Professor Graciela Metternicht
Field of Research: 
Environmental management, spatial analysis and modelling
Contact details:
+61 2 9385 5761
Room G14D
Samuels Building (F25)

UNSW, Kensington 2052

Research & Current Projects

Research Interests

  • Geospatial analysis and modelling of natural and built up environments: assessment, management, monitoring.
  • Integrated Environmental Assessments: tools and processes
  • Applications of geospatial technologies to land use/land cover planning and policy scenario development
  • Early warning: geospatial technologies for mapping and assessing vulnerability hazards related to climate change and land degradation.
  • Sustainable Development: goals, indicators, strategies.
  • Methodologies for integrated environmental and health assessments.
  • Environmental Policy and Management


Director of the Institute of Environmental Studies, Graciela Metternicht is the former Regional Coordinator of Early Warning and Assessment of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Prior to joining the UNEP, Professor Metternicht was Head of Discipline and Professor of Geospatial Systems and Environmental Management at the School of Natural and Built Environments of the University of South Australia (UNISA).

Prior to joining the UNISA, she was a Professor of Spatial Sciences at the Western Australian School of Mines (WASM), Curtin University of Technology.

While at UNEP, Professor Metternicht was responsible for the planning and implementation of projects related to environmental assessment and early warning in Latin America and the Caribbean, including capacity building and the provision of technical assistance to governments of the region in policy uses of these outputs. She made significant contributions to global and regional environmental reports of the UNEP and the UN, such as the 5th Global Environment Outlook (GEO 5) - the most authoritative assessment of the state, trends and outlook of the global environment - and major reports focused on resource efficiency; sustainable, resource-efficient cities; and regional advances on environmental sustainability, indicators of sustainable development, and climate change.

In her previous academic positions she conducted teaching, research and consultancy in areas of remote sensing and GIS applications for natural resource assessment and management, including land use planning. She has published over 100 scientific papers in international journals and conference proceedings, and has attracted research funding through Australian competitive grants (ARC and others), international grants and research contracts.

Professor Metternicht obtained a PhD in Geography (summa cum laude) from the University of Ghent, Belgium in 1996, a Master of Science in Geo-information and a Postgraduate Diploma in Cartography from the International Institute for Geo-information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), in The Netherlands in 1991-92. She was a Visiting Professor at the Swiss Institute of Technology, Zurich (ETH), the University of Alcalá (Spain), the Institute for Soil, Climate and Water of the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa, the Centre for Global Environmental Research of the National Institute for Environmental Studies of Japan, and Institute for Remote Sensing Applications of the Chinese Academy of Science.

See also:




Books, Book Chapters

UNEP, 2012. GEO-5: Environment for the future we want. Chapter 11: Latin America and the Caribbean. Technical coordinator and contributing author. 558 pages. Available at:

Metternicht, G. and Zinck, J.A. (2009) Spectral behaviour of salt types. In: Metternicht, G. and Zinck, J.A. (Eds) Remote Sensing of Soil Salinization: impact on land management. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA, pp. 21-38.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Robinson, T., van Klinken, and Metternicht, G. (2010) Comparison of alternative strategies for invasive species distribution modeling. Ecological Modelling Vol. 221, pp. 2261-2269.

Del Valle, H. F., P.D. Blanco, G.I. Metternicht and A. Zinck (2010) Microwave Remote Sensing of Wind-Driven Land Degradation Processes in Northeastern Patagonia. Journal of Environmental Quality, vol 39, pp.62-75.

Blanco, P.D., G. I. Metternicht, and H.F. del Valle (2009). Improving the discrimination of vegetation and landform patterns in sandy rangelands: a synergistic approach. International Journal of Remote Sensing, vol. 30, pp. 2579 – 2605.

Robinson, T., van Klinken, R., and Metternicht, G. (2008) Spatial and temporal rates and patterns of mesquite (Prosopis species) invasion in Western Australia. Journal of Arid Environments, vol 72, pp. 175-188

Metternicht, G., Hurni, L. and Gogu, R. (2005) Remote sensing of debris flows and landslides: an analysis of the potential contribution to geo-spatial systems for natural hazard assessment in Alpine-like environments. Remote Sensing of Environment, vol. 98, pp. 284 – 303.

Warren, G. and Metternicht, G. (2005) Agricultural applications of high resolution Digital Multispectral Imagery: Evaluating within-field Spatial Variability of Canola (Brassica napus) in Western Australia. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, vol. 71, No. 5, pp. 595-602.

Metternicht, G. and Gonzalez, S. (2005) FUERO: foundations of a fuzzy exploratory model for soil erosion hazard prediction. Environmental Modelling & Software, Vol. 20, No. 6, pp. 715-728.

Conference Papers

Metternicht, G., and Granados A., J. (2010) Environmental indicators of the Latin American and Caribbean initiative for sustainable development (ILAC). International Association for Official Statistics (IAOS) Conference, Santiago, Chile, October 2010.

Blanco, P.D., H.F. del Valle, P.J. Bouza, G.I. Metternicht, J.A. Zinck. Synergistic use of Landsat and Hyperion imageries for ecological site classification in rangelands. In Proc. IEEE Whispers 2nd Workshop on Hyperspectral Image & Signal Processing: Evolution in Remote Sensing, 14-16 June 2010, Reykjavik, Islandia. pp. 51. ISBN: 978-1-4244-8906-0.

Blanco, P.D., H.F. del Valle, P.J. Bouza, G.I. Metternicht, J.A. Zinck. Rangeland ecological site classification from Hyperion and Landsat imagery using mixture tuned matched filtering and neural networks. In: International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) Technical Commission VII Symposium. 5-7 July , 2010, Vienna, Austria. Abstract number: MSHY-265. Available at

Metternicht, G. (2007) Geospatial technologies and the management of noxious weeds in agricultural and rangelands areas of Australia. Proceedings of the 12th Congress of the Spanish Association of Remote Sensing, Mar del Plata, Argentina, September 2007. ISBN:978-987-543-126-3, pp.87-94.