PD Dr. Sandra Eckert

Senior Research Scientist | Lecturer

Sustainable Land Systems Impact Area

+41 31 684 40 55
PD Dr. Sandra Eckert
Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)
Universität Bern
Mittelstrasse 43
CH-3012 Bern

Areas of professional focus at CDE

  • Applied remote sensing and spatial data analysis for an improved understanding of coupled human-environmental systems
  • Thematic fields: land use intensification, land degradation, invasive species, deforestation, etc.


  • The Land Matrix

Field experience

Kenya, Mozambique, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Egypt, Lebanon, Argentina


German, English

Jump to: 2024 | 2023 | 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010


Eckert, Sandra; Schmid, Luc; Messerli, Peter; Zaehringer, Julie G. (2024). Spatiotemporal assessment of deforestation and forest degradation indicates spillover effects from mining activities and related biodiversity offsets in Madagascar. Remote sensing applications : society and environment, 36 Elsevier 10.1016/j.rsase.2024.101269


Rippstein, Vanessa; de Schrijver, Evan; Eckert, Sandra; Vicedo-Cabrera, Ana M. (2023). Trends in tropical nights and their effects on mortality in Switzerland across 50 years. PLoS climate, 2(4), e0000162. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pclm.0000162

Davis, Kyle Frankel; Müller, Marc F; Rulli, Maria Cristina; Tatlhego, Mokganedi; Ali, Saleem; Baggio, Jacopo A; Dell’Angelo, Jampel; Jung, Suhyun; Kehoe, Laura; Niles, Meredith T; Eckert, Sandra (2023). Transnational agricultural land acquisitions threaten biodiversity in the Global South. Environmental Research Letters, 18(2), 024014. IOP Publishing 10.1088/1748-9326/acb2de


Bekele, Ketema; EW Linders, Theo; Eschen, René; Shiferaw, Hailu; Haji, Jema; Legesse, Belaineh; Choge, Simon; Eckert, Sandra; Rima Mbaabu, Purity; Schaffner, Urs (2022). How well do local stakeholders’ perceptions of environmental impacts of an invasive alien plant species relate to ecological data? Ecological indicators, 137, p. 108748. Elsevier 10.1016/j.ecolind.2022.108748

Adoyo, Beatrice; Schaffner, Urs; Mukhovi, Stellah; Kiteme, Boniface; Mbaabu, Purity Rima; Eckert, Sandra; Choge, Simon; Ehrensperger, Albrecht (2022). Pathways towards the Sustainable Management of Woody Invasive Species: Understanding What Drives Land Users’ Decisions to Adopt and Use Land Management Practices. Land, 11(4), p. 550. MDPI 10.3390/land11040550

Hamad, Amina A.; Kashaigili, Japhet J.; Eckert, Sandra; Eschen, René; Schaffner, Urs; Mbwambo, John Richard (2022). Impact of invasive Lantana camara on maize and cassava growth in East Usambara, Tanzania. Plant-environment interactions, 3(5), pp. 193-202. Wiley 10.1002/pei3.10090

Adoyo, Beatrice; Schaffner, Urs; Mukhovi, Stellah; Kiteme, Boniface; Mbaabu, Purity Rima; Eckert, Sandra; Choge, Simon; Ehrensperger, Albrecht (2022). Spatiotemporal trajectories of invasive tree species reveal the importance of collective action for successful invasion management. Journal of land use science, 17(1), pp. 487-504. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/1747423X.2022.2128914


Oberlack, Christoph; Giger, Markus; Anseeuw, Ward; Adelle, Camilla; Bourblanc, Magalie; Burnod, Perrine; Eckert, Sandra; Fitawek, Wegayehu; Fouilleux, Eve; Hendriks, Sheryl L.; Kiteme, Boniface; Masola, Livhuwani; Mawoko, Zaka Diana; Mercandalli, Sara; Reys, Aurélien; da Silva, Maya; van der Laan, Michael; Zaehringer, Julie G.; Messerli, Peter (2021). Why do large-scale agricultural investments induce different socio-economic, food security, and environmental impacts? Evidence from Kenya, Madagascar, and Mozambique. Ecology and Society, 26(4) Resilience Alliance Publications 10.5751/ES-12653-260418

Giger, Markus; Eckert, Sandra; Lay, Jann (2021). Large-scale land acquisitions, agricultural trade, and zoonotic diseases: Overlooked links. One earth, 4(5), pp. 605-608. Elevier 10.1016/j.oneear.2021.04.020

Eschen, René; Bekele, Ketema; Mbaabu, Purity Rima; Kilawe, Charles Joseph; Eckert, Sandra (2021). Prosopis juliflora management and grassland restoration in Baringo County, Kenya: Opportunities for soil carbon sequestration and local livelihoods. Journal of applied ecology, 58(6), pp. 1302-1313. Wiley 10.1111/1365-2664.13854

Lay, Jann; Anseeuw, Ward; Eckert, Sandra; Flachsbarth, Insa; Kubitza, Christoph; Nolte, Kerstin; Giger, Markus (2021). Taking stock of the global land rush: Few development benefits, many human and environmental risks. Analytical Report III. Bern, Montpellier, Hamburg, Pretoria: Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern; Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement; German Institute of Global and Area Studies; University of Pretoria; Bern Open Publishing

Zaehringer, Julie Gwendolin; Messerli, Peter; Giger, Markus; Kiteme, Boniface; Atumane, Ali; Da Silva, Maya; Rakotoasimbola, Lovasoa; Eckert, Sandra (2021). Large-scale agricultural investments in Eastern Africa: consequences for small-scale farmers and the environment. Ecosystems and people, 17(1), pp. 342-357. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/26395916.2021.1939789

Kiteme, Boniface; Breu, Thomas; Bastide, Joan; Eckert, Sandra; Fischer, Markus; González-Rojí, Santos J.; Hergarten, Christian; Hurni, Kaspar; Messmer, Martina; Raible, Christoph C.; Snethlage, Mark; Stocker, Thomas F.; Torre-Marin Rando, Amor; Wiesmann, Urs Martin (2021). Towards sustainable futures for nature and people. An appraisal report for the Mt. Kenya– Ewaso Ng’iro North landscape, Kenya (Wyss Academy Report 2). Bern: Wyss Academy for Nature at the University of Bern

Breu, Thomas; Bieri, Sabin; Bouasavanh, Somephone; Eckert, Sandra; Ehrensperger, Albrecht; Epprecht, Michael; Eshoo, Paul; Fischer, Markus; González-Rojí, Santos J.; Hergarten, Christian; Hett, Cornelia; Hurni, Kaspar; Messmer, Martina; Nguyen, Anh-Thu; O'Kelly, Hannah; Phayvanh, Thong Eth; Phonvisay, Aloun; Raible, Christoph C.; Snethlage, Mark; Stocker, Thomas F.; ... (2021). Towards sustainable futures for nature and people. An appraisal report for Laos in the stewardship hub of Southeast Asia (Wyss Academy Report 3). Bern: Wyss Academy for Nature at the University of Bern

Mbaabu, P. R.; Schaffner, U.; Eckert, S. (2021). INVASION OF SAVANNAS BY PROSOPIS TREES IN EASTERN AFRICA: EXPLORING THEIR IMPACTS ON LULC DYNAMICS, LIVELIHOODS AND IMPLICATIONS ON SOIL ORGANIC CARBON STOCKS. The International Archives of Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, XLIII-B3-2021, pp. 335-340. International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 10.5194/isprs-archives-XLIII-B3-2021-335-2021


Mbaabu, Purity Rima; Olago, Daniel; Gichaba, Maina; Eckert, Sandra; Eschen, René; Oriaso, Silas; Choge, Simon Kosgei; Linders, Theo Edmund Werner; Schaffner, Urs (2020). Restoration of degraded grasslands, but not invasion by Prosopis juliflora, avoids trade-offs between climate change mitigation and other ecosystem services. Scientific reports, 10(1) Springer Nature 10.1038/s41598-020-77126-7

Randin, Christophe F.; Ashcroft, Michael B.; Bolliger, Janine; Cavender-Bares, Jeannine; Coops, Nicholas C.; Dullinger, Stefan; Dirnböck, Thomas; Eckert, Sandra; Ellis, Erle; Fernández, Néstor; Giuliani, Gregory; Guisan, Antoine; Jetz, Walter; Joost, Stéphane; Karger, Dirk; Lembrechts, Jonas; Lenoir, Jonathan; Luoto, Miska; Morin, Xavier; Price, Bronwyn; ... (2020). Monitoring biodiversity in the Anthropocene using remote sensing in species distribution models. Remote sensing of environment, 239, p. 111626. Elsevier 10.1016/j.rse.2019.111626

Linders, Theo E. W.; Bekele, Ketema; Schaffner, Urs; Allan, Eric; Alamirew, Tena; Choge, Simon K.; Eckert, Sandra; Haji, Jema; Muturi, Gabriel; Mbaabu, Purity Rima; Shiferaw, Hailu; Eschen, René (2020). The impact of invasive species on social-ecological systems: Relating supply and use of selected provisioning ecosystem services. Ecosystem services, 41, p. 101055. Elsevier 10.1016/j.ecoser.2019.101055

Eckert, Sandra; Hamad, Amina; Kilawe, Charles Joseph; Linders, Theo E. W.; Ng, Wai‐Tim; Mbaabu, Purity Rima; Shiferaw, Hailu; Witt, Arne; Schaffner, Urs (2020). Niche change analysis as a tool to inform management of two invasive species in Eastern Africa. Ecosphere, 11(2) Ecological Society of America 10.1002/ecs2.2987

Giger, Markus; Mutea, Emily; Kiteme, Boniface; Eckert, Sandra; Anseeuw, Ward; Zaehringer, Julie G. (2020). Large agricultural investments in Kenya’s Nanyuki Area: Inventory and analysis of business models. Land use policy, 99, p. 104833. Elsevier Science 10.1016/j.landusepol.2020.104833

Adenle, Ademola A.; Eckert, Sandra; Ifejika Speranza, Chinwe; Adedeji, Oluwatola I.; Ellison, David (2020). Human-induced land degradation dominance in the Nigerian Guinea savannah between 2003 – 2018. Remote sensing applications : society and environment, 19, p. 100360. Elsevier 10.1016/j.rsase.2020.100360


Shiferaw, Hailu; Bewket, Woldeamlak; Eckert, Sandra (2019). Performances of machine learning algorithms for mapping fractional cover of an invasive plant species in a dryland ecosystem. Ecology and evolution, 9(5), pp. 2562-2574. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 10.1002/ece3.4919

Shiferaw, Hailu; Schaffner, Urs; Bewket, Woldeamlak; Alamirew, Tena; Zeleke, Gete; Teketay, Demel; Eckert, Sandra (2019). Modelling the current fractional cover of an invasive alien plant and drivers of its invasion in a dryland ecosystem. Scientific Reports, 9(1) Nature Publishing Group 10.1038/s41598-018-36587-7

Shiferaw, Hailu; Bewket, Woldeamlak; Alamirew, Tena; Zeleke, Gete; Teketay, Demel; Bekele, Ketema; Schaffner, Urs; Eckert, Sandra (2019). Implications of land use/land cover dynamics and Prosopis invasion on ecosystem service values in Afar Region, Ethiopia. Science of the total environment, 675, pp. 354-366. Elsevier 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.04.220

Mbaabu, Purity Rima; Ng, Wai-Tim; Schaffner, Urs; Gichaba, Maina; Olago, Daniel; Choge, Simon; Oriaso, Silas; Eckert, Sandra (2019). Spatial Evolution of Prosopis Invasion and its Effects on LULC and Livelihoods in Baringo, Kenya. Remote sensing, 11(10), p. 1217. Molecular Diversity Preservation International MDPI 10.3390/rs11101217


Zähringer, Julie Gwendolin; Wambugu, Grace; Kiteme, Boniface; Eckert, Sandra (2018). How do large-scale agricultural investments affect land use and the environment on the western slopes of Mount Kenya? Empirical evidence based on small-scale farmers' perceptions and remote sensing. Journal of environmental management, 213, pp. 79-89. Elsevier 10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.02.019

Kassawmar Nigussie, Tibebu; Eckert, Sandra; Hurni, Kaspar; Zeleke, Gete; Hurni, Hans (2018). Reducing landscape heterogeneity for improved land use and land cover (LULC) classification across the large and complex Ethiopian Highlands. Geocarto international, 33(1), pp. 53-69. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/10106049.2016.1222637

Barrueto, Andrea Karin; Merz, Jürg; Hodel, Elias; Eckert, Sandra (2018). The suitability of Macadamia and Juglans for cultivation in Nepal: an assessment based on spatial probability modelling using climate scenarios and in situ data. Regional environmental change, 18(3), pp. 859-871. Springer 10.1007/s10113-017-1225-2

Giger, Markus; Anseeuw, Ward; Hendriks, Sheryl L.; Van Der Laan, Michael; Annandale, John; Bourblanc, Magalie; Fouilleux, Eve; Mercandalli, Sara; Burnod, Perrine; Reys, Aurélien; Eckert, Sandra; Kiteme, Boniface; Oberlack, Christoph; Zähringer, Julie Gwendolin; Adelle, Camilla; Messerli, Peter (2018). Impacts of Large Agricultural Investments - a comparative analysis from three African countries (Unpublished). In: Land and Poverty Conference 2018: Land Governance in an Interconnected World. Washington, DC, USA. 19-23 March 2018.

Zähringer, Julie Gwendolin; Atumane, Ali; Berger, Sibylle; Eckert, Sandra (2018). Large-scale agricultural investments trigger direct and indirect land use change: New evidence from the Nacala corridor, Mozambique. Journal of land use science, 13(3), pp. 325-343. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/1747423X.2018.1519605

Eckert, Sandra; Messerli, Peter; Kiteme, Boniface; Van Der Laan, Michael; Da Silva, Maya; Wambugu, Grace; Atumane, Ali; Berger, Sibylle; Burnot, Perrine; Giger, Markus; Zähringer, Julie Gwendolin (2018). Environmental Impacts of Large Agricultural Investments – a Comparative Analysis from Kenya, Mozambique and Madagascar (Unpublished). In: Swiss Researching Africa Days. Bern, Switzerland. 26-27 October 2018.


Jucker Riva, Matteo; Daliakopoulos, Ioannis N.; Eckert, Sandra; Hodel, Elias; Liniger, Hanspeter (2017). Assessment of land degradation in Mediterranean forests and grazing lands using a landscape unit approach and the normalized difference vegetation index. Applied geography, 86, pp. 8-21. Elsevier 10.1016/j.apgeog.2017.06.017

Giger, Markus; Anseeuw, Ward; Fouilleux, Eve; Mercandalli, Sara; Burnod, Perrine; Eckert, Sandra; Kiteme, Boniface; Oberlack, Christoph; Zähringer, Julie Gwendolin; Adelle, Camilla; Messerli, Peter (September 2017). How national and local contexts shape the impacts of foreign investment in land: a comparative analysis from three African countries (Unpublished). In: International Conference on Research for Development, (ICRD Conference). Bern, Switzerland. 05–08 September 2017.

Eckert, Sandra; Kiteme, Boniface; Njuguna, Evanson; Zähringer, Julie (2017). Agricultural expansion and intensification in the foothills of Mount Kenya: A landscape perspective. Remote sensing, 9(8), p. 784. Molecular Diversity Preservation International MDPI 10.3390/rs9080784

Ng, Wai-Tim; Rima, Purity; Einzmann, Kathrin; Immitzer, Markus; Atzberger, Clement; Eckert, Sandra (2017). Assessing the Potential of Sentinel-2 and Pléiades Data for the Detection of Prosopis and Vachellia spp. in Kenya. Remote sensing, 9(1), p. 74. Molecular Diversity Preservation International MDPI 10.3390/rs9010074

Eckert, Sandra; Ghebremicael, Selamawit Tesfay; Hurni, Hans; Kohler, Thomas (2017). Identification and classification of structural soil conservation measures based on very high resolution stereo satellite data. Journal of Environmental Management, 193, pp. 592-606. Elsevier 10.1016/j.jenvman.2017.02.061


Eckert, Sandra (August 2016). Large- and small-scale cropland classification on the foothills of Mount Kenya based on SPOT-5 Take 5 data time series. In: Proceedings of the ESA Living Planet Symposium. Prague. 09.-13.03.2016.

Eckert, Sandra; Giger, Markus; Messerli, Peter (2016). Contextualizing local-scale point sample data using global-scale spatial datasets: Lessons learnt from the analysis of large-scale land acquisitions. Applied geography, 68, pp. 84-94. Elsevier 10.1016/j.apgeog.2016.01.008

Breu, Thomas; Bader, Christoph; Messerli, Peter; Heinimann, Andreas; Rist, Stephan; Eckert, Sandra (2016). Large-scale land acquisition and its effects on the water balance in investor and host countries. PLoS ONE, 11(3), e0150901. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0150901

Breu, Thomas Michael; Messerli, Peter; Rist, Stephan; Heinimann, Andreas; Bader, Christoph; Eckert, Sandra (2016). Effects of foreign direct investments on water resources and its relevance for common pool resources (Unpublished). In: IASC Regional Conference (Europe) 2016. Global connections and local responses. Bern, Switzerland. 10.-13.05.2016.


Eckert, Sandra; Hüsler, Fabia; Liniger, Hanspeter; Hodel, Elias (2015). Trend analysis of MODIS NDVI time series for detecting land degradation and regeneration in Mongolia. Journal of Arid Environments, 113, pp. 16-28. Elsevier 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2014.09.001

Zähringer, Julie; Eckert, Sandra; Messerli, Peter (2015). Revealing regional deforestation dynamics in north-eastern Madagascar - Insights from multi-temporal land cover change analysis. Land, 4(2), pp. 454-474. MDPI 10.3390/land4020454

Jean-Richard, Vreni; Crump, Lisa; Abicho, Abbani Alhadj; Abakar, Ali Abba; Mahamat, Abdraman; Bechir, Mahamat; Eckert, Sandra; Engesser, Matthias; Schelling, Esther; Zinsstag, Jakob (2015). Estimating population and livestock density of mobile pastoralists and sedentary settlements in the southeastern Lake Chad area. Geospatial Health, 10(1), pp. 6-12. Universita degli Studi di Napoli "Federico II" 10.4081/gh.2015.307

Eckert, Sandra; Giger, Markus; Kohler, Thomas; Messerli, Peter (2015). Large-Scale Land Acquisitions in Mountain Areas - Analysis of Land Matrix Data (Unpublished). In: Perth III: Mountains of Our Future Earth. Perth, Scotland. 04.10.-08.10.2015.


Zähringer, Julie Gwendolin; Hett, Cornelia; Eckert, Sandra; Ramamonjisoa, Bruno; Messerli, Peter (2014). Shifting cultivation dynamics within an ecosystem service hotspot of pronounced global interest – a first step towards negotiating trade-offs in North-East Madagascar. Proceedings of the Global Land Project 2nd Open Science Meeting, Berlin, March 19-21, 2014, pp. 196-197.

Messerli, Peter; Giger, Markus; Dwyer, Michael B.; Breu, Thomas Michael; Eckert, Sandra (2014). The geography of large-scale land acquisitions: Analysing socio-ecological patterns of target contexts in the global South. Applied geography, 53, pp. 449-459. Elsevier 10.1016/j.apgeog.2014.07.005

Giger, Markus; Messerli, Peter; Eckert, Sandra (2014). Land deals intensify competition for scarce resources (CDE Policy Brief 2). Bern, Switzerland: Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)


Eckert, Sandra; Engesser, Matthias (2013). Assessing vegetation cover and biomass in restored erosion areas in Iceland using SPOT satellite data. Applied geography, 40, pp. 179-190. Elsevier 10.1016/j.apgeog.2013.02.015

Hett, Cornelia; Zähringer, Julie Gwendolin; Messerli, Peter; Eckert, Sandra; Huafang, Chen; Schmidt-Vogt, Dietrich (2013). Landscape mosaics maps as a basis for spatial assessment and negotiation of ecosystem services and their trade-offs at the meso-scale: Examples from Laos, Madagascar and China. In: 6th Annual International ESP Conference 2013. Making ecosystem services count!. Indonesien. 26.-30.08.2013.

Zähringer, Julie Gwendolin; Hett, Cornelia; Eckert, Sandra; Ramamonjisoa, Bruno; Messerli, Peter (2013). Ecosystem service trade-offs and stakeholder claims - a meso-scale study from a Madagascar biodiversity hotspot. In: 6th Annual international ESP conference 2013. Making ecosystem services count!. Indonesien. 26.-30.08.2013.

Zähringer, Julie Gwendolin; Hett, Cornelia; Eckert, Sandra; Ramamonjisoa, Bruno; Messerli, Peter (2013). Paysages, acteurs et services environnementaux au nord-est de Madagascar – une analyse éco-régionale (Unpublished). In: La biodiversité et les populations dans le contexte du changement climatique. Antananarivo, Madagaskar. 10.-11.12.2013.


Gabathuler, Ernst; Eckert, Sandra; Ehrensperger, Albrecht; Bachmann, Felicitas (2012). Mapping and geoprocessing tools in support of rural advisory systems: Virtual globes, global positioning system, and geographic information systems: Simple applications, case studies, and guidelines. Weikersheim: Margraf Publishers

Eckert, Sandra (2012). Improved Forest Biomass and Carbon Estimations Using Texture Measures from WorldView-2 Satellite Data. Remote sensing, 4(4), pp. 810-829. Basel: Molecular Diversity Preservation International MDPI 10.3390/rs4040810

Eckert, Sandra; Jelinek, Robert; Zeug, Gunter; Krausmann, Elisabeth (2012). Remote sensing-based assessment of tsunami vulnerability and risk in Alexandria, Egypt. Applied geography, 32(2), pp. 714-723. Oxford: Elsevier 10.1016/j.apgeog.2011.08.003


Pajares, Pedro; Eckert, Sandra; Berrahmouni, Nora; Kohler, Thomas; Maselli, Daniel; Zelaya, Sergio (eds.) (2011). Highlands and Drylands: Mountains, a source of resilience in arid regions. Rom, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); Centre of Development and Environment (CDE)

Eckert, Sandra (2011). Urban Expansion and its impact on urban agriculture - remote sensing based change analysis of Kizinga and Mzinga Valley - Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. EARSeL eProceedings, 10(1), pp. 46-55. Oldenburg: BIS Verlag

Eckert, Sandra; Rakoto Ratsimba, Harifidy; Rakotondrasoa, Lovanirina Olivia; Rajoelison, Lalanirina Gabrielle; Ehrensperger, Albrecht (2011). Deforestation and forest degradation monitoring and assessment of biomass and carbon stock of lowland rainforest in the Analanjirofo region, Madagascar. Forest Ecology and Management, 262(11), pp. 1996-2007. Amsterdam: Elsevier 10.1016/j.foreco.2011.08.041


Eckert, Sandra (September 2010). Urban expansion and its impact on urban agriculture – remote sensing based change analysis of Kizinga and Mzinga Valley – Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania (Unpublished). In: Joint SIG Workshop: Urban - 3D - Radar - Thermal Remote Sensing and Developing Countries. Gent, Belgium. 22.09.-24.09.2010.

Rakoto, Ratsimba Harifidy; Rajoelisaon, Gabrielle; Rakotondrasoa, L.O.; Eckert, Sandra; Hergarten, Christian; Ehrensperger, Albrecht (2010). Dégradation des forêts et stock de carbone dans la biomasse épigée de la forêt dense humide de Manompana - Nord Est de Madagascar (Unpublished). In: Technologies for Development, Tech4Dev International Conference. Lausanne, Switzerland. 08.02.-10.02.2010.

Zeug, Gunter; Eckert, Sandra (2010). Population growth and its expression in spatial built-up patterns: The Sana'a Yemen case study. Remote sensing, 2(4), pp. 1014-1034. Basel: Molecular Diversity Preservation International MDPI 10.3390/rs2041014