Joan E. Luther

Research Scientist

Remote Sensing and Geospatial Information Science

Current research and/or projects


I have been a researcher with the Canadian Forest Service since 2003. I am also an adjunct professor with Memorial University and the Université de Sherbrooke. My research interest is in the use of earth observation data and geospatial information to support sustainable resource management. During my career, I have had the fortunate opportunity to work on several large projects including: Earth Observation for Sustainable Development of Forests (EOSD), the Newfoundland Fibre Inventory Project, and Assessment of Wood Attributes from Remote Sensing (AWARE). 

Research and/or project statements

Current Research Projects:

  • Mapping fibre attributes from forest and environmental variables in Newfoundland.
  • Improving forest inventory information for operational and strategic forest management planning.

Professional activities / interests

Areas of interest:

  • Development of geospatial approaches, methods and models that integrate remote sensing and geographical information systems data to monitor forest landscapes and provide spatially-explicit data and information to support inventory, monitoring and forecasting within an ecosystem-based management framework.

Education and awards


B.Sc. (Hons.) in Geography, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1987.

M.Sc. in Geography with specialization in Remote Sensing, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1989.


Canadian Forest Service Merit Award for Leadership, Newfoundland Fibre Inventory Project, 2011.

Canadian Forest Service Merit Award for Exceptional Achievement, National Forest Inventory, 2009.

Natural Resources Canada  (NRCan) Departmental Merit Award for Collaboration and Partnership, Earth Observation for Sustainable Development of Forests Project, 2006.

NRCan Departmental Merit Award for Collaboration and Partnership, Individual achievement award for building strong partnerships through collaborative research in remote sensing across Canada, 2003.

James M. Kitz Award, Canadian Institute of Forestry, 2002.

Canadian Remote Sensing Society Best MSc Thesis Award, 1990.

Governor General’s Gold Medal, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1989.

Key publications

  1. Bolton, D.K.; Tompalski, P.; Coops, N.C.; White, J.C.; Wulder, M.A.; Hermosilla, T.; Queinnec, M.; Luther, J.E.; van Lier, O.; Fournier, R.A.; Woods, M.; Treitz, P.; van Ewijk, K.; Graham, G.; and Quist, L. 2020. Optimizing Landsat time series length for regional mapping of lidar-derived forest structure. Remote. Sens. Env. 239, 111645. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2020.111645.
  2. Luther, J.E.; Fournier, R.A.; van Lier, O.R.; Bujold, M. 2019. Extending ALS-based mapping of forest attributes with medium resolution satellite and environmental data. Remote. Sens. 11(9):1092. doi:10.3390/rs11091092.
  3. Giroud, G.; Schneider, R.; Fournier, R.A.; Luther, J.E.; Martin-Ducup, O. 2019. Modeling black spruce wood fiber attributes with terrestrial laser scanning. Can. J. For. Res. doi:10.1139/cjfr-2018-0342.
  4. Côté, J.-F.; Fournier, R.A.; Luther, J.E.; van Lier, O.R. 2018. Fine-scale three-dimensional modeling of boreal forest plots to improve forest characterization with remote sensing. Remote. Sens. Environ.219:99-114. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2018.09.026.
  5. Blanchette, D.; Fournier, R.A.; Luther, J.E.; Côté, J.-F. 2015. Predicting wood fibre attributes using local scale metrics from terrestrial LiDAR data: A case study over the conifer stands of Newfoundland. For. Ecol. Manage. 347:116-129. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2015.03.013.
  6. Groot, A.; Luther, J.E. 2015. Hierarchical analysis of black spruce and balsam fir wood density in Newfoundland. Can. J. For. Res. 45: 805-816. doi:10.1139/cjfr-2015-0064.
  7. Eddy, B.G.; Hearn, B.; Luther, J.E.; van Zyll de Jong, M.; Bowers, W.; Parsons, R.; Piercey, D.; Strickland, G.; Wheeler, B. 2014. An information ecology approach to science-policy integration in adaptive management of social-ecological systems. Ecology and Society, 19(3): 40. doi:10.5751/ES-06752-190340.
  8. Lessard, E.; Fournier, R.A.; Luther, J.E.; Mazerolle, M.J.; van Lier, O.R. 2014. Modeling wood fibre attributes from forest inventory and environmental data: case of Newfoundland’s boreal forest. For. Ecol. Manage. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2013.10.030.
  9. White, J.C.; Wulder, M.A.; Hobart, G,W.; Luther, J.E.; Hermosilla, T.; Griffiths, P.; Coops, N.C.; Hall, R.J.; Hostert, P.; Dyk, A.; Guindon. L. 2014. Pixel-based image compositing for large-area dense time series applications and science. Can. J. of Remote Sens., 40:3, 192-212. doi:10.1080/07038992.2014.945827.

For more publications by this author, consult the CFS publications database.


Adjunct Professor, Département de géomatique appliquée, Université de Sherbrooke (since November 2003)

Adjunct Professor, Division of Social Science (Environmental Studies), Memorial University of Newfoundland (since September 2013)