Dr. Raffaele Lafortezza is a Senior Research Associate at the University of Bari, Italy and Adjunct Professor at the Center for Global Change and Earth Observations (CGCEO), Michigan State University. In February 2014, he obtained the title of “Associate Professor” from the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR) by fulfilling the requirements of a nationwide selection. He holds a PhD in Landscape Ecology and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) from the University of Bari, Italy (2002) and has acquired considerable knowledge and experience in global change issues, including coupled human-natural systems, by participating in numerous research projects and scientific collaborations worldwide.
His research interests are interdisciplinary in nature and relate to the assessment of driving forces, interactions, and feedback mechanisms underlying ecosystem dynamics at multiple spatial and temporal scales. He seeks to understand the impact of human activity on ecosystems (i.e., coupled human-natural systems) and to develop management concepts and tools for an efficient combination of sustainability and use of natural resources. Dealing with such structured and multi-scaled issues implies the use of quantitative and interdisciplinary approaches. Consequently, Dr. Lafortezza’s research increasingly involves the development and use of remote sensing tools, including satellite images and laser scanning data (LiDAR), GIS, multivariate statistical techniques and process-based models accounting for uncertainty (e.g., Hierarchical Bayesian Models), and working in a multi-disciplinary setting.
Dr. Lafortezza has developed his research interests in Italy (University of Bari), Canada (University of Guelph), the United States (Michigan State University), Japan (University of Tsukuba), the United Kingdom (University of Cambridge), and China (The University of Hong Kong and Zhejiang University) and has recently been awarded the Visiting Scholars to Advance Science (VISTAS) grant by the Environmental Science and Policy Program at Michigan State University. Since 2016, he is an official member of a working group that focuses on the Water-Energy-Food Nexus in Asia (ASIA WEF Nexus). He has authored and co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, including two books on landscape ecology and GIS modelling: “Patterns and Processes in Forest Landscapes” (Springer, 2008) and “Landscape Ecology in Forest Management and Conservation” (HEP & Springer, 2010).
Research areas: Landscape ecology, remote sensing, ecosystem services, nature-based solutions, geospatial modeling