Michael Lefsky, PhD.


Ecosystem Science and Sustainability

Fields of Expertise

Ecosystem Dynamics

Areas of Interest

Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus Lidar for forested ecosystems, Forest ecology, Forest height and aboveground biomass


Michael Lefsky grew up in Farmingdale, New York where he developed an early interest in computer science, and then studied forest and wetland ecology at Bard College. While at the University of Virginia, he was awarded a NASA Earth Systems Science Fellowship to support his work on the remote sensing of forested wetlands. In that work, he combined his interests in forest ecology and computer science to develop some of the first processing algorithms for waveform-sampling lidar sensors, which use lasers to measure the three-dimensional structure of canopies and terrain surfaces. He then moved to Corvallis, Oregon where he was a research professor at Oregon State University before coming to Colorado State in 2002. He has served as a member of the science team for the ICESat (Ice, Cloud,and land Elevation Satellite) and currently serves on the science teams for the ICESat-2 and Landsat Data Continuity Missions.