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Jon Fisher


Jon Fisher

Senior Conservation Scientist, Center for Sustainability Science

Jon Fisher is a senior conservation scientist for the new Center for Sustainability Science at The Nature Conservancy. He is leading efforts to put rigorous science front and center in our sustainable agriculture work, and finding ways to improve sustainability through corporate practices and public policy. He seeks to identify key science gaps that are barriers to substantial sustainability improvements at scale, such as finding better ways to measure environmental outcomes in agriculture, and determining how to scale up efforts to improve the sustainability of the beef supply chain.

His broad expertise in agriculture, soils, forestry, ecology, ecosystem services, engineering, spatial data analysis, technology, and sustainability science are being applied at the Center for Sustainability Science to a variety of challenges and innovative research.

Jon regularly speaks at scientific conferences and for non-technical audiences; from business executives, to donors, to middle schoolers. He has given a plenary talk about the importance of science in conservation and participated in plenary panel discussions at conferences with several hundred attendees, including The Natural Capital Project Summit and Nature Conservancy Science & Stewardship conference. In addition to regularly speaking about sustainable agriculture, Jon has presented on GIS and remote sensing, drones, green living, corporate sustainability, and overviews of exciting science work going on across TNC.  Jon has designed and presented several training workshops including how to publish spatial data as interactive web maps, and how to use mobile data collection tools for non-technical staff at airports to improve wildlife management. As a member of The Nature Conservancy's Science Impact Project, Jon has been trained in speaking at varied levels of complexity for different audiences, including through storytelling and improvisation.

In his 10 years at TNC, Jon has worked on everything from the first organization-wide measures of our work, to studying how new knowledge spreads among colleagues, to using a drone to measure water quality in small streams. In addition to scientific publications, he regularly blogs about a wide range of topics, and gives talks to a variety of audiences.

Jon received a master’s degree in environmental engineering (with a stream ecology focus) and and simultaneous B.S. degrees in Forestry and Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences (with concentrations in ecology and physics) all at the University of Illinois.

Download Jon's CV

Read Jon Fisher's Full Biography

Jon in the Media

Writing

See the Latest on Cool Green Science or all of Jon's recent blog posts

Global Agriculture Trends: Are We Actually Using Less Land?

Disrupting Bacterial “Communication”: A New Idea for Sustainable Agriculture

Go Deep: Using DataThief to Rebuild Misleading Figures

Everyday Nature: How I Came To Love House Centipedes

Video

The Industrial Tomato

The Local Tomato

 

Publications

2016

Fisher, J.R. & Kareiva, P. (2016). Ecosystem-service based metrics of sustainability as tools for promoting conservation and food security. In: Agricultural resilience: perspectives from ecology and economics. Cambridge University Press.

Ayana, E.K., Ceccato, P., Fisher, J.R.B. & DeFries, R. (2016). Examining the relationship between environmental factors and conflict in pastoralist areas of East Africa. Science of The Total Environment, 557–558, 601–611.

Reddy, S.M.W., Montambault, J., Masuda, Y.J., Gneezy, A., Keenan, E., Butler, W., Fisher, J.R.B. & Asah, S.T. (2016). Advancing conservation by understanding and influencing human behavior. Conservation Letters, doi: 10.1111/conl.12252

2014

Fisher, J.R., Boucher, T.M., Attwood, S.K. & Kareiva, P.M. (2014). How do we know an agricultural system is sustainable? The Nature Conservancy.

Kroeger, T., Escobedo, F.J., Hernandez, J.L., Varela, S., Delphin, S., Fisher, J.R.B. & Waldron, J. (2014). Reforestation as a novel abatement and compliance measure for ground-level ozone. PNAS, 111, E4204–E4213.

2012

Fisher, J.R.B. & Dills, B. (2012). Do private conservation activities match science-based conservation priorities? PLoS ONE, 7, e46429.

2009

Mcdonald, R.I., Forman, R.T.T., Kareiva, P., Neugarten, R., Salzer, D. & Fisher, J. (2009). Urban effects, distance, and protected areas in an urbanizing world. Landscape and Urban Planning, 93, 63–75.

2003

Herricks, E., Fisher, J., Kuehner, C. & Hovan, M. (2003). Application of GIS technologies to wildlife management at DFW Airport. 2003 Bird Strike Committee USA/Canada, 5th Joint Annual Meeting, Toronto, ONT.

As a senior conservation scientist for the new Center for Sustainability Science at The Nature Conservancy, Jon applies his 12 years of experience and broad multi-disciplinary background to a variety of challenges and innovative research. He seeks to identify key science gaps that are barriers to substantial sustainability improvements at scale.

Recent examples include developing improved metrics for environmental outcomes in agriculture, and leading a research team to identify key impacts and opportunities for improvements in the U.S. beef supply chain. This work will be used to inform where to focus sustainability improvements for Walmart and other large companies which have influence over how millions of cattle are raised. He was also part of the research team for the TNC-Dow Chemical Company collaboration.

Jon is working with several universities to enhance TNC’s science capacity, from a partnership with Cornell that is leading to exciting research collaborations, to mentoring several NatureNet fellows (at Yale, Columbia, and Cornell).

Jon came to TNC in 2005 to develop the first organization-wide measures of our work as an organization, and to bring our data from around the world into unified global data sets for our core products like ecoregional assessments, conservation action plans, ecoregions, and TNC-owned lands. He also worked on information systems that make it easier to access and analyze our data online.

In 2012 he moved to a conservation scientist role in the Central Science department to spend more time doing research, and in 2015 moved to the new Center for Sustainability Science. Some of his recent projects have included remote sensing for sustainable agriculture, improving metrics for sustainable agriculture and soil carbon, corporate sustainability and green labeling, knowledge diffusion, assessing opportunities to reduce the impact of beef production, identifying the potential of reforestation for ozone reduction, land cover change modeling, and the use of drones to monitor water quality in small streams.

In addition to scientific publications, he regularly blogs about a wide range of topics, and gives talks to a variety of audiences. He especially enjoys bringing a quantitative approach to topics like green living to help people figure out what they can do at home to improve their impact on the environment.

Prior to joining the Conservancy, he worked at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying ways to diminish the risk of bird strikes at airports through improved wildlife management, developing novel mobile data systems, and testing and refining a custom radar system designed to detect birds. He received a master’s degree in environmental engineering (with a stream ecology focus) while researching the same topic, and simultaneous B.S. degrees in Forestry and Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences (with concentrations in ecology and physics) also at the University of Illinois.

Contact

Matt Miller
Director of Science Communications
Phone: 208-350-2203
E-mail: m_miller[at]tnc[dot]org

Areas of Expertise

  • Sustainability
  • Agriculture
  • Spatial Science

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