Start receiving our award-winning magazine today!


Our Scientists

Bronson Griscom

Bronson Griscom

Director, Forest Carbon Science

I am an ecological accountant for The Nature Conservancy. I specialize in measuring how forests solve climate change. To explain this, let’s start with the fundamentals: CO2 is the largest cause of climate change. Through a magical process called photosynthesis, trees suck CO2 out of the air, turn the C into cellulose (wood), and release the O2 (oxygen) back into the air. In other words, forests are a big climate change solution. Stopping deforestation and encouraging reforestation is a low cost solution to offsetting at least 1/3 of climate change (see this blog for details). My job is to 1) run the numbers on this forest solution to climate change, and 2) help design forest conservation strategies that provide yet bigger solutions to climate change. I also work with colleagues to integrate our forest carbon accounting with measures of other benefits forests provide for people.

Here are three examples:

1) We are measuring the CO2 benefits of low impact logging practices in Borneo, and we are re-designing low impact logging practices to achieve yet more carbon benefits. Low impact logging practices could cut carbon pollution in half while maintaining local jobs, maintaining Orangutan habitat, and improving water quality. See this blog for more.
2) We are measuring the extent to which community managed forests in Mexico are already providing CO2 benefits, and assessing how we can help these communities to provide even more.
3) We are measuring the extent to which improved land tenure and law enforcement in the Brazilian Amazon reduces CO2 emissions from deforestation. We are also exploring alternatives to cattle ranching, like cacao agroforestry, which can be more profitable yet store more carbon. See this blog for more.

Prior to joining TNC, I coordinated a successful effort at the U.S. Department of State to make climate change funding available for forest-climate initiatives through the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). Before that I was the post-doc on 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. Prior to that I got an M.Sc. from New York University in plant genetics and conservation. Hopefully that genetics part sounds impressive, but I confess I didn’t take to gel electrophoresis. Prior to that I was a 20-something dude trying to figure out what to do.


Download Bronson's CV



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

We’re Accountable

The Nature Conservancy makes careful use of your support.

More Ratings

x animal

Sign up for Nature eNews!

Sign Up for Nature e-News

Get our e-newsletter filled with eco-tips and info on the places you care about most.

Thank you for joining our online community!

We’ll be in touch soon with more Nature Conservancy news, updates and exciting stories.

Please leave this field empty

We respect your privacy. The Nature Conservancy will not sell, rent or exchange your e-mail address. Read our full privacy policy for more information. By submitting this form, you agree to the terms of use.