Our People

Christina M. Kennedy

Senior Scientist, Global Protect, Oceans, Lands and Waters

Fort Collins, Colorado

Headshot of Christina Kennedy.

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


Conservation biology, Landscape ecology, Ornithology, Working lands conservation, Land use policy


Global Media Relations
ph. +1 7038415319


Christina Kennedy is a Senior Scientist on The Nature Conservancy’s Global Protect Oceans, Lands and Waters Science Team. She leads science initiatives aimed at reconciling human land use with nature conservation. She works to integrate the best science and tools on spatial planning, landscape ecology, agroecology, and impact mitigation to promote sustainable landscapes.

Christina’s research examines the effects of land use, landscape pattern, and habitat fragmentation on species, ecosystems, and the services they provide. Her projects span local to global scales and integrate field studies, spatial modeling, and data synthesis to improve land use practice and policy. Examples of her work include forecasting cumulative development threats on landscapes globally; modeling land use trade-offs to balance agricultural production, nature conservation, and environmental compliance in Brazil; advancing landscape planning to improve impact mitigation for both nature and people; linking field surveys with spatial analysis to understand habitat fragmentation effects on tropical systems; and synthesizing global datasets to elucidate how farming systems and landscape context impact farmland biodiversity and their services. Christina has published over 70 articles, book chapters or policy reports; and examples of her work have been published in Ecology Letters, Ecological Monographs, Ecology, Global Change Biology, Biological Conservation, and Science Advances.

Prior to joining TNC, Christina was a lead Postdoctoral Associate on a National Science Foundation project that involved over 25 scientists across 15 countries and modeled the effects of farming practices and landscape diversification on global (bee) pollinators. She was also a Researcher at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, where she spearheaded field work in Jamaica on the effects of forest fragmentation and landscape matrix on Neotropical birds. Previously at the Environmental Law Institute in D.C., she conducted research and outreach on 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; she serves as an Associate Editor for Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems.

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Cool Green Science: Conservation-friendly farming can benefit both birds and crops

British Ecological Society: Bird-friendly agriculture: finding the right balance to benefit birds and farmers

Popular Science:  These birds are most likely to contaminate our fruits and veggies

PhysOrg: Researchers pinpoint which bird species pose food safety risk to crops

World Economic Forum: This is how much of the Earth’s surface humans have modified

Cool Green Science: Energy Matters: The Importance of Mitigating the Land Impacts of Energy and Extraction

Cool Green Science: Linking Birds, Farmer Attitudes and Conservation

Cool Green Science: Inspiring Women of Geospatial Science at TNC

Wild Farm Alliance: Farmer Success Stories

Geospatial World: 84% of Earth’s land surface impacted by humans: Geospatial Conservation Annual Report

Cool Green Science: Earth transformed: Mapping of global human modification from 1990 to 2017

Popular Science: Half of the Earth is still free from human impact, but it’s not all good news

National Geographic Society: This map shows where on Earth humans aren’t

New Scientist: Only a fifth of ice-free land on Earth has very little human influence

Cool Green Science: What is the best type of farm for birding?

The Nature Conservancy Newsroom: Last Chance Ecosystems: A new tool to identify globally important places for land protection

The Nature Conservancy Global Insights: Human Nature−Visualized: How do we balance development and conservation on finite planet?

Cool Green Science: New research shows healthy agriculture means healthier birds

WSU Insider: Organic farm advantages in biodiversity and profits depend on location

European Commission Science for Environment Policy: The path to a sustainable future will be charted somewhere between wild and urban

Cool Green Science: Nature improves crop production

Mongabay: Biodiversity boost crop pollinators and pest controllers, study finds

Inverse: Without a crucial ingredient, more bees won’t help the world’s farms

PhysOrg: Biodiversity improves crop production

Google Earth’s Medium: Measuring our collective imprint on Earth

The Irish News: Just 5 percent of the world’s land untouched by human activity

Al Jazeera: More than half of Earth’s land critically endangered: Report

London Evening Standard: Just five percent of the world’s land mass is untouched by humans, according to new study

Axios Science: 1 big thing: Just 5% of Earth’s landscape is untouched

The Nature Conservancy, Energy Sprawl Solutions, A Global Solutions Special Feature: Biofuels of Brazil: Sustaining production expansion and environmental quality    

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

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 the benefits, risks of wild birds on organic farms

The Fiji Times: '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)

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

Visit Christina’s Google Scholar Profile for a full list of publications.

*Indicates that co-lead authors contributed equally


Smith, O.M., C.M. Kennedy, A. Echeverri, D.S. Karp, C.E Latimer, J.M. Taylor, J.P. Owen, W.E. Snyder. 2022. Complex landscapes stabilize farm bird communities and their expected ecosystem services. Journal of Applied Ecology 00:1-15.

Taylor, J., O.M. Smith, M. Edworthy, C.M. Kennedy, C.E Latimer, J.P. Owen, E.E. Wilson-Rankin, W.E. Snyder. 2022. Bird predation and landscape context shape arthropod communities on broccoli. Ornithological Applications duac005.

Smith, O.M., E. Olimpi, N. Navarro-Gonzalez, K. Cornell, L. Frishkoff, T. Northfield, T. Bowles, M. Edworthy, J. Eilers, Z. Fu, K. Garcia, D. Gonthier, M. Jones, C.M. Kennedy, C.E. Latimer, J.P. Owen, C. Sato, J.M. Taylor, E.E. Wilson-Rankin, W.E. Snyder, D.S. Karp. 2022. A trait-based framework for predicting foodborne pathogen risk from wild birds. Journal of Applied Ecology 23:e2523.


Johnson*, J.A., C.M. Kennedy*, J.R. Oakleaf, S. Baruch-Mordo, S. Polasky, J. Kiesecker. 2021. Energy matters: Mitigating the impacts of future land expansion will require managing energy and extractive footprints. Ecological Economics 187, 107106.

Tallis, H., J. Fargione, E. Game, R. McDonald, L. Baumgarten, N. Bhagabati, R. Cortez, B. Griscom, J. Higgins, C.M. Kennedy, J. Kiesecker, T. Kroeger, T. Leberer, J. McGowan, L. Mandle, Y.J. Masuda, S.A. Morrison, S. Palmer, R. Shirer, P. Shyamsundar, N.H. Wolff, and H.P. Possingham. 2021. Prioritizing actions: Spatial action maps for conservation. Annals N.Y. Academy of Sciences.

Smith, O.M., J.M. Taylor, A. Echeverri, T. Northfield, K.C. Cornell, M.S. Jones, C.E. Latimer, J.P. Owen, W.E. Snyder, C.M. Kennedy. 2021. Big wheel keep on turnin’: Linking grower attitudes, farm management, and delivery of avian ecosystem services. Biological Conservation 254,108970. 


Theobald, D.M., C.M. Kennedy, B. Chen, J.R. Oakleaf, S. Baruch-Mordo, J. Kiesecker. 2020. Earth transformed: Detailed mapping of global human modification from 1990 to 2017. Earth Systems Science Data 12, 1953-1972.

McKenney, B., J. Wilkinson, J. Kiesecker, C.M. Kennedy, J.R. Oakleaf. 2020. Ch. 5.3 Biodiversity Offsets in Financing Nature: Closing the global biodiversity financing gap. Deutz, A., G.M. Heal, R. Niu, E. Swanson, T. Townshend, L. Zhu, A. Delmar, A. Meghji, S. A. Sethi, and J. Tobin-de la Puente. The Paulson Institute, The Nature Conservancy, and the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability.

Smith, O.M., A. Edworthy, J.M. Taylor, M.S. Jones, A. Tormanen, C.M. Kennedy, Z. Fu, C.E. Latimer, K.C. Cornell, L.A. Michelotti, C. Sato, T. Northfield, W.E. Snyder, J.P. Owen. 2020. Agricultural intensification heightens food safety risks posed by wild birds. Journal of Applied Ecology 57, 2246-2257.

Riggio, J., J.E.M. Baillie, S. Brumby, E. Ellis, T. Evans, C.M. Kennedy, J.R. Oakleaf, A. Tait, T. Tepe, D.M. Theobald, O. Venter, J.E.M. Watson, and A.P. Jacobson. 2020. Global human influence maps reveal clear opportunities in conserving Earth’s remaining intact terrestrial ecosystems. Global Change Biology 26, 4344-4356. 

C.E. Latimer, O.M. Smith, J. Taylor, A. Edworthy, J. Owen, W. Snyder and C.M. Kennedy. 2020. Landscape context mediates the physiological stress response of birds to farmland diversification. Journal of Applied Ecology, 57(4), 671-680.

Smith, O.M., A.L. Cohen, M.S. Jones, R.J. Orpet, J.M. Taylor, J.H. Thurman, K.A. Cornell, R.L. Olsson, Yang Ge, J.P. Reganold, C.M. Kennedy, and D.W. Crowder. 2020. Landscape context affects the sustainability of organic farming systems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117(6):2870-2878.

Smith, O.M., C.M. Kennedy, J.P. Owen, T.D. Northfield, C.E. Latimer, and W.E. Snyder. 2019. Highly diversified crop-livestock farming systems reshape wild bird communities. Journal of Ecological Applications, 30(2), e02031.

Kiesecker, J., S. Baruch-Mordo, M. Heiner, D. Negandhi, J. Oakleaf, C.M. Kennedy, and P. Chauhan. 2020. Renewable energy and land use in India: A vision to facilitate sustainable development. Sustainability, 12(1), 281.

Kennedy, C.M., J. Oakleaf, S. Baruch-Mordo, D. M. Theobald, and J. Kiesecker. 2020. Finding middle ground: Extending conservation beyond wilderness areas. Global Change Biology, 26(2), 333-336.


Oakleaf, J. C.M. Kennedy, S. Baruch-Mordo, J.S. Gerber, P.C. West, J.A. Johnson, and J. Kiesecker. 2019. Mapping global development potential for renewable energy, fossil fuels, mining and agricultural sectors. Scientific Data, 6(1), 101.

Kiesecker, J., S. Baruch-Mordo, C.M. Kennedy, J.R. Oakleaf, A. Baccini, B. Griscom. 2019. Hitting the target but missing the mark: Unintended environmental consequences of the Paris Climate Agreement. Frontiers in Environmental Science, 7, 151.

Baruch-Mordo, S. J. Kiesecker, C.M. Kennedy, J.R. Oakleaf, and J.J. Opperman. 2019. From Paris to Practice: Sustainable implementation of renewable energy goals. Environmental Research Letters, 14(2), 024013.

Shackelford, G.E., T.R. Kelsey, W.J. Sutherland, C.M. Kennedy, S.A. Wood, S. Gennet, D.S. Karp, C. Kremen, N. Seavy, J. Jedlicka, K. Gravuer, S.M. Kross, D.A. Bossio, A. Muñoz-Sáez, D.E. Griffin, K. Garbach, L.D. Ford, M. Felice, M.D. Reynolds, D.R. Rao, K. Boomer, P. Alvarez, G. LeBuhn, L.V. Dicks. 2019. Evidence synthesis as the basis for decision analysis: A method for selecting the best agricultural practices for multiple ecosystem services. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 3, 83.

Griscom, B.W., G. Lomax, T. Kroeger, J.E. Fargione, J. Adams, L. Almond, D. Bossio, S.C. Cook-Patton, P.W. Ellis, C.M. Kennedy, J. Kiesecker. 2019. We need both natural and energy solutions to stabilize our climate. Global Change Biology, 25,1889-1890.

Kennedy, C.M.*, J. Oakleaf*, D. M. Theobald, S. Baruch-Mordo, J. Kiesecker. 2019. Managing the middle: A shift in conservation priorities based on the global human modification gradient. Global Change Biology, 12, 811-826.

*Recommended as the ‘top’ 20 influential papers of 2019 as assessed by experts in F1000 Prime Faculty.

Chen, B., C.M. Kennedy, B. Xu. 2019. Effective moratoria on land acquisitions to reduce tropical deforestation: Evidence from Indonesia. Environmental Research Letters, 14(4), 044009.


Kennedy, C.M. 2018. Conserving Species in a Fragmented World: The Arising Researcher. The Paper Trail. Ecological Society of America Bulletin, 99(2), 166-167.

Ali, M., C.M. Kennedy, J. Kiesecker, Y. Geng. 2018. Integrating biodiversity offsets within Circular Economy policy in China. Journal of Cleaner Production, 185, 32-43.


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, 23, 4946-4957.

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 and 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 lower Colorado River Basin fishes: 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. & McElfish, J. 2002. Banks & Fees: The Status of Off-site Wetland Mitigation in the U.S.. 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.