Job Opportunity

Postdoctoral Position in Airborne Laser Scanning of Tropical Forest Carbon Stocks


The GEO-TREES initiative, in partnership with the Forest Global Earth Observatory (ForestGEO) and through support from the Bezos Earth Fund, invites applications for a postdoctoral position in airborne laser scanning of tropical forest carbon stocks.

GEO-TREES is an ambitious collective effort to set up the world's first ground-based, standardized reference system to transparently and independently ensure that satellite observations accurately represent real forest carbon stocks, in all forest types and conditions, today and into the future. This unprecedented multi-network collaboration will use innovative technologies, partnerships and training, broad sampling, as well as long-term commitment and fair funding for field partners to establish 100 core sites and 200 supplementary sites around the globe to measure and monitor forest biomass stocks. It will deliver these data through a first-of-its-kind online portal – openly accessible to the public, to the science and corporate communities, and to space agencies driving critical advances in satellite technology.

ForestGEO is a global network of forest research plots and scientists dedicated to the study of forest function and diversity. ForestGEO conducts long-term, large-scale research on forests around the world to increase scientific understanding of forest ecosystems, guide sustainable forest management and natural-resource policies, monitor the impacts of environmental change, and build capacity in forest science. ForestGEO has joined forces with and TmFO, as well as ESA, CNRS, and other forest plot networks including RAINFOR, AfriTRON, 2ndFor, and SEOSAW to implement the GEO-TREES initiative.

High-quality, above-ground biomass reference data collected by the GEO-TREES initiative will involve three sets of co-located measurements at all core sites: forest inventory data, terrestrial laser scanning (TLS), and airborne laser scanning (ALS). These standardized measurements share a common requirement for high-quality data acquisition, transparent measurement protocols, and a long-term monitoring strategy. The integration of these three sets of measurements provides the greatest reduction in uncertainty associated with biomass measurements.

This postdoctoral position will focus on the acquisition, processing and analysis of ALS data. The role will involve (i) coordinating the acquisition of ALS data across numerous GEO-TREES sites, (ii) developing best-practices for the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of ALS data, and (iii) leading the writing of research papers based on the work. Importantly, the postdoc will be responsible for coordinating efforts to acquire ALS data using a range of different platforms (e.g., drones, helicopters, airplanes) in a way that ensures consistent, accurate and comparable datasets across sites and campaigns.

Candidates should hold a PhD in forest ecology, geography, environmental science, surveying, engineering or related discipline, have strong written and communication skills, and demonstrated ability to work in a team environment. They should have demonstrated expertise in technical field measurements, particularly in lidar data collection and analysis using ALS, ideally with forest-related applications. Candidates should have a strong analytical background, with expertise in handling large datasets and excellent coding skills (R, Python, GitHub etc.), and an established track record of independent research and scholarly publication in their area of expertise.

The position will be based at one of the institutions leading the ALS research for the GEO-TREES initiative (, including the collaborating Smithsonian units, the University of Maryland (USA) and the University of Bristol (UK). The position will be co-supervised by ALS research leads at those institutions (Prof. Laura Duncanson, University of Maryland and Dr. Tommaso Jucker, University of Bristol) and Dr. Stuart Davies (ForestGEO, STRI). The position will require occasional travel to coordinate activities among GEO-TREES project partners and oversee the acquisition of ALS data.

The successful candidate will be appointed at the standard postdoctoral salary and benefits at the selected host institution. The appointment is for two years initially, with opportunity for extension based on successful performance. The start date is flexible, but earlier start dates are preferred.

To apply, send a single PDF file containing a cover letter including a statement of research interest, CV, contact information for three references, and three relevant publications or manuscripts to Lauren Krizel, ForestGEO Program Manager (

Review of applications will begin on 11 March 2024 and continue until the position is filled. 

For further information, contact Stuart Davies ( or Jérôme Chave ( 


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