PhD position (internship) in monitoring tropical forests for REDD+ “Assessing tropical forest characteristics with terrestrial laser scanning” CLOSED

Environment Research Team

The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) envisions a more equitable world where forestry and landscapes enhance the environment and well-being for all. CIFOR is a non-profit, scientific institution that conducts research on the most pressing challenges of forest and landscape management around the world. Using a global, multidisciplinary approach, we aim to improve human well-being, protect the environment, and increase equity. To do so, we conduct innovative research, develop partners’ capacity, and actively engage in dialogue with all stakeholders to inform policies and practices that affect forests and people. CIFOR is a CGIAR Research Center, and leads the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). Our headquarters are in Bogor, Indonesia, with offices in Nairobi, Kenya, Yaoundé, Cameroon, and Lima, Peru.

CIFOR is looking for a

PhD position (internship) in monitoring tropical forests for REDD+ “Assessing tropical forest characteristics with terrestrial laser scanning”


The Centre for Geo-Information at Wageningen University (NL) is offering a PhD position in collaboration with the Center of International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Indonesia to perform research for a four-year coordinated global comparative research project on REDD demonstration activities and national initiatives in selected countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America. The project consists of five components: (1) national REDD initiatives (policy processes and strategies), (2) demonstration activities, (3) monitoring and reference levels, (4) mitigation-adaptation synergies and landscape carbon modeling, and (5) knowledge sharing.

Duties and responsibilities

The candidate is expected to work in component 3 and focus on studying terrestrial laser scanning for assessing tropical forest characteristics such as height, volume, foliage and biomass and related changes due to human activities. Terrestrial laser scanning has received increasing attention for its capacity to allow retrieving forest structural parameters and better linking ground and remote sensing data for quantitative forest monitoring. Although there are some experiences of exploring this technology in sub-tropical and tropical forest environments, systematic studies in tropical forests are largely missing. Research would involve evaluating different data acquisition strategies in terms of sampling and scanning density in different forest densities and understory characteristics, assessing the accuracy of t-LIDAR estimates to determine key forest parameters such as height, volume, and biomass, studying the role of the full-waveform t-LIDAR signals and different processing schemes and process and using the LIDAR data for collaborative research with the other project partners.

Education, knowledge and experience

 A motivated researcher with MSc degree
 Related experiences in Forestry, Remote Sensing, Terrestrial surveying, Ecology, Environmental Science, or Geography or a related field.
 A background in terrestrial laser scanning and related data analysis and processing is an asset.
 Knowledge about tropical forests and the REDD process is appreciated. Experiences and willingness to work with and in developing tropical countries, and organizing and conducting field work in tropical forests is important.
 Excellent written and spoken English

Personal Attributes and Competencies

• Be self motivated, outgoing and welcome the opportunity to work with significant autonomy
• Be a team player and have excellent interpersonal communications skills

Terms and Conditions

• The PhD position is supported by CIFOR with a monthly stipend of €1700 for a maximum of 4 years. The PhD research is conducted mainly at the Centre for Geo-Information at Wageningen University (NL) and the related Graduate School ( under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Martin Herold in close collaboration with CIFOR partners.
• The successful candidate is expected to spend some time at CIFOR’s headquarter in Bogor, Indonesia, and to spend a significant amount of time with field work in different locations. He/she is also required to engage in international exchange and meetings.

Application process

The application deadline is 13 Apr-2014
We will acknowledge all applications, but will contact only short-listed candidates.