Forest Sciences Centre 2026
2424 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4
phone: 6048224148

My doctoral research project involved using remote sensing to evaluate the effects of canopy cover loss on snow dynamics in the interior of British Columbia.  More specifically, I linked Landsat and LiDAR data to characterize forest structure changes produced by the mountain pine beetle across a large watershed, where prototype ultrasonic range sensors were deployed to monitor snow accumulation and ablation. While the increased risk of flooding resulting from clearcutting due to more snow accumulation and faster melting has been well documented, I was able to estimate a suite of key canopy structure variables used for hydrologic modeling at a pixel-by-pixel level in the entire watershed.  This represented a major methodological improvement for hydrologic modeling, increasing our ability to more accurately predict the hydrologic impacts of widespread insect outbreaks.

I the past few years, I have been fully dedicated to teaching undergraduate courses about Forest Management, Statistics, Remote Sensing and Hydrology at UBC and SFU.  I am passionate about the implementation of innovative learning techniques, the creation of the best teaching materials with cutting-edge technological resources, and the inspirational lecturing seen among the best speakers of the world.  I wish to ultimately have a broad influence on improving education internationally at all levels of instruction.

Research Areas

Forest Management
Remote Sensing


Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Award – Faculty of Forestry, UBC , 2009
Best Representative – Faculty of Forest Sciences, UACh , 2004
Best historic GPA at graduation – Faculty of Forest Sciences, UACh , 2001

Current Courses


Selected Publications

Varhola, A., Coops, N.C. (2013). Estimation of watershed-level distributed forest structure metrics relevant to hydrologic modeling using LiDAR and Landsat. Journal of Hydrology 487: 70-86,
Varhola A., Coops N.C., Alila Y., Weiler M. (2013). Exploration of remotely-sensed forest structure and ultrasonic range sensor metrics to improve empirical snow models. Hydrological Processes,
White J.C., Wulder M.A, Varhola A., Vastaranta, M., Coops, N.C., Cook B.D., Pitt D., Woods, M. (2013). A best practices guide for generating forest inventory attributes from airborne laser scanning data using an area-based approach. Canadian Forest Service
Mora B., Wulder M.A., Hobart G.W., White J.C., Bater C.W., Gougeon F.A., Varhola A., Coops N.C. (2013). Forest inventory stand height estimates from very high spatial resolution satellite imagery calibrated with lidar plots. International Journal of Remote Sensing 34: 4406–4424,
Varhola A., Frazer G.W., Teti P., Coops N.C. (2012). Estimation of forest structure metrics relevant to hydrologic modeling using coordinate transformation of air-borne laser scanning data. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 16: 3749-3766,
Varhola A., Wawerla J., Weiler M., Coops N.C., Bewley D., Alila Y. (2010). A new low-cost, standalone sensor system for snow monitoring. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 27: 1973-1978, 10.1175/2010JTECHA1508.1
Bewley D., Alila Y., Varhola A. (2010). Variability of snow water equivalent and snow energetics across a large catchment subject to Mountain Pine Beetle infestation and rapid salvage logging. Journal of Hydrology 388 (3-4): 464-479,
Varhola, A., Teti P, Boon, S., Coops, N.C., Weiler, M., Bater, CW (2010). The influence of ground and LiDAR-derived forest structure metrics on snow accumulation and ablation in disturbed forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 40(4) 812-821,
Varhola A., Coops N.C., Weiler M., Moore R.D. (2010). Forest canopy effects on snow accumulation and ablation: An integrative review of empirical results. Journal of Hydrology 392(3-4):219-233,
Coops N.C., Varhola A., Bater C.W., Teti P., Boon S., Goodwin N., Weiler M. (2009). Assessing differences in tree and stand structure following beetle infestation using LiDAR data. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing 35 (6): 497-508,