Eric Lambin wins 2014 Volvo Environmental Prize

Eric Lambin
Eric Lambin (Photo: Tore Marklund)

A pioneer in developing methods of analyzing satellite images of Earth and linking them to socioeconomic data, ERIC LAMBIN has been named recipient of the 2014 Volvo Environmental Prize. Lambin, a faculty member at both Stanford and Université Catholique de Louvain in his native Belgium, and his research colleagues use the advanced imaging methods to track and link land use changes with changes in commodities trading and demand for biofuels or food crops. He is the fourth Stanford faculty member to receive the award, which will be presented at a ceremony in Stockholm on Nov. 26.

Lambin’s research bridges several seemingly disparate scientific areas, including remote sensing science, social and physical geography and ecology. Sometimes called the “people to pixels approach,” his technique can, with faster computers and improved data, make it possible for businesses, nongovernmental organizations and governments to monitor environmental impacts from human activities in almost real time. Lambin embarked upon this research approach as a young doctoral student in sub-Saharan Africa in the mid-1980s and has expanded it throughout his career.

“Professor Lambin is successfully bridging social, geographical and biophysical disciplines in order to advance the global understanding of land use change and what it means for human well-being,” the Volvo Environmental Prize jury said. “This type of research is vital in planning for a transition to sustainability.”

For more, visit the Earth Sciences website.