Dr. John Kovacs

John Kovacs Profile Photo
Professor / Faculty of Arts and Science - Biology and Chemistry and Geography - Geography and Geology
Full-time Faculty
Graduate Program Faculty
BSc (Honours), Queen's University
MA, University of Windsor
PhD, University of Western Ontario
Areas of Specialization:

Environmental monitoring; environmental mapping; remote sensing; biogeography

Research Interests:

Mangrove forests; wetlands; radar remote sensing systems; optical remote sensing systems; hyperspectral remote sensing systems; Mexican Pacific; West Africa

Current & Future Research:

Mapping and monitoring mangrove forest health using optical and synthetic aperture radar earth observing satellites (NSERC funded)

Hyperspectral remote sensing of degraded mangrove forests

Applications of earth observing satellites for improving agricultural productivity in Northern Ontario (NOHFC funded)


Castle, Y.A., and J.M. Kovacs (2021) Identifying seasonal spatial patterns of crime in a small northern city. Crime Science 10 (25) (doi.org/10.1186/s40163-021-00161-w) 

Valderrama-Landeros, L., Flores-de-Santiago, F., Rodríguez-Sobreyra, R., Flores-Verdugo, F., and J.M. Kovacs (2020) Extrapolating canopy phenology information using Sentinel-2 data and the Google Earth Engine platform to identify the optimal dates for remotely sensed image acquisition of semiarid mangroves. Journal of Environmental Management 279 (1):111617 (doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.111617)

Serrano, D., Flores-Verdugo, F., Ramírez-Félix, E., Kovacs, J.M. and F. Flores-de-Santiago (2020) Modelling tidal hydrodynamic changes induced by the opening of an artificial inlet within a subtropical mangrove dominated estuary. Wetlands Ecology and Management 28: 103-118 (doi.org/10.1007/s11273-019-09697-w) 

Shang, J., Liu, J., Poncos, V., Geng , X., Qian, B., Chen, Q., Dong, T., Macdonald, D., Martin, T., Kovacs, J.M., and D. Walters (2020) Detection of Crop Seeding and Harvest through Analysis of Time-Series Sentinel-1 Interferometric SAR Data. Remote Sensing 12: 1551-1569 (doi.org/10.3390/rs12101551) 

Donga, T., Shang, J., Liu, J., Qian, B., Jing, Q., Ma, B., Huffman, T., Geng, X., Sow, A. A., Shi, Y., Canisius, F., Jiao, X., Kovacs, J.M., Walters, D., Cable, J. and J. Wilson (2019) Using RapidEye imagery to identify within-field variability of crop growth and yield in Northeastern Ontario, Canada. Precision Agriculture (doi:10.1007/s11119-019-09646-w)

Dong, T. Liu, J., Shang, J., Qian, B., Ma, B., Kovacs, J.M., Walters, D., Jiao, X., Geng, X., and Y. Shi (2019) Assessment of red-edge vegetation indices for crop leaf area index estimation. Remote Sensing of Environment 222: 133-143. (doi:10.1016/j.rse.2018.12.032)

Zhang, C., Kovacs, J.M., and D. Walters (2019) The use of small unmanned aerial systems (UASs) in precision agriculture. In: Precision Agriculture for Sustainability. Stafford, J. (Ed.) Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing Limited, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 22 pgs. (doi:10.19103/AS.2017.0032.04)

Flores-de-Santiago, F., Kovacs, J.M. and F. Flores-Verdugo (2018) Discrimination of three dominant mangrove species from the Pacific coast of Mexico by spectroscopy on intact leaves. Ciencias Marinas 44:185-202. (doi:10.7773/cm.v44i3.2806)

Valderrama-Landeros, L., Flores-de-Santiago, F., Kovacs, J.M. and F. Flores-Verdugo (2018) An assessment of commonly employed satellite-based remote sensors for mapping mangrove species in Mexico using a NDVI-based classification scheme.Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 190(1):23. (doi: 10.1007/s10661-017-6399-z)

Canisius, F., Shang, J., Liu, J., Huang, X., Ma, B., Jiao, X., Kovacs, J.M. and D. Walters (2018) Tracking crop phenological development using multi-temporal polarimetric Radarsat-2 data (2018)Remote Sensing of Environment (doi:10.1016/j.rse.2017.07.031)

Herath, A., Ma, B.L., Shang, J., Liu, J., Dong, T., Jiao, X., Kovacs J.M., and D. Walters (2018) On-farm spatial characterization of soil mineral nitrogen, crop growth, and yield of canola as affected by different rates of nitrogen application.Canadian Journal of Soil Science 98: 1-14. (doi:10.1139/CJSS-2017-0024)

Duke, N.C., Kovacs, J.M., Griffiths, A.D., Preece, L., Hill, D.J.E., van Oosterzee, P., Mackenzie, J., Morning, H.S., and D. Burrows (2017) Large-scale dieback of mangroves in Australia’s Gulf of Carpentaria: a severe ecosystem response, coincidental with an unusually extreme weather event.Marine and Freshwater Research 68: 1816-1829.  (doi:10.1071/MF16322)

Wachowiak, M., Walters, D., Kovacs, J.M., Wachowiak-Smolikova, R., and A. James (2017) Visual analytics and remote sensing imagery to support community-based research for precision agriculture in emerging areas.Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 143: 149-164. (doi:10.1016/j.compag.2017.09.035)

Jing, Q., Qian, B., Shang, J., Huffman, T., Liu, J., Pattey, E., Dong, T., Tremblay, N., Drury, C., Ma, B., Jego, G., Jiao, X., Kovacs, J.M., Walters, D. and J. Wang (2017) Assessing the options to improve regional wheat yield in eastern Canada using the CSM-CERES-Wheat model.Agronomy Journal 109:1-14. (doi:10.2134/agronj2016.06.0364)

Jarvis, D., Wachowiak, M., Walters, D., and J.M. Kovacs (2017) Adoption of web-based spatial tools by agricultural producers: Conversations with seven northern Ontario farmers using the GeoVisage decision support system.Agriculture 7: 69 (1-22) (doi:10.3390/agriculture7080069)

Flores-de-Santiago, F., Kovacs, J.M., Wang, J., Flores-Verdugo, F., Zhang, C., and F. González-Farías (2016) Examining the influence of seasonality, condition and species composition on mangrove leaf pigment contents and laboratory based spectroscopy data. Remote Sensing 8: 226 (1-20) (doi:10.3390/rs8030226)

Jing, Q., Shang, J., Qian, B., Hoogenboom, G., Huffman, T., Liu, J., Ma, B.L., Geng, X., Jiao, X.,  Kovacs, J.M. and D. Walters (2016) Evaluation of the CSM-CROPGRO-Canola model for simulating canola growth and yield at West Nipissing in Eastern Canada. Agronomy Journal 108:1-10. (doi:10.2134/agronj2015.0401) 

Shang, J., Liu, J., Ma, B., Zhao, T., Jiao, X., Geng, X., Huffman, T., Kovacs, J.M., and D. Walters (2015) Mapping spatial variability of crop growth conditions using RapidEye data in Northern Ontario, Canada. Remote Sensing of Environment 168: 113-125. (doi:10.1016/j.rse.2015.06.024)

Zhang, C., Kovacs, J.M., Liu, Y., Flores-Verdugo, F. and F. Flores-de-Santiago (2014) Separating mangrove species and conditions using laboratory hyperspectral data: A case study of a degraded mangrove forest of the Mexican Pacific.Remote Sensing 6: 11673-11688. (doi:10.3390/rs61211673)

Zhang, C., Walters, D. and J.M. Kovacs (2014) Applications of low altitude remote sensing in agriculture upon farmers’ requests– a case study in Northeastern Ontario, Canada.PLoS ONE 9: e112894 (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0112894)

Flores-Verdugo, F., Amezcua, F., Kovacs, J.M., Serrano, D. and M. Blanco-Correa (2014) Changes in the hydrological regime of coastal lagoons affect mangroves and small scale fisheries: The case of the mangrove-estuarine complex of Marismas Nacionales (Pacific Coast of Mexico). In: F. Amezcua and B. Bellgraph (Eds.), Fisheries Management of Mexican and Central American Estuaries. Springer Science, Deordecht, Netherlands, pp. 81-92. (doi:10.1007/978-94-017-8917-2_6)

Jiao, X., Kovacs, J.M., Shang, J., McNairn, H., Walters, D., Ma, B. and X. Geng (2014) Object-oriented crop mapping and monitoring using multi-temporal polarimetric RADARSAT-2 data. ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 96: 38-46. (doi:10.1016/J.ISPRSJPRS.2014.06.014)

Cable, J.W., Kovacs, J.M., Shang, J. and X. Jiao (2014) Multi-temporal polarimetric RADARSAT-2 for land cover monitoring in northeastern Ontario, Canada. Remote Sensing 6: 2372-2392. (doi:10.3390/rs6032372)

Cable, J.W., Kovacs, J.M., Jiao, X. and J. Shang (2014) Agricultural monitoring in northeastern Ontario, Canada, using multi-temporal polarimetric RADARSAT-2 data. Remote Sensing 6: 2343-2371. (doi:10.3390/rs6032343)

Wilson, J.H., Zhang, C. and J.M. Kovacs (2014) Separating crop species in northeastern Ontario using hyperspectral data. Remote Sensing 6: 925-945. (doi:10.3390/rs6020925)

Kovacs, J.M., Lu, X.X., Flores-Verdugo, F., Zhang, C., Flores-de-Santiago, F. and X. Jiao (2013) Applications of ALOS PALSAR for monitoring biophysical parameters of a degraded black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) forest. ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 82: 102-111. (doi:10.1016/j.isprsjprs.2013.05.004)

Kovacs, J.M., Jiao, X., Flores-de-Santiago, F., Zhang, C., and F. Flores-Verdugo (2013) Assessing relationships between Radarsat-2 C-band and structural parameters of a degraded mangrove forest. International Journal of Remote Sensing 34: 7003-7020. (doi:10.1080/01431161.2013.813090)

Flores-de-Santiago, F., Kovacs, J.M. and F. Flores-Verdugo (2013) The influence of seasonality in estimating mangrove leaf chlorophyll-a content from hyperspectral data. Wetlands Ecology and Management 21: 193-207. (doi:10.1007/s11273-013-9290-x)

Flores-de-Santiago, F., Kovacs, J.M. and F. Flores-Verdugo (2013) Assessing the utility of a portable pocket instrument for estimating seasonal mangrove leaf chlorophyll contents. Bulletin of Marine Science 89: 621-633. (doi:10.5343/bms.2012.1032)

Zhang, C., Kovacs, J.M., Wachowiak, M. and F. Flores-Verdugo (2013) Relationship between hyperspectral measurements and mangrove leaf nitrogen concentrations. Remote Sensing 5: 891-908. (doi:10.3390/rs5020891)

Flores de Santiago, F., Kovacs, J.M. and P. LaFrance (2013) An object-oriented classification method for mapping mangroves in Guinea, West Africa, using multipolarized ALOS PALSAR L-band data. International Journal of Remote Sensing 34: 563-586. (doi:10.1080/01431161.2012.715773)

Zhang, C. and J.M. Kovacs (2012) The application of small unmanned aerial systems for precision agriculture: A review. Precision Agriculture 13: 693-712. (doi:10.1007/s11119-012-9274-5)

Zhang, C., Liu, Y., Kovacs, J.M., Flores-Verdugo, F., Flores de Santiago, F., and K. Chen (2012) Spectral response to varying levels of leaf pigments collected from a degraded mangrove forest. Journal of Applied Remote Sensing 6 (063501): 1-14. (doi:10.1117/1.JRS.6.063501)

Flores de Santiago, F., Kovacs, J.M. and F. Flores-Verdugo (2012) Assessing seasonal changes in leaf Chlorophyll-a content and leaf morphology in a sub-tropical mangrove forest of the Mexican Pacific. Marine Ecology Progress Series 444: 57-68 (doi:10.3354/meps09474)

Kovacs, J.M., Liu, Y., Zhang, C., Flores-Verdugo, F., and F. Flores de Santiago (2011) A field based statistical approach for validating a remotely sensed mangrove forest classification scheme. Wetlands Ecology and Management 19: 409-421. (doi:10.1007/s11273-011-9225-3)

Rocío-Hernández, M., Flores-Verdugo, F., Kovacs, J.M. and F. Abarca (2011) Manglares. In: G. de la Lanza-Espino and S. Hernandez-Pulido (Eds.), Ambiente, Biología, Sociedad, Manejo y Legislación de Sistemas Costeros Mexicanos. Plaza Y Valdes Editores, Mexico, pp. 305-325.

Kovacs, J. M., Flores de Santiago, F., Bastien, J. and P. Lafrance (2010) An assessment of mangroves in Guinea, West Africa, using a field and remote sensing based approach.Wetlands 30: 773-782. (doi:10.1007/s13157-010-0065-3)

Kovacs, J. M., King, J. M. L., Flores de Santiago, F. and F. Flores-Verdugo (2009)

Evaluating the condition of a mangrove forest of the Mexican Pacific based on an estimated leaf area index mapping approach.Environmental Monitoring and Assessment157: 137-149. (doi:10.1007/s10661-008-0523-z)

Kovacs, J. M., Zhang, C., and F. Flores-Verdugo (2008) Mapping the condition of mangroves of the Mexican Pacific using C-band ENVISAT ASAR and Landsat optical data.Ciencias Marinas34: 407-418.

Walters, B. B., Ronnback, P., Kovacs, J. M., Crona, B., Hussain, A., Badola, R., Primavera, J., Barbier, E. and F. Dahdouh-Guebas (2008) Ethnobiology, socio-economics and management of mangroves: A review.Aquatic Botany89: 220-236. (doi:10.1016/j.aquabot.2008.02.009)

Kovacs, J. M., Vandenberg, C. V., Wang, J. and F. Flores-Verdugo (2008) The use of multipolarized spaceborne SAR backscatter for monitoring the health of a degraded mangrove forest.Journal of Coastal Research 24: 248-254. (doi:10.2112/06-0660.1)

Chen, K., Kennedy, J. Kovacs, J. M. and C. Zhang (2007) A spatial perspective for predicting enrolment in a regional pharmacy school.GeoJournal 70: 133-143. (doi:10.1007/s10708-008-9120-5)

Flores de Santiago, F. J., Santamaría-del-Ángel, E., González-Silvera, A., Martínez-Díaz-de-León, A., Millán-Núñez, R., and J. M. Kovacs (2007) Assessing dynamic micro-regions in the Great Islands of the Gulf of California based on MODIS aqua imagery products. Proceedings of theSociety of Photo-Optical Instrumentation EngineersVol. 6680 (doi:10.1117/12.732574)

Kovacs, J. M. and X.X. Lu (2007) Assessing forest change associated with sediment modifications for large tropical estuaries using ALOS PALSAR data. Proc. 1st Joint PI Symposium of ALOS Data Nodes for ALOS Science Program, Japan Aerospace & Exploration Agency: CD -4 pgs.

Kovacs, J. M., Vandenberg, C. V. and F. Flores-Verdugo (2006) Assessing fine beam RADARSAT-1 backscatter from a white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa (Gaertner)) canopy.Wetlands Ecology and Management14: 401-408.(doi:10.1007/s11273-005-6237-x)

Flores-Verdugo, F., Benitez-Pardo, D., Agraz-Hernandez, C. and J. M. Kovacs (2006) Manejo, conservacion y restauracion  de ecosistemas de manglar. In: Cifuentes-Lemus, J. L., Gaxiola Lopez, J. (Eds.), Atlas del Manejo y Conservacion de la Biodiversidad y Ecosystemas de Sinaloa. El Colegio de Sinaloa, Sinaloa, Mexico, pp. 11-19.

Kovacs, J. M., Wang, J. and F. Flores-Verdugo (2005) Mapping mangrove leaf area index at the species level using IKONOS and LAI-2000 sensors for the Agua Brava Lagoon, Mexican Pacific.Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science62: 377-384. (doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2004.09.027)

Kovacs, J. M., Vandenberg, C. V. and J. Wang (2005) SAR backscatter from a degraded white mangrove forest using multipolarization ENVISAT data. Proc. 26th Canadian Symp. Remote Sensing, Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute: 4 pgs.

Kovacs, J. M., Malczewski, J. and F. Flores-Verdugo (2004) Examining local ecological knowledge of hurricane impacts in a mangrove forest using an Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) approach.Journal of Coastal Research 20: 792-800. (doi:10.2112/1551-5036(2004)20[792:ELEKOH]2.0.CO;2)

Kovacs, J. M., Flores-Verdugo, F., Wang, J. and L. P. Aspden (2004) Estimating leaf area index of a degraded mangrove forest using high spatial resolution satellite imagery.Aquatic Botany80: 13-22. (doi:10.1016/j.aquabot.2004.06.001)

Kovacs, J. M., Aspden, L. P., Vandenberg, C. and T. A. Archer (2003) Combined use of the LAI-2000 Plant Canopy Analyzer and IKONOS Imagery for mapping Leaf Area Index of white mangrove. Proc. 25th Canadian Symp. Remote Sensing, Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute: CD -4 pgs.

Archer, T. A., Kovacs, J. M. and L. P. Aspden (2003) Monitoring the decline of a tropical forested wetland of the Teacapan estuarine system, Mexico. Proc. 25th Canadian Symp. Remote Sensing, Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute: 5 pgs.

May, D., Wang, J., Kovacs, J. M. and M. Muter (2003) Mapping wetland extent using IKONOS Satellite Imagery of the O’Donnell Point Region, Georgian Bay, Ontario. Proc. 25th Canadian Symp.Remote Sensing, Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute: CD -9 pgs.

Kovacs, J. M., Wang, J. and M. Blanco-Correa (2001) Mapping mangrove disturbances using multi-date Landsat TM imagery.Environmental Management27: 763-776. (doi:10.1007/s002670010186)

Kovacs, J. M., Blanco-Correa, M. and F. Flores-Verdugo (2001) A logistic regression model of hurricane impacts in a mangrove forest of the Mexican Pacific.Journal of Coastal Research17: 30-37.

Kovacs, J. M. (2000) Perceptions of environmental change in a tropical coastal wetland. LandDegradation & Development11: 209-220. (doi:10.1002/1099-145X(200005/06)11:3<209::AID-LDR378>3.0.CO;2-Y)

Kovacs, J. M., Wang, J. and M. Blanco-Correa (2000) Verifying salinity impacts on a tropical forested wetland. Proc. 22nd Canadian Symp. Remote Sensing, Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute: 693-699.

Kovacs, J. M. (1999) Assessing mangrove use at the local scale.Landscape and Urban Planning43: 201-208. (doi:10.1016/S0169-2046(98)00106-6)