Prof. Dr. Miguel Mahecha

Prof. Dr. Miguel Mahecha


Modellierungsverfahren in der Fernerkundung
Talstraße 35, Room 2-12
04103 Leipzig


Miguel Mahecha is a full professor at the Leipzig University and head of the Earth System Data Science group at the Remote Sensing Centre for Earth System research. His main scholarly interests are on understanding ecosystem responses to climate extremes as well as the human environment nexus during extremes. He also works on understanding macroecological dynamics and ecosystem functioning. His research is based on the latest data-driven research methods to explore high-dimensional Earth observations. Over the last years he has developed the Earth System Data Cube concept and combines empirical findings with theoretical and conceptual understanding to understand complex interactions in the Earth system. Miguel Mahecha serves as SSC member of ILEAPS - Integrated Land Ecosystem Atmosphere Processes Study - a Future Earth Global Research project, is member of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research, and other international projects.

Professional career

  • since 03/2020
    Full Professor for Modelling Approaches in Remote Sensing
  • 12/2012 - 03/2020
    Leader of the research group: Emprical Inference in the Earth System, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena
  • 10/2009 - 11/2012
    PosDoc, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena
  • 06/2006 - 09/2009
    PhD studies, ETH Zürich
  • 10/2000 - 04/2006
    Studies of Geoecology, Bayreuth University
  • Responses of ecosystems to climate extremes
  • Biogeography and ecosystem functioning
  • Earth System Data cubes
  • Earth System Data science methods
  • Digital Forest - A real-time forest monitoring system for climate change impacts
    Mahecha, Miguel
    Duration: 03/2021 - 02/2024
    Funded by: Stiftungen Inland
    Involved organisational units of Leipzig University: Modellierungsverfahren in der Fernerkundung
    show details
  • NFDI4BioDiversity: Biodiversity, Ecology & Environmental Data
    Mahecha, Miguel
    Duration: 01/2021 - 12/2026
    Funded by: DFG Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
    Involved organisational units of Leipzig University: Modellierungsverfahren in der Fernerkundung; Spezielle Botanik und funktionelle Biodiversität
    show details
  • Extracting spatiotemporal macroecological patterns using plant occurrence data crowd-sourced via Flora Incognita (Flexpool)
    Mahecha, Miguel
    Duration: 10/2020 - 09/2021
    Funded by: DFG Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
    Involved organisational units of Leipzig University: Modellierungsverfahren in der Fernerkundung
    show details

more projects

  • Flach, M.; Brenning, A.; Gans, F.; Reichstein, M.; Sippel, S.; Mahecha, M.
    Vegetation modulates the impact of climate extremes on gross primary production
    Biogeosciences. 2021. pp. 39-53
    show details
  • Cortés, J.; Mahecha, M.; Reichstein, M.; Myneni, R. B.; Chen, C.; Brenning, A.
    Where are Global Vegetation Greening and Browning Trends Significant?
    Geophysical Research Letters. 2021. 48 (6).
    show details
  • Camps-Valls, G.; Campos-Taberner, M.; Moreno-Martínez, Á.; Walther, S.; Duveiller , G.; Cescatti, A.; Mahecha, M.; Muñoz-Marí, J.; García-Haro, F. J.; Guanter, L.; Jung, M.; Gamon, J. A.; Reichstein, M.; Running, S.
    A unified vegetation index for quantifying the terrestrial biosphere
    Science Advances. 2021. 7 (9). p. eabc7447
    show details
  • Mahecha, M.; Rzanny, M.; Kraemer, G.; Mäder, P.; Seeland, M.; Wäldchen, J.
    Crowd‐sourced plant occurrence data provide a reliable description of macroecological gradients
    Ecography. 2021.
    show details
  • Zscheischler, J.; Martius, O.; Westra, S.; Bevacqua, E.; Raymond, C.; Horton, R.; van den Hurk, B.; AghaKouchak, A.; Jézéquel, A.; Mahecha, M.; Maraun, D.; Ramos, A. M.; Ridder, N. N.; Thiery, W.; Vignotto , E.
    A typology of compound weather and climate events
    Nature Reviews Earth & Environment. 2020. pp. 333-347
    show details

more publications

Current research questions in physical geography

  • 12-GGR-B-PG01B: Fundamentals of Physical Geography/Geoecology II - Climate, Water and Vegetation

    In this module we invite first year students to get familiar with basic concepts of climate geography and hydrology. Based on this foundation, we explore global patterns of terrestrial vegetation dynamics. 

  • 12-GGR-B-PG09.VL01: Landscape analysis, Resource protection, Risks and Impact Research

    The lecture "Landscape Analysis, Resource Protection, Risks and Impact Research" focuses this year on the consequences of climate change in the different sectors, as well as the impacts of human influences on different types of geoecosystems. After an introduction to the current state of the climate crisis, consequences for different parts of the Earth system will be discussed at different scales.

  • 12-GGR-B-PG06-S2: Current Research in Physical Geography

    We will identify and analyse current global trends and transformation processes of terrestrial ecosystems. The starting point is an introduction to statistical properties of trends, their determinations, and possible problems. The aim is then to assess causes of global trends (e.g. "global greening", "loss of biodiversity", "droughts" etc.) and consequences for ecosystem functioning. At the end, interactions of global trends are analysed and synthesised.

  • 12-GGR-B-PG06-S3: Research Methods in Physical Geography

    The seminar "Research Methods in Physical Geography" accompanies the seminar "Current Research in Physical Geography". Based on the identified trends, a (possibly joint) research paper will be designed. This work is used to teach the "Code of Good Scientific Practice", forms of scientific publications, literature research, the review process, and even the basics of scientific writing.

  • 12-GGR-M-GFP2: Geographical Information Systems - Models and Analyses

  • 12-GGR-M-GFA1: Geodata analysis in economic and social geography