Graciela Metternicht is a Professor of Environmental Geography in the Environmental Management Programme of the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences. Her research interest is primarily in the fields of environmental geography, with a focus on geospatial technologies and their application in environmental management and policy (sustainable land management, land degradation, indicators, ecosystem services, solid waste management policies) and sustainability.
Prior to joining UNSW, Professor Metternicht was Regional Coordinator of Early Warning and Assessment of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for Latin America and the Caribbean. Previous academic appointments include 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 and Professor of Spatial Sciences at the Western Australian School of Mines, Curtin University of Technology.
Graciela has made significant contributions in the field of production and management of spatial information for land degradation and agriculture-related applications. Grants she secured from the Australian Research Council, industry, international agencies and the CRC for Spatial Information have produced critical evaluations on the performance of different operational remote sensors and platforms for the mapping and monitoring of rangelands and agricultural landscapes, including pastures, crops, noxious weeds, soils, native vegetation.
Professor Metternicht has provided significant leadership on the way in which remote sensing and GIS can be used for the practical solution of problems related to vegetation degradation, soil salinization, rangeland management, and sustainable rural planning. Outputs of her research include formulation of protocols for improved mapping of landscape conditions for optimising farming. She has also supervised research on the production and modelling of spatial information for analysis of urban landscapes and vegetation.
Metternicht has developed international and professional leadership standing, resulting in invitations of Guest Professorships and Visiting Fellowships at European, Japanese, Chinese and African Universities and Research Institutes; membership of editorial boards of international journals in GeoSpatial Sciences; and the prior appointment as chair (acting) of the commission Mapping from Satellite Imagery of the International Cartographic Association.
Metternicht is Fellow of the Surveying and Spatial Science Institute of Australia; Honorary Fellow, International Cartographic Association; Member, Institute of Australian Geographers and of the Australian Rangeland Society.