Dr Sandra Luque







Research Director



I am a Research Director at IRSTEA (National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture), France and Senior Visiting Researcher at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, and UK. I have a PhD in Geography with Specialization on Landscape Ecology from Rutgers The State University of New Jersey (USA). I am a former NASA Fellow on Global Change research from the Earth Observation Program. I was Research Fellow at Lucy Cavendish College Cambridge under a Daphne Jackson Trust Research Fellowship for Women in Science at the Geography Department, University of Cambridge, UK. In 2001 I was invited as a Senior Research Scientist at METLA Finnish Forest Research Institute, Helsinki, Finland until 2006. Then I moved into France to take a senior position financed by Ministry of Research.

Working in international funded research projects has provided me with the experience of operating in multidisciplinary teams from government and international organisations. In addition, one of my most rewarding experiences has been in teaching students from different cultural backgrounds and nationalities. At present, I am nominated Chair for the IUFRO Working Party “Forest Landscape Ecology” (Division 8); the group has more than 650 experts all over the world. I am also the Deputy Coordinator for the Division 8 – Forest Environment in IUFRO. I was elected Vice-president of IALE (International Association for Landscape Ecology) where I served from 2005 to 2013. I am nominated Expert for the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), on the development of a guide to the production and integration of assessments from and across all levels. I am leading the ESP BIOME Expert Group on Temperate & Boreal Forest (a platform for researchers and practitioners to exchange information and discuss ideas and experiences on Assessment of Ecosystem Services provided by the various types of temperate and boreal forest ecosystems). I recently served as one of the FAO Expert Panel Members in support of the Evaluation of the CGIAR Research Program on Forest, Trees and Agro-Forestry, on the development of a guide to the production and integration of assessments from and across all levels


As a landscape ecologist, my research interests cover a broad range of areas, with focus on spatio-temporal dynamics and disturbances at the landscape level, spatial heterogeneity and landscape patterns, implications for communities, and ecosystem processes. I look at biodiversity and habitat quality at different scales and its implications for ecosystem processes and planning. Within this context, I am particularly interested on the key role that the human dimension imprints on both, obvious and subtle impacts on ecosystems and its services in order to implement and plan an adaptive management of natural resources in different geographical regions and conditions. I work towards effective methods for linking landscape ecology with remotely-sensed data to extract specific, user-oriented information at multiple scales. In particular, I specialize on coupled biophysical models with field data and remote sensing to provide spatially explicit answers of LULCC. I focus research on cross-cutting issues in relation to sustainable development concepts and tools.

As a scientist trained within the Earth System Science community, I would like to see much more interdisciplinary research to actually bridge the many existing gaps to work towards the new challenges and endeavours of human social and ecological processes within the global change agenda.

The projects that I am involved at present focus mainly on spatially explicit ecosystem services applications:

2015 – 2018  ESMERALDA EU H2020 Enhancing ecoSysteM sERvices mApping for poLicy and Decision mAking,                        H2020 Concerted Action – Partner Representative for France
2012 – 2016  OpenNess OPERATIONALISATION OF NATURAL CAPITAL AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: FROM                        CONCEPTS TO REAL-WORLD APPLICATIONS EU FP7-ENV-2012 Collaborative project.                        Coordination of the Forest Cluster study sites & Coordinator of the French study site in the Vercors Mts                        range.

I also have national level funded projects working with coupled habitat models from field data at the species level and VHR remote sensing data:

2012 – 2014  MOCHAB Modélisation de la distribution des espèces : un outil pour l’évaluation, la conservation des                       habitats d’espèces et des continuités écologiques. Financed by DEB- MEEDDEM (Ministère de                       l’Ecologie, Direction de l’eau et de la biodiversité), France. Project Coordinator
2011 – 2016  CarHab Cartographie nationale des végétations naturelles et semi-naturelles terrestres en France.                       Financed by MEEDDEM (Ministère de l’Ecologie, Direction de l’eau et de la biodiversité, France).                       Coordination action: « Apports de la télédétection pour la cartographie des végétations naturelles et                       semi-naturelles terrestres»
2012 – 2014  CHAMOIS : Cartographie HAute résolution des Milieux Ouverts d’altitude (pelouses, prairies, landes) de                       l’Isère. In co-cordination with LECA CNRS funded by Conseil de l’Isere (CG38) Pôle départemental de                       Recherches sur la biodiversité en Isère https://www.isere.fr/environnement/ The project aims at the                       development of high resolution mapping (5-10 m) of test zones in Vercors, Belledonne & Ecrins in the                       French Alps.

In addition to funded projects, I do have numerous collaborations with researchers in Europe and Latin America working on Cross-cutting issues with specific focus on Sustainable Development concepts and tools. In particular, we are interested on the vulnerability of social ecological systems and the need to work towards a more holistic concept to target concrete planning for conservation purposes.

Selected Publications