Remote sensing is an exciting scientific and applications discipline that consists of a number of tools for solving real world problems. The problems I am interested in concern human interactions with natural processes that affect distributions of vegetation, and the health of that vegetation to support diverse ecosystems. Because of this, my research focus is on the translation of remotely sensed data into useful ecological information for process modeling and resource management applications. Primary applications include vegetation monitoring, carbon dynamics, and biodiversity. By necessity, I focus on the full spectrum of analyses from calibrating raw sensor data through the development of land cover and cover change map products using innovative approaches. Characterizing uncertainly in change maps and estimating area of disturbed forest by disturbance magnitude and agent are important new research pursuits. I remain actively engaged in exploiting Landsat time series, MODIS, and lidar data, and in integrating data from multiple sensors with field data for effective use in ecology. I am on the editorial board of the journal Remote Sensing of Environment and since the early 1990s have been actively engaged in several aspects of the Landsat program.

Warren B. Cohen
USDA Forest Service, Research Forester &

Director, LARSE


Vegetation Monitoring & Remote Sensing Team (VMaRS)

Resource Monitoring and Assessment Program

Courtesy Faculty, Oregon State University & Nanjing Forestry University

Member, Landsat Science Team

 & Carbon Monitoring System Science Team


I am interested in ecological modeling with remote sensing for landscape and regional ecological information; forest succession; ecological informatics and application development for ecological researches.
My current work includes linking time series of spectral data with different successional trajectories; spatial modeling of ecosystem production through BiomBGC modeling; developing methods to quantify uncertainties associated with remote sensing analysis.
Zhiqiang Yang
OSU Research Associate &
LARSE Co-Director

 All around LARSE multi-tasker: managing  agreements, budgets, website, planning conferences, and generally navigating the collective LARSE daily minutiae;

When I am not phoning in from my remote work station in Wenatchee, WA, my husband and I to do the things we like to call fun - playing and watching sports, traveling, skiing, hiking, and just generally enjoying the sunny side of the northwest.

Maureen Duane
OSU Senior Faculty
Research Assistant &
 LARSE Lab Manager

My major research interest is in remote sensing of the carbon, water and energy balance of terrestrial ecosystems. I use remotely sensed observations from towers and satellites to obtain information about vegetation carbon uptake over land and relate this data to models of the carbon, water and energy cycle regionally and globally. A central aspect of my work has been to scale stand level observations to the landscape where it can be observed by satellites. This includes links between vegetation structure and function, which can be obtained for instance using multi-angle optical systems, but also from airborne and terrestrial laser scanning (LiDAR) data.
Thomas Hilker
OSU Assistant Professor

Research Interests: carbon cycling in forest ecosystems and management strategies for increasing carbon storage and sequestration, land cover and land-use change, ecology, succession, and disturbance regime of boreal forests, the role of woody detritus in forest ecosystems including biomass, carbon, and nutrient budgets, Russian environmental history, forestry, forest resources and their management, peatlands and their role in the global balance of greenhouse gasses.
Olga Krankina
OSU Assistant Professor

With a background in environmental education, recreation, and land management, I use remote sensing and geographic information systems to create maps that show people what is happening on planet earth.  My current work includes validation for the LEDAPS project and image analysis for the NELDA project.  Previously, I have contributed towards predicting invasive weeds on the Pacific Crest Trail in southwest Oregon, identifying short vegetation in the southern Cascade Mountains using LiDAR and Landsat TM, analyzing effects of the Biscuit Wildfire in southwest Oregon, and surveying for rare plants.  Though I spend many hours exploring the virtual world, I enjoy exploring the real world, too.  As often as possible, I am hiking, boating, skiing, traveling, and wandering through the western U.S.

Peder Nelson

OSU Senior Faculty

Research Assistant

I recently completed my MS degree at Southern Oregon University studying non-conifer vegetation patterns in relation to environmental and disturbance variables. My masters’ thesis work in addition to my earlier field research in fire ecology, wildlife, and botany, led to an interest in landscape and disturbance ecology as well as plant and animal distributions. As a Research Assistant for LARSE I have been able to continue investigating these interests using remote sensing and GIS. While working in this virtual world I use my past field experiences to critically analyze our remotely sensed products. I am currently validating and performing spatial analysis on a stand replacement disturbance map of northern California. I also recently worked on a project monitoring vegetation changes over time in national parks in southwest Alaska. In my free time I like to get outside and explore whenever I can. I enjoy mountain biking, skiing, backpacking, and rafting.

Eric Pfaff
OSU Faculty
Research Assistant

I work with Dave Turner on the ecosystem modeling component of the BigFoot project. Specifically, I maintain the data and processes used to model gross primary production (GPP) and net primary production (NPP). My expertise is in the management and analysis of spatial data.
Previously, I examined the spatial distribution of Port-Orford cedar root disease within the Smith River National Recreation Area, CA. As one would expect, the spatial distribution is highly clumped (spatially autocorrelated), and the closer a stand is to an existing infection the more likely it is to become infected. Go figure!
In a past life before heading into the realm of natural resources and ecology, I worked as an application developer for a big computer consulting company. I wore a suit and tie everyday and helped sell canned fruits and vegetables. I am clearly heading in a better direction.

Dave Ritts
OSU Senior Faculty
Research Assistant

I am a recent graduate from OSU with a PhD in forestry (forest biometrics) and my research has primarily focused on modeling and estimation of forest attributes with remote sensing – especially with lidar and Landsat. Remote sensing provides an improved capacity to represent what is present in forests, although clearly there are many aspects of modeling and estimation that have yet to be sufficiently explored. I am interested in research that expands our capacity do make inferences from remote sensing (or other auxiliary information) about natural resources, and also in efforts to transition research ideas to practical usage.

Some things I enjoy on the weekends include reading a good book, visiting new places in the Willamette valley, travel, and picking fresh fruit.

Jacob Strunk
OSU Post-Doc

My research interests are primarily in the area of spatially-distributed application of ecosystem models for carbon cycle analysis.  I look to remote sensing sensors including Landsat, MODIS, and ICEsat for spatially extensive model inputs.  I am particularly concerned with issues of spatial resolution, algorithm development, and model validation.  Current studies are focused on the carbon budget of the West Coast of the US and previous studies have included sites ranging from the Amazon Basin to Barrow Alaska.  In my classes and general science writing I am especially interested in the global scale relationship of humanity to the biosphere.  I enjoy family and friends, hiking, mountain biking, playing guitar, and travel.
David Turner
OSU Associate Professor


Warren Cohen, Director
Zhiqiang Yang, co-Director
Maureen Duane, Lab Manager
USDA Forest Service and Oregon State University
3200 SW Jefferson Way
Corvallis, OR 97331