Christina M. Kennedy, Senior Scientist.
Christina Kennedy Christina M. Kennedy, Senior Scientist. © Christina M. Kennedy

Our People

Christina M. Kennedy

Senior Scientist, Global Conservation Lands

Fort Collins, Colorado


    Agriculture, Ecosystem Services, Landscape Ecology and Modeling, Protected Areas


Christina Kennedy is a Senior Scientist with The Nature Conservancy’s Global Conservation Lands Program. She supports the Development by Design (DbD) strategy and leads science initiatives and applies new tools, methods, and modeling techniques to mitigate and reconcile the impacts of land conversion and human development on biodiversity and ecosystem services to promote the design of more sustainable landscapes.

Christina’s research focuses on the effects of human land use on species communities; fragmentation of natural systems; and the role of farming practices and landscape patterns on biodiversity. Her projects span local to global scales. She is currently involved in a collaborative effort with the Global Lands team and international experts to forecast globally at-risk areas from cumulative development threats with the aim of catalyzing proactive land use planning, impact mitigation and conservation investments in the face of anticipated development expansion. With an inter-disciplinary research team, she is investigating the ecological role of wild birds on mixed vegetable farms in the U.S. in relation to their beneficial effects for pest control and potential risks as pathogens/parasites vectors; a project led by Washington State University in conjunction with the TNC, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and University of California-Riverside. Within the TNC-Dow Chemical Company Collaboration, she led analyses to guide business decision-making about agricultural expansion and habitat restoration and protection under the Forest Code to balance the benefits of agricultural profit with biodiversity and ecosystem services in the Brazilian Cerrado. Christina also spearheaded field research on the impacts of agriculture, urbanization, and mining on bird communities in the Caribbean; investigated the effects of land cover classification and imagery resolution on detecting fragmentation effects in the Atlantic Forest; and conducted synthetic modeling of farming practices and landscape effects on pollinators globally to safeguard the delivery of pollination services. Her work has been published in leading scientific journals including Ecology Letters, Ecological Monographs, Ecology, Conservation Biology, and Science Advances

Prior to joining TNC, Christina served as a Postdoctoral Associate on a National Science Foundation project and modeled the effects of landscape patterns on global (bee) pollinators with investigators at the Lincoln Park Zoo, University of Maryland, and the University of California at Berkeley and Davis. She also served as a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, where she directed field research in Jamaica on the effects of forest fragmentation and landscape matrix on Neotropical bird communities. Previously, she worked at the Environmental Law Institute in D.C., where she conducted research and outreach on federal, state, and local laws and policies related to land use, wetlands protection and biodiversity conservation.  She also served as a field biologist for various state and federal agencies in Hawaii, and investigated the status, habitat requirements, and recovery needs of endangered species.

Christina earned her B.S. degree from Cornell University, master’s degree from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Ph.D. degree from University of Maryland’s Biology, Ecology, Evolution and Systematics Program. Christina holds adjunct faculty appointments at Colorado State University and Washington State University.

+ more - less

Cool Green Science: How to feed the world without killing the planet?

Biological Conservation: Optimizing land use decision-making to sustain Brazilian agricultural profits, biodiversity and ecosystem services).

Global Food For Thought: Agricultural growth and habitat preservation can coexist, and Latin America is going to show us how.

Cool Green Science: Scaling-up agricultural planning for conservation in the Brazilian Cerrado

Conservation Gateway: TNC-Dow Collaboration: Brazil pilot site research

Washington State University News: Weighing benefits, risks of wild birds on organic farms

The Fiji Times: The 'lungs of the world'

Ensia: New study finds 20 percent of natural habitats at risk from future development

Cool Green Science: Putting conservation on the map: A blueprint for a healthy planet

Huffington Post: Wild pollinators are critical in keeping our picnic baskets full
(Also featured in Cool Green Science)

The Nature Conservancy Magazine – World View
: The farm’s best friend

Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative: Pollinator diversity matters

Smithsonian Magazine: Could disappearing wild insects trigger a global crop crisis?

Science Daily: Loss of wild insects hurts crops around the world

Science News: Native pollinators boost crop yields worldwide

Cool Green Science: Seeing the trees – Without losing sight of the forest

Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center: Effects of forest fragmentation on bird communities in Jamaica

NSF’s National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science: Does the matrix matter? Testing the influence of matrix type on bird responses to forest fragmentation


Lichtenberg, E.M., C.M. Kennedy, C. Kremen, P. Batáry, F. Berendse, R. Bommarco, N.A. Bosque-Pérez, L.G. Carvalheiro, W. Snyder, N.M. Williams, R. Winfree, B.K. Klatt, S. Åström,  B. Faye, C. Brittain, R. Chaplin-Kramer, Y. Clough, B. Danforth, T. Diekötter,  S.D. Eigenbrode, J. Ekroos, E. Elle, B.M. Freitas, Y. Fukuda, H.R. Gaines-Day, H. Grab, C. Gratton, A. Holzschuh, I. Rufus, M. Isaia, S. Jha, D. Jonason, V.P. Jones, A.M. Klein, J. Krauss, D.K. Letourneau, S. Macfadyen, R.E. Mallinger, E.A. Martin, E. Martinez, J. Memmott, L. Morandin, L. Neame, M. Otieno, M.G. Park, L. Pfiffner, M.J.O. Pocock, C. Ponce, S.G. Potts, K. Poveda, M. Ramos, J.A. Rosenheim, M. Rundlöf, H. Sardiñas, M.E. Saunders, N.L. Schon, A.R. Sciligo, C.S. Sidhu, I. Steffan-Dewenter, T. Tscharntke, M. Veselý, W.W. Weisser, J.K. Wilson, and D.W. Crowder. 2017. A global synthesis of the effects of diversified farming systems on arthropod diversity within fields and across agricultural landscapes. Global Change Biology. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13714.

Kennedy, C.M., E.F Zipkin, and P.P. Marra. 2017. Differential matrix use by Neotropical birds based on species traits and landscape condition. Ecological Applications, 27, 619-631.

Kiesecker, J., K. Sochi, J. Evans, C.M. Kennedy, M. Heiner, and J. Oakleaf. 2017. Conservation in the real world: Pragmatism does not equal surrender. In: Effective Conservation Science: Data Not Dogma (eds. Kareiva, P., Marvier, M., and Silliman, B.). Oxford University Press, Oxford, U.K.

Kennedy, C.M., P.L. Hawthorne, K. Sochi, D.A. Miteva, L. Baumgarten, E.M. Uhlhorn, and J. Kiesecker. 2017. Biofuels expansion and environmental quality in Brazil. In: Energy Sprawl Solutions: Balancing Global Development and Conservation (eds. Kiesecker, J.M. and Naugle, D.E.). Island Press, Washington, D.C., 101-112.

Oakleaf, J., C.M. Kennedy, S. Baruch-Mordo, and J.M. Kiesecker. 2017. Geography of Risk. In: Energy Sprawl Solutions: Balancing Global Development and Conservation (eds. Kiesecker, J.M. and Naugle, D.E.). Island Press, Washington, D.C., 9-20.

Oakleaf, J.R., M. Matsumoto, C.M. Kennedy, L. Baumgarten, D.A. Miteva, K. Sochi, and J. Kiesecker. 2017. LegalGEO: Conservation tool to guide the siting of legal reserves under the Brazilian Forest Code. Applied Geography, 86, 53-65.

Rhoades, P., T. Griswold, L. Waits, N.A. Bosque-Pérez, C.M. Kennedy, S.D. Eigenbrode. 2017. Sampling technique affects detection of habitat factors influencing wild bee communities. Journal of Insect Conservation, 1-12.

Ali, M., C.M. Kennedy, J. Kiesecker, Y. Geng. 2017. Measuring China’s Circular Economy –Integrating Biodiversity Offsets. Science Policy Forum. eLetter (22 May 2017).


Kennedy, C.M., Hawthorne, P.L., Miteva, D.A., Baumgarten, L., Sochi, K., Matsumoto, M., Evans, J.S., Polasky, S., Hamel, P., Monteiro Viera, E., Ferreira Develey, P., Sekercioğlu, C.H., Davidson, A.D., Uhlhorn, E.M., Kiesecker, J., 2016. Optimizing land use decision-making to sustain Brazilian agricultural profits, biodiversity, and ecosystem services. Biological Conservation, 204, Part B, 221-230.

Kennedy, C.M.*, Miteva, D.A.*, Baumgarten, L., Hawthorne, P.L., Sochi, K., Polasky, S., Oakleaf, J.R., Uhlhorn, E.M. & Kiesecker, J. (2016). Bigger is better: improved nature conservation and economic returns from landscape-level mitigation. Science Advances, 2, e1501021.
* Co-lead authors contributed equally

Tallis, H., Kennedy, C.M., Ruckelshaus, M., Goldstein, J. & Kiesecker, J.M. (2016). Mitigation for the people: an ecosystem services framework. In: Handbook on biodiversity and ecosystem services in impact assessment (ed. Geneletti, D.). Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK, pp. 397–427.


Oakleaf, J.R., Kennedy, C.M., Baruch-Mordo, S., West, P.C., Gerber, J.S., Jarvis, L. & Kiesecker, J. (2015). A world at risk: aggregating development trends to forecast global habitat conversion. PLoS ONE, 10, e0138334.

Tallis, H.*, Kennedy, C.M.*, Ruckelshaus, M., Goldstein, J. & Kiesecker, J.M. (2015). Mitigation for one & all: an integrated framework for mitigation of development impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 55, 21–34.
* Co-lead authors contributed equally


Boyle, S.A., Kennedy, C.M., Torres, J., Colman, K., Pérez-Estigarribia, P.E. & Sancha, N.U. de la. (2014). High-resolution satellite imagery is an important yet underutilized resource in conservation biology. PLoS ONE, 9, e86908.


Garibaldi, L.A., Steffan-Dewenter, I., Winfree, R., Aizen, M.A., Bommarco, R., Cunningham, S.A., Kremen, C., Carvalheiro, L.G., Harder, L.D., Afik, O., Bartomeus, I., Benjamin, F., Boreux, V., Cariveau, D., Chacoff, N.P., Dudenhöffer, J.H., Freitas, B.M., Ghazoul, J., Greenleaf, S., Hipólito, J., Holzschuh, A., Howlett, B., Isaacs, R., Javorek, S.K., Kennedy, C.M., Krewenka, K.M., Krishnan, S., Mandelik, Y., Mayfield, M.M., Motzke, I., Munyuli, T., Nault, B.A., Otieno, M., Petersen, J., Pisanty, G., Potts, S.G., Rader, R., Ricketts, T.H., Rundlöf, M., Seymour, C.L., Schüepp, C., Szentgyörgyi, H., Taki, H., Tscharntke, T., Vergara, C.H., Viana, B.F., Wanger, T.C., Westphal, C., Williams, N. & Klein, A.M. (2013). Wild pollinators enhance fruit set of crops regardless of honey bee abundance. Science, 339, 1608–1611.

Kennedy, C.M., Lonsdorf, E., Neel, M.C., Williams, N.M., Ricketts, T.H., Winfree, R., Bommarco, R., Brittain, C., Burley, A.L., Cariveau, D., Carvalheiro, L.G., Chacoff, N.P., Cunningham, S.A., Danforth, B.N., Dudenhöffer, J.-H., Elle, E., Gaines, H.R., Garibaldi, L.A., Gratton, C., Holzschuh, A., Isaacs, R., Javorek, S.K., Jha, S., Klein, A.M., Krewenka, K., Mandelik, Y., Mayfield, M.M., Morandin, L., Neame, L.A., Otieno, M., Park, M., Potts, S.G., Rundlöf, M., Saez, A., Steffan-Dewenter, I., Taki, H., Viana, B.F., Westphal, C., Wilson, J.K., Greenleaf, S.S. & Kremen, C. (2013). A global quantitative synthesis of local and landscape effects on wild bee pollinators in agroecosystems. Ecology Letters, 16, 584–599.

Oakleaf, J.R., Kennedy, C.M., Boucher, T. & Kiesecker, J. (2013). Tailoring global data to guide corporate investments in biodiversity, environmental assessments and sustainability. Sustainability, 5, 4444–4460.


Kennedy, C.M., Grant, E.H.C., Neel, M.C., Fagan, W.F. & Marra, P.P. (2011). Landscape matrix mediates occupancy dynamics of Neotropical avian insectivores. Ecological Applications, 21, 1837–1850.


Kennedy, C.M. & Marra, P.P. (2010). Matrix mediates avian movements in tropical forested landscapes: Inference from experimental translocations. Biological Conservation, 143, 2136–2145.

Kennedy, C.M., Marra, P.P., Fagan, W.F. & Neel, M.C. (2010). Landscape matrix and species traits mediate responses of Neotropical resident birds to forest fragmentation in Jamaica. Ecological Monographs, 80, 651–669.


Fagan, W.F., Aumann, C., Kennedy, C.M. & Unmack, P.J. (2005). Rarity, fragmentation, and the scale dependence of extinction risk in desert fishes. Ecology, 86, 34–41.

Fagan, W.F., Kennedy, C.M. & Unmack, P.J. (2005). Quantifying rarity, losses, and risks for native fishes of the Lower Colorado River Basin: implications for conservation listing. Conservation Biology, 19, 1872–1882.


Kennedy, C.M., Wilkinson, J. & Balch, J. (2003). Conservation thresholds for land use planners. Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C.

Wilkinson, J., & Kennedy, C.M. (2003). Planning with nature: biodiversity information in action. Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C.


Filbey, M., Kennedy, C.M., Wilkinson, J. & Balch, J. (2002). Halting the invasion: state tools for invasive species management. Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C.

Wilkinson, J., Kennedy, C.M., Mott, K., Filbey, M. & King, S. (2002). Banks and fees mitigation study reveals an industry transformed. National Wetlands Newsletter, 24, 5–6, 16.

Wilkinson, J., Kennedy, C.M., Mott, K., Filbey, M., King, S. & McElfish, J. (2002). Banks and fees: the status of off-site wetland mitigation in the United States. Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C.


Wilkinson, J., Kennedy, C.M., Mott, K. & McElfish, J. (2001). Status of the states: innovative state strategies for biodiversity conservation. Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C.