About me

I have over 20 years of experience in the science and policy of natural resources management, in a wide variety of organizations, much of it as an independent consultant. I set up this site as a personal archive, to try to put it all in one place.

Since 2000, when I completed graduate school, I have worked almost exclusively on the subject of Payments for Environmental Services (PES), i.e., the multiple benefits associated with land and water conservation. My particular interest has been on the policies and institutional arrangements, as well as on the science that is necessary to support land use carbon sequestration projects and watershed protection.

I am currently teaching a course in World Regional Geography, as an Adjunct Professor at the University of the District of Columbia. Recent activities have included a consultancy with the UN Foundation to provide writing support for a multi-organizational project on Solutions from the Land, and a long-term consultancy with Terra Global Capital, where I provided support for the development of land use carbon projects, and gained an in-depth knowledge of climate and land-use related policies. Previously I was engaged in the comparative analysis of watershed Payments for Environmental Services (PES) initiatives, which led to an appreciation of the role of carbon in soil as well as in vegetation, and the greater potential of carbon markets for financing conservation and development activities.

This work has provided the basis for a number of publications, which have included a chapter for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, for which I was Lead Author, as well as entries in the Encyclopedia of Hydrological Sciences and the Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Change. I also published Flows, an e-bulletin on lessons being learned from the implementation of payments for watershed services that was produced from 2001 to 2008, much of it with support from IIED and the World Bank. In addition, I produced a number of reports, review papers and policy briefs, and have participated in or helped to organize workshops for clients that have also included: FAO, WWF US & UK, TNC, Forest Trends, CGIAR International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Island Press and AED.

Other not unrelated topics are sometimes addressed in The Post-Normal Times, an environmental science and policy blog I developed to provide a space for all the news that doesn’t fit, and to put science into context – it has been on somewhat of a hiatus given my other obligations but I expect to pick it up again soon.

Prior to attending graduate school, I held full-time positions at the former Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, and at the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council, where I directed a study on Land Acquisition for Conservation, and served as staff for a number of other committees, including the US Committee for SCOPE (i.e., the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment, which is part of the International Council of Scientific Unions).

I earned an MA in geography from the University of Maryland in 2000, in a program that enabled me to do interdisciplinary coursework in both the social and natural sciences, pertaining to terrestrial as well as marine ecosystems. My focus was on the socioeconomic and institutional aspects of managing common pool resources, information needed for land use decisions in the context of rapid global change, and participatory learning approaches to the valuation of natural resources.