Research Staff

Josef Kellndorfer, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist
Woods Hole Research Center
149 Woods Hole Road
Falmouth, MA 02540-1644

Dr. Kellndorfer’s research focuses on the monitoring and assessment of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and the dissemination of Earth observation findings to policy makers through education and capacity building. Using geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, and modeling, he studies land-use, land cover and climate change on a regional and global scale. His projects include carbon and biomass mapping of the United States, mapping forest cover across the tropical forested regions of Africa, Latin America and Asia through the generation of consistent data sets of high-resolution, cloud-free radar imagery. Before joining the Center, Kellndorfer was a research scientist with the Radiation Laboratory in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan. He holds a diploma degree in physical geography and a doctorate in geosciences from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany. He serves on various expert working groups within NASA, the Group on Earth Observation, and GOFC-GOLD addressing forest carbon measurements in vegetation from remote sensing with existing and future remote sensing and field measurements.


Ph.D. in Geosciences, The University of Munich
College of Geosciences, 1998 (Magna Cum Laude)

Diploma in Geography, Remote Sensing and Computer Science
The University of Munich, College of Geosciences, 1993

Professional Experience

  • 2011 - Present: Senior Scientist, The Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, Massachusetts
  • 2005 - 2011: Associate Scientist, The Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, Massachusetts
  • 2010: Adjunct Lecturer, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, College of Arts and Sciences
  • The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
    • Assistant Research Scientist, Radiation Laboratory, EECS Department, 2000-2005
    • Assistant Research Scientist, Center for Statistical Consultation and Research, 2002-2005
    • Project Associate for the Vice President for Research, Lead for Campus Initiative on GIS, 2000-2005
    • Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Radiation Laboratory, EECS Department, 1998
    • Visiting Research Investigator, Radiation Laboratory, EECS Department, 1995-1997
    • Visiting Research Scholar, Radiation Laboratory, EECS Department, 1994
  • 1998-2000: Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, EnviSense Corporation, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Selected publications

Culbert, P.D., Radeloff, V., Flather, C., Kellndorfer J., Rittenhouse, C., Pidgeon, A. (2013). The influence of vertical and horizontal habitat structure on nationwide patterns of avian biodiversity. The Auk, 130, 656- 665.

Cartus, O., Santoro, M., & Kellndorfer, J. (2012). Mapping forest aboveground biomass in the Northeastern United States with ALOS PALSAR dual-polarization L-band. Remote Sensing of Environment, 124, 466-478

Zhu, Z., Woodcock, C.E., Rogan, J., & Kellndorfer, J. (2012). Assessment of spectral, polarimetric, temporal, and spatial dimensions for urban and peri-urban land cover classification using Landsat and SAR data. Remote Sensing of Environment, 117, 72-82

Hall, F.G., Bergen, K., Blair, J.B., Dubayah, R., Houghton, R., Hurtt, G., Kellndorfer, J., Lefsky, M., Ranson, J., Saatchi, S., Shugart, H.H., & Wickland, D. (2011). Characterizing 3D vegetation structure from space: Mission requirements. Remote Sensing of Environment, 115, 2753-2775

Walker, W.S., Stickler, C.M., Kellndorfer, J.M., Kirsch, K.M., & Nepstad, D.C. (2010). Large-Area Classification and Mapping of Forest and Land Cover in the Brazilian Amazon: A Comparative Analysis of ALOS/PALSAR and Landsat Data Sources. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, 3, 594-604

Kellndorfer, J., Walker, W., LaPoint E., K. Kirsch, (2010). Statistical Fusion of Lidar, InSAR, and Optical Remote Sensing Data for Forest Stand Height Characterization: A Regional-Scale Method based on LVIS, SRTM, Landsat ETM+, and Ancillary Data Sets. Geophysical Research Letters, 115

Baker, D.J., Richards, G., Grainger, A., Gonzalez, P., Brown, S., DeFries, R., Held, A., Kellndorfer, J., Ndunda, P., Ojima, D., Skrovseth, P.-E., Souza Jr, C., & Stolle, F. (2010). Achieving forest carbon information with higher certainty: A five-part plan. Environmental Science & Policy, In Press

Kellndorfer, J., MacDonald K. “Microwave Remote Sensors.” In: T. Warner, M.D. Nellis & G.M. Foody (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Remote Sensing (586 pages): Sage, Chapter 13, Pages 179-198, 2009.

Whitcomb, J., Moghaddam, M., McDonald, K., Kellndorfer, J., & Podest, E. (2009). Mapping Wetlands of Alaska Using L-Band Satellite Radar Imagery. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing, 35, 54-72

Goetz, S., Baccini, A., Laporte, N., Johns, T., Walker, W., Kellndorfer, J., Houghton, R., & Sun, M. (2009). Mapping and monitoring carbon stocks with satellite observations: a comparison of methods. Carbon Balance and Management, 4, 2

Kwarteng, A.Y., Dobson, M.C., Kellndorfer, J., & Williams, R. (2008). SAR-based land cover classification of Kuwait. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 29, 6739 - 6778

Walker, W.S., Kellndorfer, J.M., & Pierce, L.E. (2007). Quality assessment of SRTM C- and X-band interferometric data: Implications for the retrieval of vegetation canopy height. Remote Sensing of Environment, 106, 428-448

Walker, W.S., Kellndorfer, J., LaPointe, E., Hoppus, M., & Westfall, J. (2007). An Empirical SRTM-based Approach to Mapping Vegetation Canopy Height for the Conterminous United States. Remote Sensing of Environment, 109, 482-499

Thieme, M., Lehner, B., Abell, R., Hamilton, S.K., Kellndorfer, J., Powell, G., & Riveros, J.C. (2007). Freshwater conservation planning in data-poor areas: An example from a remote Amazonian basin (Madre de Dios River, Peru and Bolivia). Biological Conservation, 135, 484-501

Hamilton, S.K., Kellndorfer, J., Lehner, B., & Tobler, M. (2007). Remote sensing of floodplain geomorphology as a surrogate for biodiversity in a tropical river system (Madre de Dios, Peru). Geomorphology, 89, 23-38

Pierce, L.E., Kellndorfer, J.M., Walker, W.S., & Barros, O. (2006). Evaluation of the horizontal resolution of SRTM elevation data. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, 72, 1235-1244

Kellndorfer, J.M., Walker, W.S., Pierce, L.E., Dobson, M.C., Fites, J.A., Hunsaker, C.T., Vona, J.D., & Clutter, M. (2004). Vegetation height estimation from Shuttle Radar Topography Mission and National Elevation Datasets. Remote Sensing of Environment, 93, 339-358

Kellndorfer, J.M., Dobson, M.C., Vona, J.D., & Clutter, M. (2003). Toward precision forestry: plot-level parameter retrieval for slash pine plantations with JPL AIRSAR. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 41, 1571-1582

Kellndorfer, J.M., Pierce, L.E., Dobson, M.C., & Ulaby, F.T. (1998). Toward consistent regional-to-global-scale vegetation characterization using orbital SAR systems. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 36, 1396-1411

Dobson, M.C., Ulaby, F.T., Pierce, L.E., Sharik, T.L., Bergen, K.M., Kellndorfer, J., Kendra, J.R., Li, E., Lin, Y.C., Nashashibi, A., Sarabandi, K., & Siqueira, P. (1995). Estimation of forest biophysical characteristics in Northern Michigan with SIR-C/X-SAR. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 33, 877-895

Leischner, M., Kellndorfer, J., & Streck, C. (1991). A Concept for Global Access To Information On Geographical Databases. Geojournal, 24, 125-129