Willem van Leeuwen

Professor, SGD and SNRE

Director, Arizona Remote Sensing Center

Chair, Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis GIDP


The most exciting research projects I am pursuing are multi-disciplinary in nature. My main research interests lie in understanding soil and vegetation ecosystem dynamics and how they respond to climate and human interactions. These interests center on the diverse ecosystems of the Western U.S. My research efforts seek an improved understanding of long term landscape-scale dynamics in forest and rangeland ecosystems, concentrating especially on ecosystem health and sustainability.

In the southwestern United States, drought, wildfire and monsoon rainfall events can have a devastating impact on the sustainable use of natural resources. As such, understanding ecosystems responses to and the effects of wildfire, water erosion and management activities are foci of my research interests. In addition to applying remote sensing and GIS techniques to problems of sustainable land use and land degradation, a long-term goal of mine is to develop new drought and ecosystem monitoring products based on the integration of climate data and remotely sensed land surface temperature and biophysical data.

Current research projects revolve around Decision Support Systems and the integration of remotely sensed products in Geographic Information Systems in order to monitor natural resources, snow https://climate.arizona.edu/snowview/and vegetation dynamics https://droughtview.arizona.edu/, post-wildfire effects, and land degradation through time and across landscapes.

Remote sensing science research interests include canopy and atmospheric radiative tranfer, multispectral time series analysis for better understanding  climate and phenology interactions, lidar and multispectral data fusion for enhanced land cover classifications.