Senior Conservation Scientist, Center for Sustainability Science
Jon Fisher Senior Conservation Scientist, Center for Sustainability Science ©; Jessica Garcia

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Jon Fisher

Senior Conservation Scientist, Center for Sustainability Science

Arlington, VA


    Sustainable agriculture, data & metrics, remote sensing

  • Publications

    Science Publications


Jon Fisher is a senior conservation scientist for the 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. 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, determining how to scale up efforts to improve the sustainability of the beef supply chain, and optimizing the data we rely on to make decisions.

His broad expertise and 17 years of experience in agriculture, soils, forestry, ecology, ecosystem services, engineering, spatial data analysis, remote sensing, technology, and sustainability science are being applied at the Center for Sustainability Science to a variety of challenges and innovative research.

In his 13 years at TNC, Jon has worked on everything from the first organization-wide measures of our work, building enterprise information systems to manage core data, studying how new knowledge spreads among colleagues, and even using a drone to measure water quality in small streams. He also works with several major companies to identify ways for them to drive global sustainability improvements. He is currently engaged in supply-chain initiatives around deforestation and sustainability metrics. In addition to his work on data, remote sensing, and agriculture, Jon is involved in social science around knowledge diffusion and integrating social data into conservation initiatives.

In addition to scientific publications (see for details), he regularly blogs about a wide range of topics, and gives talks to a variety of audiences (from business executives, to donors, to middle schoolers, to the general public) in different formats (from plenary talks to panel discussions and everything in between). 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.

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

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Peer-reviewed publications (available here)


Fisher, J. R. B. and Kareiva, P. (In Press, 2019). Using environmental metrics to promote sustainability and resilience in agriculture. In Gardner et al. (Eds), Agricultural Resilience: Perspectives from Ecology and Economics. Cambridge University Press. Manuscript accepted for publication.


Masuda, Y. J., Liu, Y., Reddy, S. M. W.,Frank, K.A., Burford, K., Fisher, J. R. B., Montambault, J. (2018). Innovation diffusion within large environmental NGOs through informal network agents. Nature Sustainability 1(4), 190-197.

Fisher, J. R. B., Montambault, J., Burford, K. P., Gopalakrishna, T., Masuda, Y. J., Reddy, S. M. W., … Salcedo, A. I. (2018). Knowledge diffusion within a large conservation organization and beyond. PLoS ONE, 13(3), 1–24.


Fisher, J. R. B. (2017). Global agricultural expansion – the sky isn’t falling (yet). In Kareiva, P., Silliman, B, and Marvier, M. (Eds), Effective Conservation Science: Data not Dogma. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, pages 73-79.

Fisher, J. R. B., Acosta, E. A., Dennedy-Frank, P. J., Kroeger, T., Boucher, T. M. (2017). Impact of satellite imagery spatial resolution on land use classification accuracy and modeled water quality. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation 4(2), 137-149.

Ayana, E. K., Fisher, J. R. B., Hamel, P., Boucher, T. M. (2017). Identification of ditches and furrows using remote sensing: application to sediment modelling in the Tana watershed, Kenya. International Journal of Remote Sensing 38(16), 4611-4630.


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, 601-611.

Reddy, S. M., Montambault, J., Masuda, Y. J., Gneezy, A., Keenan, E., Butler, W., Fisher, J. R. B. and Asah, S. T., (2016). Advancing Conservation by Understanding and Influencing Human Behavior. Conservation Letters.


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. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(40), E4204-E4213.


Fisher, J. R. B., & Dills, B. (2012). Do private conservation activities match science-based conservation priorities? PLoS ONE 7(9): e46429


McDonald, R. I., Forman, R. 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(1), 63-75.

Additional publications:


The Nature Conservancy. (2018). Everyday Sustainability Guide: 7 good-for-our-planet steps that are easy to take. Report available at


The Nature Conservancy. (2016). reThink Soil: A Roadmap for U.S. Soil Health. Report available at

The Nature Conservancy. (2016). U.S. Beef Supply Chain: Opportunities in Fresh water, Wildlife Habitat, and Greenhouse Gas Reduction. Report available at


Fisher, J. R. B., Boucher, T. M., Attwood, S. K., & Kareiva, P. (2013). How Do We Know an Agricultural System is Sustainable?  (went through external peer review, although not at a journal)


Herricks, E. E., Fisher, J. R., Markow, J. S., & Antonik, P. (2005). A Report of Test Results of the 94 GHz Bird Detection Radar (BIRDAR)™ at DFW Airport. WAVEBAND CORP IRVINE CA.


Herricks, E., Fisher, J. R. B., Kuehner, C., Hovan, M. J. (2003). Application of GIS Technologies to Wildlife Management at DFW Airport. 2003 Bird Strike Committee Proceedings.

Fisher, J. R. B. (2003). Evaluation of avian hazards to aircraft at Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport. (master’s thesis)


Dwyer, J., Marsinko, A., & Fisher, J. (1999). Trends in participation rates for wildlife-associated outdoor recreation activities by gender and race/ethnicity. In Proceedings of the 1998 Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium (Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-255. pp. 213-218). Radnor, PA: USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station.