Professor, Geoinformatics

Director of the Taita Research Station of the University of Helsinki in Kenya

Petri Pellikka is a professor of geoinformatics with primary focus on remote sensing applications on land cover and impact of human-nature interactions on the environment. His research group uses optical remote sensing data including hyperspectral remote sensing data and lidar data in environmental mapping and monitoring. The focus is in Africa, and particularly the land cover and land use change caused by agricultural expansion and conservation, and the impacts on regional climate, water resources, biodiversity, ecology and livelihoods of the people. Main research area is Taita Taveta County in Kenya. Earlier research includes forest cover studies in Europe and Canada, glacier change research in European mountains and land cover studies in Finland.

Pellikka is a director of a multidisciplinary Taita Research Station of the University of Helsinki in Kenya established in 2011, which provides research questions and infrastructure for students and scientists from sustainability science to earth system science. Station is a gateway to Africa. Students of University of Helsinki have during the last 14 years done more than 50 PhD, MSc and BSc theses in the Taita Hills in geoinformatics, physical geography, human geography and development geography among biologists, foresters and agronomists.

Pellikka has a long experience in academic cooperation with institutes abroad, e.g. in Kenya, Germany, Austria, Canada, Sweden, Belgium, Eritrea, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia and China, and broad experience in doctoral training in Finland. He is a board member of doctoral program in Atmospheric Sciences, and inspector of Hämäläis-Osakunta student union of the University of Helsinki. He is editorial board member of International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, Photogrammetric Journal of Finland, SENSORS and Arabian Journal of Geosciences. Since 2010 he has been a member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters. He has over 250 publications, including publications as films and newspaper and magazine articles aiming to popularize his research.

Selected publications:

Schäfer, E., J. Heiskanen, V. Heikinheimo & P. Pellikka (2016). Mapping tree species diversity of a tropical mountane forest by unsupervised clustering of airborne imaging spectroscopy data. Ecological Indicators 64, 49-58.

Landmann, T., R.T. Piiroinen, D. Makori, E. Abdel-Rahman, S. Makau, P.K.E. Pellikka & S. Raina (2015). Application of hyperspectral remote sensing for flower mapping in African savannas. Remote Sensing of Environment 166, 50 – 60.

Pellikka, P. & W.G. Rees (2010, eds.). Remote Sensing of Glaciers – techniques for topographic, spatial and thematic mapping of glaciers. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Leiden, 340 p.

Pellikka, P., M. Lötjönen, M. Siljander & L. Lens (2009). Airborne remote sensing of spatiotemporal change (1955-2004) in indigenous and exotic forest cover in the Taita Hills, Kenya. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation 11(4):221-232.

Chen, J.M., G. Pavlic, L. Brown, J. Cihlar, S.G.  Leblanc, P. White, R.J. Hall, D. Peddle, D. King, J.A. Trofymow, E. Swift, J. Van der Sanden & P. Pellikka (2002). Validation of Canada-wide leaf area index maps using ground measurements and high and moderate resolution satellite imagery. Remote Sensing of Environment 80:1, pp. 165-184.

Petri in TUHAT database

Taita Research Station in Taita Hills, Kenya.