Dan Nepstad Bio and Abstract

EBI Seminar

Dr. Daniel Nepstad, Director and Senior Scientist, IPAM International Program

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Responding to Climate Change and Land Scarcity:  REDD+, Market Transformation, and Low-Emission Rural Development




Daniel Nepstad, PhD (Yale), is the Executive Director of the IPAM International Program and founding President of IPAM (the Amazon Environmental Research Institute).  Previously, he was Senior Scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center and Chief Program Officer for the Moore Foundation’s Environment program. His research and policy analysis focus on tropical forest responses to climate change and land use, low carbon rural development, and the linkage between REDD and agricultural commodity markets. He is a member of the REDD Offset Working group (ROW) that is helping to link California’s AB32 (cap-and-trade) with the REDD programs of Acre and Chiapas states; was a founding Board member of the Roundtable on Responsible Soy (RTRS); co-founder of Alianca da Terra; and serves as a Board member of Forest Trends.  He is a member of the World Bank’s Forest Program External Advisory Group and a lead author of the Fifth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, Working Group 2). He has published more than 140 scientific articles and book chapters, and three books.




Climate change and global land scarcity are beginning to interact synergistically with negative consequences for human welfare and the capacity of the Earth to sustain life. The growth in demand for land-based production—food, fuel, feed, and fiber—is showing signs of outpacing the growth in supply, creating a global imbalance that is elevating agricultural commodity prices, enhanced by crop failures resulting from extreme weather events. High prices and profitability drive crop expansion into forests and intensification on existing farmland, increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. REDD+ and market transformation favoring sustainable farming and livestock practices could help to manage the dual crises of climate change and land scarcity, but are currently operating in parallel. Synergistic linkages could be forged between these parallel processes through the development of simple, broadly recognized and adopted definitions and parameters for measuring the environmental and social performance of land-use systems at the scale of political jurisdictions and robust market and policy mechanisms for rewarding improvements in performance. The potential for policy innovation and market transformation to transform land-based production systems to yield more on less land while reducing GHG emissions, shrinking other environmental footprints and increasing social benefits will depend upon long-term investments to build governance capacity in those developing nations where land-use change is focused.






The Amazon Environmental Research Institute, International Program (IPAM-IP) is non-profit organization that conducts research, policy analysis, and capacity‐building for low-emission rural development in the tropical regions of the South America, Africa and Asia. With offices in San Francisco, IPAM-IP has integrated programs with the Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia (IPAM), a non-governmental organization with offices in Brazil and fifteen years history of ecological research and sustainable development initiatives in the Amazon.


The Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM)1was born in Belém at the mouth of the Amazon River in 1995. We have grown from our origins as an independent Brazilian research institute into an international catalyst for bold, innovative approaches to tropical forest conservation, agricultural transformation, and climate policy. We have now launched an International Program (IPAM IP) to expand our ability to support those tropical nations that are striving to lower their greenhouse gas emissions from land use as they conserve biodiversity and water resources, secure food production systems, and strengthen traditional and indigenous claims on natural resources.

Our approach: We work through a powerful combination of world-class science, policy analysis, partnerships with forest peoples, direct engagement with industry, and advice to government decision-makers.