Dr Pedro Rodríguez-Veiga

NCEO Researcher at Centre for Landscape and Climate Research. Research focus on Earth Observation of the land surface from satellite and airborne instruments, Forest Inventory, GIS, Statistical Modelling, Spatial Analysis, and Carbon Dynamics in Forest Ecosystems


Centre for Landscape and Climate Research

School of Geography, Geology and the Environment

NERC National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO)

Contact Details

Personal Details

BEng, M.Sc, PhD

I am a researcher of the UK's National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO) based at the University of Leicester. I work in research and development cooperation projects in the fields of earth observation, forestry, terrestrial carbon and vegetation structure.

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).

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.

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 several secondments with external institutions: I carried out a placement at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena (California, USA) in 2012-2013. I also spent time with Airbus Defence and Space UK in 2013, and at the Friedrich‑Schiller‑University of Jena in Germany in 2014. I was also awarded with a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) International Fellowship for a 6-month research placement at Kyoto University in Japan in 2019.


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 2020. Standardising Earth Observation approaches to Forest Carbon Stock assessment for Carbon Offset audit and verification - SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology (SPRINT)
  • Since 2018. Biomass Climate Change Initiative (CCI+) - European Space Agency (ESA).
  • Since 2018. NCEO Carbon cycle: land, atmosphere & oceans - Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC)
  • Since 2018. NCEO Official Development Assistance (ODA) - Full Award. EO research for land-atmosphere services in DAC Countries. Forest carbon stocks and fluxes from deforestation and degradation in East Africa - Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC)
  • Since 2017. Forests 2020 - UK Space Agency International Partnership Programme (IPP) 2019. Analysing tropical forest dynamics using dense time-series satellite data. Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS) short-term fellowship
  • 2017-2018. NCEO - Official Development Assistance (ODA) - Foundation Award. EO research for land-atmosphere services in DAC Countries. Forest carbon stocks and fluxes from deforestation and degradation in East Africa - Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC)
  • 2016-2017. SPIRITS - Challenges of Phenology-based Global Land Cover Classification - Kyoto University
  • 2014 - 2017. Data User Element GlobBiomass - European Space Agency (ESA).
  • 2016 - 2017. REDD+ Monitoring Services with Satellite Earth Observation: Community Forest Monitoring Pilot in Kenya - NERC follow-on funding.
  • 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).
  • 2011 - 2014. GIONET - GMES Initial Operations-Network for Earth Observation Research Training - Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions (European Commission)

Honors & Awards


See ResearchGate profile for the most updated information.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Papers

  • Rodríguez-Veiga, P., Carreiras, J., Smallman, T.L., Exbrayat, J.-F., Ndambiri, J., Mutwiri, F., Nyasaka, D., Quegan, S., Williams, M. and Balzter, H. 2020: Carbon Stocks and Fluxes in Kenyan Forests and Wooded Grasslands Derived from Earth Observation and Model-Data Fusion. Remote Sensing 12, 2380. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12152380
  • Santoro, M., Cartus, O., Carvalhais, N., Rozendaal, D., Avitabilie, V., Araza, A., de Bruin, S., Herold, M., Quegan, S., Rodríguez Veiga, P., Balzter, H., Carreiras, J., Schepaschenko, D., Korets, M., Shimada, M., Itoh, T., Moreno Martínez, Á., Cavlovic, J., Cazzolla Gatti, R., da Conceição Bispo, P., Dewnath, N., Labrière, N., Liang, J., Lindsell, J., Mitchard, E. T. A., Morel, A., Pacheco Pascagaza, A. M., Ryan, C. M., Slik, F., Vaglio Laurin, G., Verbeeck, H., Wijaya, A., and Willcock, S. In review, 2020. The global forest above-ground biomass pool for 2010 estimated from high-resolution satellite observations, Earth Syst. Sci. Data Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2020-148
  • Bispo, P. D. C., Rodríguez-Veiga, P., Zimbres, B., Do Couto De Miranda, S., Henrique Giusti Cezare, C., Fleming, S., Baldacchino, F., Louis, V., Rains, D., Garcia, M., Del Bon Espírito-Santo, F., Roitman, I., Pacheco-Pascagaza, A. M., Gou, Y., Roberts, J., Barrett, K., Ferreira, L. G., Shimbo, J. Z., Alencar, A., Bustamante, M., Woodhouse, I. H., Eyji Sano, E., Ometto, J. P., Tansey, K. & Balzter, H. 2020. Woody Aboveground Biomass Mapping of the Brazilian Savanna with a Multi-Sensor and Machine Learning Approach. Remote Sensing, 12, 2685.
  • Rodríguez-Veiga, P., S. Quegan, J. Carreiras, H. J. Persson, J. E. S. Fransson, A. Hoscilo, D. Ziółkowski, K. Stereńczak, S. Lohberger, M. Stängel, A. Berninger, F. Siegert, V. Avitabile, M. Herold, S. Mermoz, A. Bouvet, T. Le Toan, N. Carvalhais, M. Santoro, O. Cartus, Y. Rauste, R. Mathieu, G. P. Asner, C. Thiel, C. Pathe, C. Schmullius, F. M. Seifert, K. Tansey & Balzter, H. 2019. "Forest biomass retrieval approaches from earth observation in different biomes." International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation 77: 53-68.
  • Tsutsumida N, Rodríguez-Veiga P., Harris P, Balzter H, Comber A. 2019 Investigating spatial error structures in continuous raster data. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation. 2019;74:259-68, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jag.2018.09.020
  • 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., 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, https://doi.org/10.3390/rs8070609
  • 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, https://doi.org/10.3390/jimaging2010001
  • 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, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11676-009-0013-3

Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters

  • 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.

Peer-Reviewed Conference Papers

  • Rodríguez-Veiga, P.; Barbosa-Herrera, A.P.; Barreto-Silva, J.S.; Bispo, P.C.; Cabrera, E.; Capachero, C.; Galindo, G.; Gou, Y.; Moreno, L.M.; Louis, V., et al. Mapping the Spatial Distribution of Colombia’s Forest Aboveground Biomass using SAR and Optical Data. Int. Arch. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci. 2019, XLII-3/W7, 57-60, doi:10.5194/isprs-archives-XLII-3-W7-57-2019.
  • Tsutsumida, N.; Nagai, S.; Rodríguez-Veiga, P.; Katagi, J.; Nasahara, K.; Tadono, T. Mapping Spatial Accuracy of Forest Type Classification in JAXA’s High-Resolution Land Use and Land Cover Map. ISPRS Ann. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci. 2019, IV-3/W1, 57-63, doi:10.5194/isprs-annals-IV-3-W1-57-2019.


  • Carreiras, J. M. B. & Rodriguez-Veiga, P. (2018). "Editorial for Special Issue: “Remote Sensing of Forest Cover Change”." Remote Sensing 11(1): 38.

Non Peer-Reviewed

  • Rodriguez-Veiga, P., Tansey, K. and Balzter, H 2019. Mapping forest aboveground biomass stocks and changes over the Yucatan peninsula. Sensed. p16-19, issue 74, Oct 2019.

  • Robb, C., Rodriguez-Veiga, P. & Balzter, H. 2017. Near-real-time deforestation monitoring with Sentinel-2 in Kenya disseminated via a mobile app. 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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