Project Team - The World's Forests

The World’s Forests: Design and Implementation of
Effective Measurement and Monitoring

The Project Team
OverviewProject TeamProject PapersPress Release


Principal Investigator: Molly Macauley, Senior Fellow and Director, Academic Programs, RFF. Macauley’s research includes assessment of the uses, limitations, and value of remote sensing information in managing natural resources, as well as issues in the finance of remote sensing systems, including roles of government and the private sector. She recently served as lead author for the US Climate Change Science Program on an assessment of remote sensing data and their use by federal agencies in managing resources. She also is a principal analyst for NASA’s GEO working group on climate and remote sensing. Macauley is an elected member of the International Academy of Astronautics and serves on the National Research Council’s Space Studies Board, among other national and international advisory groups.

Co-Investigator: Roger Sedjo, Senior Fellow and Director of FEPP at RFF. Sedjo has authored 15 books and hundreds of journal articles and book chapters on the commercial timber industry, timber supply, forest modeling, biodiversity, climate change, deforestation and biofuels. He has extensive international experience including projects with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, FAO, OECD, USAID, US Department of State, UNDP, Harvard Institute for International Development, and other organizations. He was a co-author on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th IPCC assessments on climate change.

James Boyd, Senior Fellow, RFF. Boyd’s research emphasizes the tracking of data on measures of natural resources for development of green GDP, national indicator systems, and ecological assessment endpoints. He has recently completed a major report on design of such measures for forestry.

International experts in forestry and forest/ecology modeling and economics:

Pekka E. Kauppi, Professor and Chair, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki. Kauppi is a recognized expert in forest monitoring, sustainability science, and the global carbon cycle. He has held positions in the Ministry of the Environment of Finland, the Finnish Forest Research Institute, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and was a coauthor of studies for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and working groups of the IPCC.

Jingyun Fang, Professor and Chair, Department of Ecology, Peking University. Fang’s research expertise includes biodiversity and biogeography of plants, climate change and the terrestrial carbon cycle, and applications of remote sensing in ecology. He is a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and has served as the vice president of the Ecological Society of China.

Alan Grainger, Senior Lecturer in Geography, University of Leeds. Grainger has published extensively on monitoring tropical deforestation and evaluating estimates of tropical forest areas and deforestation rates, modeling forest change in terms of underlying driving and controlling variables, and the role of tropical forests in global climate change.

Paul Waggoner, Distinguished Scientist 1987-present, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Waggoner has assessed the impacts of climate change on agriculture, river systems, and other water resources and evaluated policy options for adaptation to climate change. He recently chaired the Scientific Advisory Board of the Giant Sequoia National Monument (2001-2003). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Brent Sohngen, Professor, Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, The Ohio State University and RFF University Fellow. Sohngen’s research includes modeling and assessment of forest economics, global timber markets, and the relationship between forests and climate change. He was a member of the IPCC, Working Groups II & III, during 1999 – 2007.

International experts in applications of remote sensing for forestry measurement and monitoring and the use of remote sensing in application to resource management

Ruth DeFries, Denning Family Chair in Sustainable Development and Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology, Columbia University, and Professor, University of Maryland, College Park with joint appointments in the Department of Geography and the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center. DeFries studies the relationships among human activities, the land surface, and Earth’s biophysical and biogeochemical processes, and has pioneered techniques for understanding forest cover and land use change at regional and global scales with remotely sensed data. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program of the Ecological Society of America. She received a MacArthur Fellowship for her work in this area in 2007.

Josef Kellndorfer
, Associate Scientist, The Woods Hole Research Center. Kellndorfer has been involved in the application of remote sensing data for natural resource mapping and monitoring for more than 20 years. He is an internationally known expert on the application of radar remote sensing data and is principal investigator in several NASA and private foundation grants related to forest monitoring (deforestation mapping) and forest biomass assessment. He leads a multi-year effort to produce the National Biomass and Carbon Dataset 2000 for the conterminous U.S. through fusion of optical, radar, and field inventory data. Within the Woods Hole Research Center he co-leads a team of experts concerned with the UNFCCC process of "Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD)."

Institutional and industry expertise

Michael Obersteiner, Seconded Science Officer, GEO, and the Group Leader for the Forestry Project, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. At GEO, Obersteiner’s main responsibilities are for global forest carbon observations. His expertise includes global forest analysis, global land use, Earth observations, and analysis of the role of forests in climate change policy.

Michael Toman
, Lead Economist, Climate Change, Development Economics Research Group. The World Bank. Toman brings previous experience with international resource management through projects at the InterAmerican Development Bank, the RAND Corporation, and most recently, the World Bank. He is a recognized expert in international natural resources economics and climate policy issues and brings perspectives from the lending community. 

Craig Dobson
, Chief Scientist, Office of Earth Science, NASA.. Dobson’s expertise includes study of digital topography of land cover from radar interferometry and applications of radar data from the Advanced Land Observing Satellite (which offers new capability for forest monitoring). He brings particular expertise in managing advance planning for future satellite technologies relevant for forest measurement.

Mark Brender
, Vice President, GeoEye, Inc. and Chair, GeoEye Foundation. Brender has pioneered public use of and access to remote sensing information around the world and now represents the private sector community supplying high spatial resolution Earth observations to an international market. He also leads GeoEye’s activities in public and research applications of remote sensing by way of the GeoEye Foundation.

Mark Cohen, Vice President for Research, RFF. Cohen’s research prior to assuming the Vice President position at RFF has included the role of information and monitoring in managing natural and environmental resources.

Research Associates

Matthew Fagan, Ph.D. student, Columbia University. Fagan’s current research uses remote sensing to examine how recent increases in the area of secondary forests and tree plantations in the tropics affect the fragmentation of natural habitats. He has a Masters in Ecology from Dartmouth College, where his research focused on the impacts of invasive species on forest regeneration.

Daniel Morris
, Research Assistant, RFF. Morris researches focuses on domestic climate change policy and legislation related to adaptation, forest carbon, and mitigation. He has a Masters of Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara and has previously worked for the USDA Forest Service and the National Park Foundation.

Relevant organizations represented on RFF’s FEPP Advisory Committee:

International Forestry Advisors
Society of American Foresters
American Forest and Paper Association
World Wildlife Fund
MeadWestvaco Corporation
Conservation International
The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment