Dr Pedro Rodríguez-Veiga


Research Associate

Centre for Landscape and Climate Research

School of Geography, Geology and the Environment

NERC National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO)

Contact Details

My research aims to synthesise field observations with Optical, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and LiDAR data to better characterize biomass, forest structure and dynamics across different forest biomes. This work intends to reduce the uncertainties on terrestrial carbon, provide a better understanding of the global carbon cycle and support climate change policies worldwide.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol addressed the importance of reducing and monitoring greenhouse gases (GHG), being carbon the most significant of those. Global forests store circa 45% of terrestrial carbon, and are one of the main carbon sinks in the planet. However, terrestrial carbon pools and fluxes are still one of the major remaining uncertainties in climate science. To calculate fluxes associated with carbon stocks and changes, biomass estimates are used.



Biomass is an Essential Climate Variable (ECV) required by the Global Climate Observing System to support the work of the UNFCCC and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in monitoring climate change, and by international mechanisms such as Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest degradation (REDD+) for Measurement Reporting and Verification (MRV) activities.

Forest biomes store different amounts of biomass carbon depending on climatic conditions, vegetation structure, species, growth-form of trees, soil types, and other characteristics. Global estimates of biomass carbon stocks have been produced in the past to support the monitoring of CO2 emissions from processes of deforestation and land use change. However, very few global biomass carbon estimates are spatially explicit.

New approaches using a combination of sensors and ground data are crucial to develop accurate maps of land cover dynamics and biophysical parameters across the landscape. The combination of spatial products from current and forthcoming series of new satellites from the ESA Copernicus Program (i.e. Sentinels, BIOMASS), JAXA (i.e. ALOS-2 PALSAR-2), and NASA (i.e. Landsat-8, GEDI) opens unprecedented possibilities for forest monitoring.




  • Since 2017 NCEO - Official Development Assistance (ODA) - EO research for land-atmosphere services in DAC Countries. Forest carbon stocks and fluxes from deforestation and degradation in East Africa.
  • Since 2017 Forest2020 - UK Space Agency International Partnership Programme (IPP), ) working in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Ghana, Kenya and Indonesia
  • Since 2016 SPIRITS - Challenges of Phenology-based Global Land Cover Classification - Kyoto University
  • 2014 - 2017 Data User Element GlobBiomass – European Space Agency (ESA).
  • 2015 - 2016 Advancing Earth Observation Applications in Forests - UK Space Agency International Partnership Space Programme (IPSP), working in Brazil and Mexico
  • 2016 EODIP - Identifying and Capitalising on the Opportunities Sentinel offers for Monitoring and Management of Forests and Woodland in UK - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
  • 2016 - 2017 REDD+ Monitoring Services with Satellite Earth Observation - Community Forest Monitoring Pilot in Kenya - NERC follow-on funding.
  • 2011 - 2014 GIONET - GMES Initial Operations-Network for Earth Observation Research Training - Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions (European Commission).



I have varied work experiences in industrial, consultancy and academic sectors in different countries. I graduated with a BEng Forestry Engineering from the University of Vigo (Spain) and carried out my bachelor thesis at the University of Joensuu (Finland) where I developed a mathematical model to be used in Decision Support Systems (DSS) for forestry, which expresses scenic beauty of the forest in relation to biophysical forest features such as mean stand diameter or number of trees.

I then worked as Forestry Engineer in the Forest Division of ENCE group on forest inventory, GIS, forest management planning, and facilitating forest certification schemes. ENCE manages approximately 115,000 hectares of land in Spain, Portugal, and Uruguay for the production of market pulp and energy from forest biomass.

To further my understanding on forest ecosystems, I pursued a MSc in Forest Ecology and Management at the Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg (Germany). I also worked as a Research and Teaching Assistant in the university in three Institutes: Silviculture, Forest Utilization & Work Science, and Remote Sensing & Landscape Information Systems. Additionally, with funding from the CRC for Forestry, I spent some time as a Visiting Researcher at the University of Melbourne (Australia) developing Biomass Allometric Equations for Australia’s Eucalyptus species.

Prior to working with the University of Leicester, I was working during 2 years with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) in Hanoi (Vietnam) as Associated Technical Advisor of Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development facilitating the introduction and implementation of Forest Management Information Systems as well as collaborating with partners in a variety of topics such as capacity building, forest inventory standards, GIS / Remote Sensing, and REDD+ mechanism.

During my time at the University of Leicester I have completed three secondments with external institutions. I spent two months working with Airbus Defence and Space UK in Leicester, and two months at the Friedrich‑Schiller‑University of Jena in Germany. I also carried out a three‑month placement at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena (California, USA).


Honors & Awards

  • Copernicus Master - Sustainable Living Challenge 2017 award by the Satellite Applications Catapult, under the umbrella of Copernicus, the European Programme for Earth Observation (2017). The Copernicus Masters is an international competition (also known as the 'Space Oscars') which awards prizes to innovative solutions, developments and ideas for business and society based on Earth observation data.
  • Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions - European Commission, PhD funding (2011 - 2014)
  • Scholarship for University Studies - Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, Spain (2000 - 2005)



See ResearchGate profile for the most updated information.


  • Rodríguez-Veiga, P., Wheeler, J., Louis, V., Tansey, K. & Balzter, H. 2017. Quantifying Forest Biomass Carbon Stocks from Space. Current Forestry Reports, 1-18, http:/dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40725-017-0052-5, ISSN: 2198-6436
  • Rodriguez-Veiga, P., Saatchi, S., Wheeler, J., Tansey, K. & Balzter, H. 2017. Methodology for Regional to Global Mapping of Aboveground Forest Biomass: Integrating Forest Allometry, Ground Plots, and Satellite Observations. Earth Observation for Land and Emergency Monitoring, 7, ISSN: 1118793749.
  • Wheeler, J., Rodriguez-Veiga, P., Balzter, H., Tansey, K. & Tate, N. 2017. Forest Mapping of the Congo Basin using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). Earth Observation for Land and Emergency Monitoring, 57, ISSN: 1118793749.
  • Rodriguez-Veiga, P., Saatchi, S., Tansey, K. & Balzter, H. 2016. Magnitude, spatial distribution and uncertainty of forest biomass stocks in Mexico. Remote Sensing of Environment, 183, 265-281, http:/dx.doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2016.06.004, ISSN: 0034-4257.
  • Urbazaev, M., Thiel, C., Migliavacca, M., Reichstein, M., Rodriguez-Veiga, P. & Schmullius, C. 2016. Improved Multi-Sensor Satellite-Based Aboveground Biomass Estimation by Selecting Temporally Stable Forest Inventory Plots Using NDVI Time Series. Forests, 7, 169, http:/dx.doi.org/10.3390/f7080169.
  • Ningthoujam, R., Balzter, H., Tansey, K., Morrison, K., Johnson, S., Gerard, F., George, C., Malhi, Y., Burbidge, G., Doody, S., Veck, N., Llewellyn, G., Blythe, T., Rodriguez-Veiga, P., Van Beijma, S., Spies, B., Barnes, C., Padilla-Parellada, M., Wheeler, J., Louis, V., Potter, T., Edwards-Smith, A. & Bermejo, J. 2016. Airborne S-Band SAR for Forest Biophysical Retrieval in Temperate Mixed Forests of the UK. Remote Sensing, 8, 609, ISSN: 2072-4292.
  • Stelmaszczuk-Górska, M. A., Rodriguez-Veiga, P., Ackermann, N., Thiel, C., Balzter, H. & Schmullius, C. 2015. Non-Parametric Retrieval of Aboveground Biomass in Siberian Boreal Forests with ALOS PALSAR Interferometric Coherence and Backscatter Intensity. Journal of Imaging, 2, 1.
  • Blasco, E., González-Olabarria, JR., Rodríguez-Veiga, P., Pukkala, T., Kolhemainen, O., Palahí, M., 2009. Predicting Scenic Beauty of forest stands in Catalonia (North-east Spain). Journal of Forestry Research 20(1):73−78

Non Peer-Reviewed

  • Robb, C., Rodriguez-Veiga, P. & Balzter, H. Near-real-time deforestation monitoring with Sentinel-2 in Kenya disseminated via a mobile app, 2017. SENSED from RSPSoc magazine, issue 64
  • Rodriguez-Veiga, P., Saatchi, S., Tansey, K. & Balzter, H., 2014. Global Biomass Information System: Mapping AboveGround Biomass, Uncertainty, and Forest Area using Multi-Platform Earth Observation Datasets. GIONET D2 Deliverable Report. Framework Programme 7, PEOPLE programme, Marie Curie Initial Training Networks-ITN
  • Wheeler, J., Tansey, K., Balzter, H., Rodríguez-Veiga, P., Waldram, M., and Lynch, J., 2012. Monitoring Tropical Deforestation. The growing use of GMES across Europe's regions. NEREUS/ESA-Publication; 124-125
  • Rodríguez-Veiga, P., 2008. Allometric Biomass Equations for Plantations of Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus nitens in Australia. University of Melbourne - CRC for Forestry Report

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