INFO Tenure Talk Series: “High-Impact Hot Spots of Land Cover Land Use Change: Ukraine and Neighboring Countries”

Event Start Date: Wednesday, February 7, 2024 - 11:00 am

Event End Date: Wednesday, February 7, 2024 - 12:30 pm

Location: 4600 River Road, College Park, MD

INFO faculty, postdocs, and Ph.D. students—join us for the next INFO Tenure Talk, where you can learn more about the work that has granted the speaker tenure at the INFO College. (Registration required.)


The past several decades has seen considerable land cover and land use change (LCLUC) in Ukraine. These changes are a result from unprecedented environmental and climate disturbances as well as highly sensitive political and economic disruption, most recently the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The impacts of these disturbances must be properly monitored and documented so that land resources can be managed effectively and sustainably. Here, we report our ongoing activities to identify, map, and characterize LCLUC occurred in Ukraine within the past 20 years. Using satellite data, we demonstrate highly characteristic human-environment relationships to identify LCLUC hotspots of regional, national, and global importance. Furthermore, we examine occupation of territories that include protected areas (Emerald network) and demonstrate impacts of policy abandonment leading to degradation of 25% of forest cover, a reversal of 20 years of sustainable development progress in the region. Lastly, we illustrate impacts of the ongoing war in Ukraine on agriculture.


Dr. Sergii SkakunDr. Sergii Skakunis an Associate Professor with a joint appointment at the Department of Geographical Sciences and the College of Information Studies. He joined UMD in October 2015. From 2013 to 2015, he was a Senior Engineer at Samsung SDI (South Korea), where he was responsible for developing industrial vision inspection systems. From 2006 to 2013, he held multiple positions (latest Senior Scientist) at the Space Research Institute (Ukraine), where he was performing research in remote sensing. He received PhD in Computer Science from National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in 2005. Dr. Skakun has participated as a PI or Co-I in projects funded by NASA, NSF, Google, European Commission (EC), EC Joint Research Center (JRC), U.S. Civilian Research & Development Foundation (CRDF), National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, State Space Agency of Ukraine and Science & Technology Center in Ukraine (STCU). He is a two-time recipient as a PI of the Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST) grants for graduate students. He is currently an Associate Editor for the journal Remote Sensing of Environment, top journal in remote sensing. His current research focus is to advance methods, models and emerging technologies in the area of data science for heterogeneous remote sensing data fusion, processing and analysis, and their applications to Earth System Science and areas of societal benefit.

Additional Information:

Please contact at least one week prior to the event to request disability accommodations. In all situations, a good faith effort (up until the time of the event) will be made to provide accommodations.

Speaker(s): Dr. Sergii Skakun


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