., Coops N.C. 2013. Estimation of watershed-level distributed forest structure metrics relevant to hydrologic modeling using LiDAR and Landsat. Journal of Hydrology 487: 70-86.

White J.C., Wulder M.A., Varhola A., Vastaranta M., Coops N.C., Cook B.D. 2013. A best practices guide for generating forest inventory attributes from LiDAR. Version 1. Internal Report. Pacific Forestry Centre, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada. Victoria, BC. Canada. 67 p.

Andrés Varhola