Fernando Sedano is an Associate Research Professor at the Department of Geographical Sciences of the University of Maryland and project scientist for the Joint Global Carbon Cycle Center (JGCCC).

Fernando holds a PhD. in Environmental Science, Policy and Management from the University of California at Berkeley (2008) and BSc. and MSc. in Forestry from the University of Valladolid (Spain). Before joining the University of Maryland Fernando worked as postdoctoral researcher at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. His worked involved the development of remote sensing-based methods for forest monitoring and burned scar-mapping methodologies at continental level. He also worked on the characterization of wildfires in boreal ecosystems at the Department of Earth System Sciences of the University of California at Irvine. Previously to his academic live he worked for several years as forest consultant and remote sensing specialist in Southern Africa, South America and South East Asia. 

Fernando is interested in understanding environmental processes and its connections with human development. Most of his current research focuses on Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) where he investigates long-term and poorly characterized land cover change processes. Because of the confluence of environmental, socioeconomic and historical factors, several ecosystems in SSA could be reaching an ecological tipping point. These ecosystems are closely tied to the livelihoods of entire communitiesand their collapse could potentially trigger the adoption of maladaptation practices, land degradation, increasing poverty rates, migration and conflict.

He combines multi source remote sensing imagery, socioeconomic indicators, geospatial analysis and machine learning theoryto characterize, monitor and forecast these processes as a first step towards the design and implementation of efficient interventions. As an example, his current research investigates the connection between urban energy demand in African cities, charcoal production and forest degradation or the intersection between historical land use dynamics and current poverty rates, migration and conflict in Northern Nigeria.

Areas of Interest

  • Multi sensor remote sensing
  • Machine learning
  • Time series analysis
  • African ecosystem dynamics
  • Land cover - Land Use Change processes
  • Land degradation
  • Food security


  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    Environmental Science, Policy and Management

1) Forest degradation driven by charcoal production: characterization, quantification and forecasting to improve carbon monitoring systems in southern Africa (NASA).

2) Cropland Carbon Monitoring System (CCMS): A satellite-based system to estimate carbon fluxes on U.S croplands (NASA).

3) Climate, Conflict, Migration and Poverty in Northern Nigeria (World Bank).

4) Investigating the Dynamic Intersections Among Economic Development, Urbanization, and Forest Degradation (NSF).

fsedano [at] umd.edu