Keynote Speakers

  • Pedro Brancalion

    Pedro Brancalion

    Universidade de São Paulo

    Keynote: Ecosystem restoration will increase the demand for land: Concerns and opportunities for sustainability

    Pedro is an agronomist and restoration ecologist, specializing in developing cost-effective solutions to conserve and restore tropical forests. Over the past 20 years, he has dedicated his career to understanding the ecological mechanisms and socio-economic factors that drive successful restoration and developing collaborative solutions with various stakeholders to make ecological restoration a competitive land use option. Although most of his projects are in Brazil's Atlantic Forest, he has also conducted research in the Cerrado and Amazon regions and performed global analyses on various restoration topics. Pedro began his career focusing on land use planning and restoring environmentally sensitive areas to help agricultural and forestry companies comply with environmental laws. Later, he collaborated with governments, NGOs, and coalitions to develop restoration programs for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services provisioning. Recently, he has concentrated on enabling forest restoration for carbon credits generation. On weekends, Pedro manages his own restoration areas on his farm. While primarily a plant ecologist, Pedro has bridged knowledge gaps in restoration science and practice across genetics, governance, remote sensing, and economics, making him a well-rounded generalist. In recent years, he has expanded his focus from traditional scientific projects to include research, development, and innovation initiatives, aiming to accelerate the transformative changes needed to scale up restoration and deliver benefits for nature and people.

  • Eduardo Brondizio

    Eduardo Brondizio

    Indiana University - Bloomington

    Thematic Keynote: A Cross-roads for just land systems: food production jobs, value-chains, and the transformation of rural-urban landscapes.

    Over three decades, Eduardo has developed a research program in environmental anthropology that is collaborative and international, interdisciplinary, and problem-oriented, and, particularly dedicated to understanding rural and urban populations and landscapes, and the transformation of the Amazon. For most of his career, Eduardo has studied small farmers and rural households in Eastern Amazonia as they have interacted with commodity markets and value-chains, development programs and policies, social movements, and environmental-climate change. For the past two decade, his research has extended to the analysis of rural-urban household networks, urbanization and urban problems, and the governance of indigenous areas and conservation units in the region. As a microcosm of global predicaments and diversity, marked by development contradictions, social inequalities, and accelerated environmental change, the Amazon has provided Eduardo an entry point to engage on collaborative research focusing on regional and global change and sustainability. He has strived to maintain a field-based, comparative, and longitudinal research program that combines ethnography, survey, institutional analysis, geospatial methods, ecological assessments, and historical investigation, grounded in a belief that problem-oriented empirical analysis, theory, and methodological development are inter-dependent. Brought together, Eduardo sees his research as contributing to a ‘ethnographically grounded complex systems perspective’ to examining connections between local, regional, and global changes and their implications for rural, indigenous, and urban communities. Eduardo is elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the United States National Academy of Sciences, and international member of the French Academy of Agriculture. He was awarded the 2023 Volvo Environmental Prize.

  • Esteve Corbera Elizalde

    Esteve Corbera Elizalde

    Institut Barcelona Estudis Internacionals

    Thematic Keynote: TBD

    Esteve Corbera (PhD Development Studies, 2006, U. of East Anglia) is ICREA Research Professor and Deputy Director at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB), Spain. His research focuses on human-nature relationships and the impact of social, policy and environmental change on resource governance. Specifically, he has conducted research on how international policies for biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation and adaptation have affected the land-use systems, institutions, and livelihoods of rural peoples in the global South. His work in these fields has drawn on data from multiple levels, from multi-actor views gathered ethnographically to secondary information collected for quantitative assessments. Esteve serves as an Associate Editor of the journal Ecology & Society, and as international board member of the Journal of Peasant Studies.

  • Meha Jain

    Meha Jain

    University of Michigan

    Keynote: Global Environmental Change and Sustainable Food Systems

    Meha Jain is an Associate Professor in the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan. Her research examines the impacts of environmental change on agricultural production, and how farmers may adapt to reduce negative impacts. She also examines ways that we can sustainably enhance agricultural production in the face of environmental change. To do this work, she combines remote sensing and geospatial analyses with household-level and census datasets to examine farmer decision-making and agricultural production across large spatial and temporal scales. She has a B.A. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University, a Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology from Columbia University, and postdoctoral experience in the Department of Earth System Science from Stanford University.

  • Joe Mascaro

    Joe Mascaro


    Thematic Keynote: Earth Science in Real Time

    Joe is a tropical ecologist and Sr. Global Director, Science at Planet—a San Francisco-based aerospace company that operates the largest fleet of Earth-imaging satellites. At Planet, Joe works with scientists, universities and individual investigators to utilize Planet’s unprecedented imaging resources to enhance primary research and education, improve forest monitoring and conservation, expand food security, and promote ecological resilience for some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. Joe explores ecological and technological evolution in the Anthropocene, working at the intersection of pure research into global environmental change, and efforts to develop new Earth monitoring and climate mitigation strategies. Joe has authored a number of publications, including more than 40 peer-reviewed articles exploring Anthropocene ecosystems through a combination of field work and advanced imaging technologies, as well as philosophical investigations into human relationships to ecological and technological change.

  • Sophia Murphy

    Sophia Murphy

    Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

    Science-Policy Keynote: TBD

    Sophia Murphy joined the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) as executive director in October 2020. Sophia is a food systems and international economy expert with 30 years of professional experience, including as a board chair, program director, policy analyst and published writer. A policy expert and advocate who has focused on resilient food systems, agriculture and international trade, Sophia has worked primarily with civil society organizations, as well as with government, intergovernmental organizations and universities.

    Sophia originally came to IATP in 1997 as a senior associate to work on trade. She directed IATP’s trade and global governance program from 2000 to 2006, and later served as a senior advisor until 2018. She joined IATP from Geneva, where she had worked for two years with the United Nations Nongovernmental Liaison Service. For over a decade, she operated a successful independent consultancy business. Most recently, she served as research director and advisor on agriculture, trade and investment within the Economic Law and Policy Program at the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). She was part of a three-year project called Ceres2030 that assessed the evidence on effective interventions to end hunger, double the incomes of small-scale producers and reduce food systems’ environmental footprint, and developed an economic cost model to look at the public investment needed for those interventions. She served two consecutive terms as a member of the steering committee of the High-Level Panel of Experts to the United Nations Committee on World Food Security.

  • Cécile Bibiane NDJEBET

    Cécile Bibiane NDJEBET

    The African Women's Network for Community Management of Forests

    Thematic Keynote: Imagining the future of land tenure with women

    Cécile Ndjebet is one of the well-known leaders of CSO in Africa, an international women’s rights advocate and gender specialist. With 36 years of field experience, Cécile started her professional career as a Cameroonian Civil servant in 1986. Cécile has an extensive experience on gender mainstreaming and women’s rights in policies, mechanisms, programs, initiatives and processes related to natural resources management, Gender and tenure, gender and REDD+, gender and climate change and gender and biodiversity, etc.

    In 1997, she joined the civil society Organizations. Cécile founded a national NGO Cameroon Ecology in 2000 and has been advocating for community rights - including rural and Indigenous women - to forests, land and natural resources. She has been devoted to women’s rights issues and is being involved in the national, regional and international forestry, REDD+ and climate change processes for the past 15 years.

    Cecile has initiated policy reforms and initiatives to preserve the forests (terrestrial and mangroves) and livelihoods of Africans who depend on them. She has been supporting women and youth groups in their effort to addressing climate change through restoration of the degraded ecosystems, education and development of environment friendly technologies.

  • Maja Schlüter

    Maja Schlüter

    Stockholm Resilience Centre

    Thematic Keynote: Beyond prediction - modelling for middle-range theorizing complex processes of change in social-ecological systems

    Maja Schlüter is Professor of Social-ecological Systems Science at the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University. She leads an interdisciplinary team that studies processes of adaptive and transformative change in social-ecological systems (SES) from a complexity perspective. She is particularly interested in the social-ecological processes and causal mechanisms that give rise to phenomena such as fisheries collapse, agricultural innovation, food system resilience or governance transitions. To explore and explain the complex dynamics of SES and build theory, she combines in-depth empirical research with dynamic modelling. She is also interested in the philosophical and methodological foundations of SES research, particularly the potential of process-relational perspectives and collaborative multi-methods methodologies, for dealing with complex causality and social-ecological interdependencies. The aim of her theoretical work is to advance understanding and theorizing that moves beyond the dichotomy of humans and nature, builds on a plurality of understandings and accounts for the contextual and dynamic nature of SES. Her work and the work of her group has been supported by several large grants from the European Research Council (ERC), the Swedish Research Council and other EU programmes.

  • Farhana Sultana

    Farhana Sultana

    Syracuse University

    Thematic Keynote: TBD

    Farhana Sultana is a Professor in the Department of Geography and the Environment at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, where I have taught since 2008. She is also the Research Director for Environmental Collaboration and Conflicts in the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration (PARCC) at the Maxwell School. Before becoming an academic, Farhana was a Programme Officer at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for a $26M large environment-development program in Bangladesh. As an internationally-recognized and award-winning interdisciplinary scholar, speaker, and author, she is broadly interested in nature-society relationships, political ecology, climate justice, water governance, critical development studies, transnational feminist theories, critical urban studies, human rights, citizenship, decolonizing, and South Asia. Her work is informed by not only her background and training in the natural sciences, social sciences, and policy experience, but also from having lived and worked on three continents, being a post-colonial subject and scholar, and having a lifelong commitment to critical praxis and social justice. She was the recipient of the 2019 Glenda Laws Award from the American Association of Geographers for “outstanding contributions to geographic research on social issues.”

More accepted speakers to be added soon!