Natural Resources

10:45AM - 12:05PM

Improving Natural Resource Management and Conservation to Strengthen the US Land Sink

Improved management and conservation of US forests, rangelands, wetlands, and urban ecosystems could offset up to 14% of annual US greenhouse gas emissions. Improved land management and conservation actions can also deliver valuable co-benefits including clean air, clean water, improved nutrient management, and wildlife protection – if smart programs and policies are developed to ensure that projects maximize multiple benefits. Yet, despite the considerable potential of these activities to contribute to decarbonization and other benefits, public and private investments are as yet insufficient to realize this potential.

Engaging experts on identifying the highest-priority opportunities, maximizing multiple benefits, and increasing investment, this panel will identify promising opportunities for increasing this sector's contribution to decarbonization.

Bronson Griscom

The Nature Conservancy

Dr. Bronson Griscom directs the Forest Carbon Science team at The Nature Conservancy. His team’s research characterizes large global opportunities for nature to mitigate climate change through improved land management, including global analyses of the magnitude of cost-effective climate mitigation that could be generated by a wide variety of improved land management practices. Prior to joining TNC, Dr. Griscom coordinated a successful effort at the U.S. Department of State, as an AAAS STP Fellow, to make climate change funding available for forest-climate initiatives through the Global Environmental Facility (GEF).

Melissa Gallant

US Department of State

Melissa Gallant currently works at the State Department, where she helps manage US-funded climate projects related to sustainable landscapes and climate adaptation. Previously, she worked at the DC-based nonprofit Forest Trends on environmental markets and finance mechanisms. She co-authored reports on the state of markets and finance for forest carbon, voluntary carbon markets, biodiversity mitigation, and mapping US environmental markets. She has a master’s in Sustainability Management from Columbia University and a BA in Environmental Studies and Chinese from Wellesley College.

Carlos Rodríguez-Franco

US Forest Service

Dr. Carlos Rodríguez-Franco is currently a Senior Forester and previously served as Deputy Chief for Research and Development, Associate Deputy Chief for Research and Development, and Director for Forest Management Sciences staff at the US Forest Service. Previously, he worked for the National Institute of Forestry, Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Research (INIFAP) in Mexico for 25 years, including serving as Forestry Research General Director. He has written over 90 scientific articles on subjects related to forest management, plant production, and agroforestry.

Kelly Gravuer

AAAS STPF (Moderator)

Dr. Kelly Gravuer is trained as a soil and plant ecologist, focusing on sustainable management of working lands. As a NatureNet postdoctoral fellow , she researched how rangelands can store more carbon while continuing to provide food, livelihoods, and environmental benefits. Currently, as a AAAS STP Fellow at the US EPA Office of Water, her research contributes to efforts to balance economic, social, and environmental considerations in decisions about water treatment technologies.

Cleo Chou

AAAS STPF (Reporter)

Dr. Cleo Chou is a AAAS Policy Fellow in the Office of Global Climate Change at USAID. She provides technical expertise for the design of Sustainable Landscapes programs, which work with developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, forestry, and other land use while strengthening livelihoods, climate resilience, biodiversity provisioning, and other ecosystem services. Cleo completed a PhD and postdoc at Princeton, where she studied the tropical forest carbon sink using field-based and mathematical modeling approaches.

Blaize Denfeld

AAAS STPF (Co-Organizer)

Dr. Blaize Denfeld is an AAAS S&T Policy Fellow at NASA HQ in the Earth Science Division. Blaize is an earth system scientist with expertise in freshwater ecosystems and carbon cycling. She received her B.A. and M.A. from Clark University and Ph.D. from Uppsala University (Sweden). Blaize also has a passion for understanding and facilitating scientific collaborations.