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Professor Paul Aplin

Professor Paul Aplin

MA (Edinburgh), MSc (Aberdeen), PhD (Southampton), FRGS
Head of Department of Geography

Research interests

My central research theme is remote sensing of environmental distributions, with particular focus on spatial and temporal scales of observation, methods of land cover characterization, and application to ecological problems, specializing in forest environments.

Recently I have been investigating, for instance, peat swamp forest conservation in Malaysia, savannah monitoring in southern Africa and alien forest invasion in Chile; funded by sources such as the Natural Environment Research Council, Royal Society, Leverhulme Trust, Royal Geographical Society and Smithsonian Institution.

I am committed to converting research outcomes into tangible societal benefits, and recent examples include exploitation of the Malaysian research findings to underpin two Best Management Practice (BMP) manuals on peatland management and oil palm cultivation, published by the influential international NGO Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

And I am committed to broader science communication, including public addresses such as a Monday Night Lecture – Where’s the swamp gone for peat’s sake?! – at the Royal Geographical Society, and of course online media such as podcasts on palm oil sustainability and discussions in the Conversation.


More information

I joined Mary Immaculate College in 2022, after 15 years as a lecturer/senior lecturer at the University of Nottingham, and 7 years in a research leadership position as Professor of Geography at Edge Hill University.

I have wide international experience as an educator, teaching variously around Ireland and the UK, and further afield, including MSc Environmental Science at Central European University in Hungary, guest lecturing to Masters students in Chile and China, and delivering postgraduate summer schools for the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing in Ethiopia and Poland.

I have contributed to the discipline via a broad range of academic service activities, currently engaged as the Editor-in-Chief for Land (Observation and Monitoring Section) and on the editorial boards for ISPRS Journal for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Remote Sensing Applications: Society and Environment, and Sensors. I am a Fellow (former Ralph Brown Award winner) of the Royal Geographical Society, Member (Grants Review Panellist) of the British Society for Ecology, and Member (former Chair) of the Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society; and I served terms as Council Member of the European Association of Remote Sensing Laboratories and National Delegate (UK) to the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, also acting as ISPRS Book Series Editor for eight years.

Orcid: 0000-0002-9394-5630

Google Scholar: Paul Aplin



Duncanson, L., Kellner, J.R., Armston, J., Dubayah, R., … Aplin, P., et al. (2022) Aboveground biomass density models for NASA’s Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) lidar mission. Remote Sensing of Environment, 270, 112845. DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2021.112845

Amoakoh, A.O., Aplin, P., Awuah, K.T., Delgado-Fernandez, I., Moses, C., Peña Alonso, C., Kankam, S. and Mensah, J.C. (2021) Testing the Contribution of Multi-Source Remote Sensing Features for Random Forest Classification of the Greater Amanzule Tropical Peatland. Sensors, 21, 3399. DOI: 10.3390/s21103399

Altamirano, A., Miranda, A., Aplin, P., Carrasco, J., Catalán, G., Cayuela-Delgado, L., Fuentes-Castillo, T., Hernández, A., Martínez-Harms, M.J., Peluso, F., Prado, M., Reyes-Riveros, R., Van Holt, T., Vergara, C., Zamorano-Elgueta, C. and Di Bella, C. (2020) Natural forests loss and tree plantations: large-scale tree cover loss differentiation in a threatened biodiversity hotspot. Environmental Research Letters, 15 124055. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abca64

Awuah, K.T., Aplin, P., Marston, C.G., Powell, I. and Smit, I.P.J. (2020) Probabilistic Mapping and Spatial Pattern Analysis of Grazing Lawns in Southern African Savannahs Using WorldView-3 Imagery and Machine Learning Techniques. Remote Sensing, 12, 3357. DOI: 10.3390/rs12203357

Cooper, H., Evers, S., Aplin, P., Crout, N., Bin Dahalan, M.P. and Sjogersten, S. (2020) Greenhouse gas emissions peak during conversion of peat swamp forest to oil palm plantation. Nature Communications, 11, 407. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-14298-w

Gumel, I.A., Aplin, P., Marston, C.G. and Morley, J. (2020) Time-Series Satellite Imagery Demonstrates the Progressive Failure of a City Master Plan to Control Urbanization in Abuja, Nigeria. Remote Sensing, 12, 1112. DOI: 10.3390/rs12071112

Martin-Gallego, P., Aplin, P., Marston, C., Altamirano, A. and Pauchard, A. (2020) Detecting and modelling alien tree presence using Sentinel-2 satellite imagery in Chile’s temperate forests. Forest Ecology and Management, 474, 118353. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2020.118353

Sjogersten, S., Turner, B.L., Gauci, V., Aplin, P., Siegenthaler, A. and Lopez, O. (2020) Methane emissions from tree stems in neotropical peatlands. New Phytologist, 225, 769-781. DOI: 10.1111/nph.16178

Charters, L., Aplin, P., Marston, C.G., Padfield, R., Rengasamy, N., Bin Dahalan, M.P. and Evers, S. (2019) Peat swamp forest conservation withstands pervasive land conversion to oil palm plantation in North Selangor, Malaysia. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 40, 7409-7438. DOI: 10.1080/01431161.2019.1574996

Cooper, H., Vane, C.H., Evers, S., Aplin, P., Girkin, N. and Sjogersten, S. (2019) From peat swamp forest to oil palm plantations: the stability of tropical peatland carbon. Geoderma, 342, 109-117. DOI: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2019.02.021

Padfield, R., Hansen, S., Davies, Z.G., Ehrensperger, A., Slade, E., Evers, S., Papargyropoulou, E., Bessou, C., Abdullah, N., Page, S., Ancrenaz, M., Aplin, P. et al. (2019) Co-producing a research agenda for sustainable palm oil. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, 2, 13. DOI: 10.3389/ffgc.2019.00013

Brown, C., Boyd, D.S., Sjogersten, S., Clewley, D., Evers, S.L. and Aplin, P. (2018) Tropical peatland vegetation structure and biomass: optimal exploitation of airborne laser scanning. Remote Sensing, 10, 671. DOI: 10.3390/rs10050671

Sjogersten, S., Aplin, P., Gauci, V., Peacock, M., Siegenthaler, A. and Turner, B.L. (2018) Temperature response of ex-situ greenhouse gas emissions from tropical peatlands: interactions between forest type and peat moisture conditions. Geoderma, 324, 47-55. DOI: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2018.02.029

Marston, C., Aplin, P., Wilkinson, D., Field, R. and O’Regan, H. (2017) Scrubbing Up: Multi-Scale Investigation of Woody Encroachment in a Southern African Savannah. Remote Sensing, 9, 1-24. DOI: 10.3390/rs9050419

Tonks, A.J., Aplin, P., Beriro, D.J., Cooper, H., Evers, S., Vane, C.H. and Sjögersten, S. (2017) Impacts of conversion of tropical peat swamp forest to oil palm plantation on peat organic chemistry, physical properties and C stocks. Geoderma, 289, 36-45. DOI: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2016.11.018

Momeni, R., Aplin, P. and Boyd, D.S. (2016) Mapping complex urban land cover from spaceborne imagery: the influence of spatial resolution, spectral band set and classification approach. Remote Sensing, 8, 88. DOI: 10.3390/rs8020088

Aplin, P. and Boyd, D.S. (2015) Innovative technologies for terrestrial remote sensing. Remote Sensing, 7, 4968-4972. DOI: 10.3390/rs70404968

Lawson, I., Kelly, T., Aplin, P. et al. (2015) Improving estimates of tropical peatland area, carbon storage, and greenhouse gas fluxes. Wetland Ecology and Management, 23, 327-346. DOI: 10.1007/s11273-014-9402-2

Feng, X., Foody, G., Aplin, P. and Gosling, S.N. (2015) Enhancing the spatial resolution of satellite-derived land surface temperature mapping for urban areas. Sustainable Cities and Society, 19, 341-348. DOI: 10.1016/j.scs.2015.04.007

Altamirano, A., Aplin, P., Miranda, A., Cayuela, L., Algar, A. and Field, T. (2013) High rates of forest loss and turnover obscured by classical landscape measures. Applied Geography, 40, 199-211. DOI: 10.1016/j.apgeog.2013.03.003

Holland, J. and Aplin, P. (2013) Super-resolution image analysis as a means of monitoring bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) distributions. ISPRS Journal of Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry, 75, 48-63. DOI: 10.1016/j.isprsjprs.2012.10.002

Mello, M., Vieira, C., Rudorff, B., Aplin, P., Santos, R.D.C. and Aguiar, D.A. (2013) STARS: a new method for multitemporal remote sensing. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 51, 1897-1913. DOI: 10.1109/TGRS.2012.2215332

Mello, M.P., Risso, J., Atzberger, C., Aplin, P., Pebesma, E., Vieira, C.A.O. and Rudorff, B.F.T. (2013) Bayesian networks for raster data (BayNeRD): plausible reasoning from observations. Remote Sensing, 5, 5999-6025. DOI: 10.3390/rs5115999

Aplin, P., Boyd, D., Danson, F.M., Donoghue, D., Ferrier, G., Galiatsatos, N., Marsh, A., Pope, A., Ramirez, F.A. and Tate, N. (2012) The Earth Observation Technology Cluster. International Archives in the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, 39(B6), 31-36.

Smith, G. and Aplin, P. (2011) An introduction to object-based landscape analysis. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 25, 869-875. DOI: 10.1080/13658816.2011.566570

Altamirano, A., Field, R., Cayuela, L., Aplin, P., Lara, A. and Rey-Benayas, J.M. (2010) Woody species diversity in temperate Andean forests: the need for new conservation strategies. Biological Conservation, 143, 2080-2091. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2010.05.016

Aplin, P. (2010) Using remotely sensed imagery. Key Methods in Geography, Second Edition, Clifford, N., Valentine, G. and French, S. (editors), London, Sage, 299-313.

Harvey, G., Mount, N., Aplin, P. And Priestnall, G. (2009) Introduction to representing, modeling and visualizing the natural environment. Representing, Modeling and Visualizing the Natural Environment, Mount, N., Harvey, G., Aplin, P. and Priestnall, G. (editors) CRC Press, Boca Raton, 1-8.

Teeuw, R., Aplin, P., McWilliam, N., Wicks, T., Kervyn, M. and Ernst, G. (2009) Hazard assessment and disaster management using remote sensing. Handbook of Remote Sensing, Warner, T., Nellis, M.D. and Foody, G.M. (editors), Sage, Thousand Oaks, 446-458.

Aplin, P. and Smith, G.M. (2008) Advances in object-based image classification. International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, 37(B7), 725-728.

Du, P., Aplin, P. and Jackson, M. (2008) Remote sensing education in China and the UK: synergy and opportunities. International Archives in the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, 37(B6a), 1-4.

Aplin, P. (2006) On scales and dynamics in observing the environment. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 26, 2123-2140. DOI: 10.1080/01431160500396477

Priestnall, G. and Aplin, P. (2006) Spatial and temporal remote sensing requirements for river monitoring. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 26, 2111-2120. DOI: 10.1080/01431160500396139

Aplin, P. (2005) Remote sensing: ecology. Progress in Physical Geography, 29, 104-113. DOI: 10.1191/030913305pp437pr

Lloyd, C., Atkinson, P.M. and Aplin, P. (2005) Characterising local spatial variation in land cover using geostatistical functions and the discrete wavelet transform. Geostatistics for Environmental Applications, Renard, P., Demougeot-Renard, H. and Froidevaux, R. (editors), Springer, Berlin, 391-402.

Aplin, P. and Atkinson, P.M. (2004) Predicting missing field boundaries to increase per-field classification accuracy. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, 70, 141-149. DOI: 10.14358/PERS.70.1.141

Aplin, P., 2004, Remote sensing: land cover, Progress in Physical Geography, 28, 283-293. DOI: 10.1191/0309133304pp413pr

Atkinson, P.M. and Aplin, P. (2004) Spatial variation in land cover and choice of spatial resolution for remote sensing. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 25, 3687-3702. DOI: 10.1080/01431160310001654383

Aplin, P. (2003) Comparison of simulated IKONOS and SPOT HRV imagery for classifying urban areas. Remotely-Sensed Cities, Mesev, V. (editor), Taylor and Francis, London, 23-45.

Aplin, P. (2003) Remote sensing: base mapping. Progress in Physical Geography, 27, 275-283. DOI: 10.1191/0309133303pp381pr

Aplin, P. (2003) Using remotely sensed data. Key Methods in Geography, Clifford, N. and Valentine, G. (editors), Sage, London, 291-308.

Tantram, D., Haines-Young, R., Agarwal, P. and Aplin, P. (2003) GIS in AONB management. AONB Management Handbook, The Countryside Agency, Cheltenham, online, pp. 36.

Aplin, P. and Atkinson, P.M. (2001) Sub-pixel land cover mapping for per-field classification. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 22, 2853-2858. DOI: 10.1080/01431160110053176

Aplin, P., Atkinson, P.M. and Curran, P.J. (1999) Fine spatial resolution simulated satellite sensor imagery for land cover mapping in the UK. Remote Sensing of Environment, 68, 206-216. DOI: 10.1016/S0034-4257(98)00112-6

Aplin, P., Atkinson, P. and Curran, P. (1999) Per-field classification of land use using the forthcoming very fine spatial resolution satellite sensors: problems and potential solutions. Advances in Remote Sensing and GIS Analysis, Atkinson, P. and Tate, N. (editors), Wiley, Chichester, 219-239.

Aplin, P., Atkinson, P.M. and Curran, P.J. (1997) Fine spatial resolution satellite sensors for the next decade. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 18, 3873-3881. DOI: 10.1080/014311697216694

Aplin, P., Atkinson, P.M. and Curran, P.J. (1997) Using the spectral properties of fine spatial resolution satellite sensor imagery for national land cover and land use mapping. Physical Measurements and Signatures in Remote Sensing, Guyot, G. and Phulpin, T. (editors), Balkema, Rotterdam, 661-668.

Ridley, H.M., Atkinson, P.M., Aplin, P., Muller, J.-P. and Dowman, I. (1997) Evaluating the potential of the forthcoming commercial U.S. high-resolution satellite sensor imagery at the Ordnance Survey. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, 63, 997-1005.