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Bronson Griscom

Bronson Griscom

Director, Forest Carbon Science

I serve as Director of Forest Carbon Science for the Climate Team at The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Our research measures the success of TNC’s tropical forest conservation programs in Indonesia, Brazil, and Mexico in counter-acting climate change.  Our research improves the design of conservation strategies so that they are “climate smart.”

For example, we developed a method for measuring the emissions performance of commercial logging in Borneo, and proposed a form of Reduced Impact Logging designed to avoid Carbon emissions (RIL-C). We are now building these approaches into a Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) methodology for validating RIL-C emissions reduction across the tropics. See this blog for more on RIL-C, or this one for my thoughts on scaling up to achieve “climate smart forestry.”

Other lines of research include,

(i) forest biomass mapping integrating satellite, aerial lidar, and field data. We are building on this work to map mature forests with particularly high conservation value.

(ii) climate smart cacao agroforestry systems, that maintain cacao yield while maximizing environmental and social benefits,

(iii) analysis of alternative methods for setting robust reference emissions levels for REDD+ initiatives.

Prior to joining TNC, I led a successful effort at the U.S. Department of State to make climate change funding available for REDD initiatives through the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). Before that I coordinated an EPA-funded research program to prioritize watershed conservation and restoration efforts in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands. I completed a Ph.D. in tropical forest ecology from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in 2003, and prior to that a M.Sc. from New York University in plant genetics and conservation.


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Griscom B, Ellis P, Putz J. 2014. Carbon emissions performance of commercial logging in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Global Change Biology 20(3):932-937.

Griscom H, Griscom B, Siderhurst L. 2014. Spatial Dynamics of Canopy Trees in an Old Growth Eastern Hemlock Forest in the Central Appalachian Highlands. Natural Areas Journal 34(1): 99-104.

Putz, F, Zuidema P, Synnott T, Peña-Claros M, Pinard M, Sheil D, Vanclay J, Sist P, Gourlet-Fleury S, Palmer J, Zagt R, Griscom B. 2014. A more realistic portrayal of tropical forestry: response to Kormos and Zimmerman. Conservation Letters. In press.


Griscom, B., Cortez, R., 2013. The case for Improved Forest Management (IFM) as a promising REDD+ strategy in the tropics. Journal of Tropical Conservation Science. 6 (3):409-425.

Venter, O., Possingham, H., Hovani, L., Dewi, S., Griscom, B., Paoli, G. Wells, P., Wilson, K. 2013. Using systematic conservation planning to minimize REDD+
conflict with agriculture and logging in the tropics. Conservation Letters 6: 116-124.


Putz, F.E., P.A. Zuidema, T. Synnott, M. Peña-Claros+, M. A. Pinard+, Douglas Sheil, J. K. Vanclay, P. Sist, S. Gourlet-Fleury, B. Griscom, J. Palmer, and R. Zagt. Sustaining conservation values in selectively logged tropical forests: The attained and the attainable. Conservation Letters (in revision).

Del Cid-Liccardi, C., Kramer, T., Ashton, M., and Griscom, B. 2012. Managing carbon sequestration in tropical forests. In Managing Forest Carbon in a Changing Climate, Eds. Ashton, M., Tyrrell, M., Spalding, D., Gentry, B. Springer.


Morton, D., Sales, M., Souza, C., Griscom, B. 2011. Historic emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in Mato Grosso, Brazil: 1) Source data uncertainties. Carbon Balance and Management 6 (18)

Griscom, H., Griscom, B. 2011. Evaluating the ecological niche of American chestnut for optimal hybrid seedling reintroduction sites in the Appalachian ridge and valley province. New Forests DOI: 10.1007/s11056-011-9291-7

Griscom, B., Griscom, H., Deacon, S. 2011. Species-specific barriers to tree regeneration in high elevation habitats of West Virginia. Restoration Ecology 19 (5) pp. 660–670


Cortez, R., Saines, R., Griscom, B., Martin, M., De Deo, D., Fishbein, G., Kerkering, J., Marsh, D. 2010. A Nested Approach to REDD+: Structuring Effective and Transparent Incentive Mechanisms for REDD+ Implementation at Multiple Scales. The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA. 46 pages.


Griscom, B., Shoch, D., Stanley, B., Cortez, R., Virgilio, N. 2009. Sensitivity of amounts and distribution of tropical forest carbon credits depending on baseline rules. Journal of Environmental Science & Policy. 12 pp 897-991. doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2009.07.008. Note: Requested as submission to UNFCCC by UNFCCC Secretariat, February, 2009.

Griscom, B., D. Ganz, N. Virgilio, F. Price, J. Hayward, R. Cortez, G. Dodge, J. Hurd, F. L. Lowenstein, B. Stanley. 2009. The Hidden Frontier of Forest Degradation: A Review of the Science, Policy and Practice of Reducing Degradation Emissions. The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA. 76 pages.

Griscom, H., Griscom, B., Ashton, M. 2009. Forest regeneration from pasture in the dry tropics of Panama: effects of cattle, exotic grass, and forested riparia. Restoration Ecology. 17(1) pp. 117-126


Griscom, B., D. Daly, M. Ashton. 2007. Floristics of bamboo-dominated stands in lowland forests of SW Amazonia. Bull. Torrey Botanical Society, 134 (1)


Griscom, B., M. Ashton. 2006. A self-perpetuating bamboo disturbance cycle in lowland forests of Madre de Dios, Peru. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 22: 587-597.

Myers, W., McKenny-Easterling, M., Hychka, K., Griscom, B., Bishop, J., Bayard A., Rocco, G., Brooks, R., Constantz, G., Patil, G.P., Taillie, C. 2006. Contextual clustering for configuring collaborative conservation of watersheds in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands. Environmental and Ecological Statistics 13 pp. 391-407.

Tomohiro, S., Ashton, M. Singhakumara, B., Griscom, H., Ediriweera, S. Griscom, B. 2006. Effects of fire on the recruitment of rain forest vegetation beneath Pinus caribaea plantations, Sri Lanka. Forest Ecology & Management. 226. 357-363.


Thenkabail, P., Stucky, N., Griscom, B., Ashton, M., Diels, J., Van Der Meer, B., and Enclona, E. 2004. Biomass estimations and carbon stock calculations in the oil palm plantations of African derived savannas using IKONOS, International Journal of Remote Sensing:25 (23): 5447-5472.


Griscom, B., M. Ashton, 2003. Bamboo control of forest succession: Guadua sarcocarpa in SE Peru. Forest Ecology and Management, vol.175 pp 445-454.


Lentz, D. L., Ramírez, C. R., Griscom, B. W. 1997. Formative-period subsistence and forest-product extraction at the Yarumela Site, Honduras. Ancient Mesoamerica 8: 63-74.

Bronson Griscom

Director, Forest Carbon Science

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