Our People

Nels Johnson

North America Energy Program Director

Bozeman, Montana

Nels C. Johnson North America Energy Program Director © Nels Johnson


Energy Development, Conservation Planning, Climate Change, Forest Management




Nels Johnson works with The Nature Conservancy’s teams across North America to integrate “smart-siting” into energy development, the continent’s leading cause of land-use change.

During his 25-year career, Nels has worked on forest management, carbon sequestration, protected areas design, energy planning, mitigation, climate adaptation, and incentives to sustain ecosystem services in Asia, Latin America and North America. He has published over two dozen articles, reports and books on these topics.

As Deputy State Director in Pennsylvania, Nels worked with chapter staff to build innovative programs to maintain ecological water flows, conserve private forests, restore public land habitats, and reduce impacts from shale and wind energy development.

He has volunteered for assignments with TNC programs in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and at the Worldwide Office. Johnson has served on several boards and advisory committees including the Shale Roundtable, the Pinchot Institute for Conservation, and the Western Electricity Coordinating Council.

Before joining TNC, Nels was a senior associate and program director at the World Resources Institute. He has a B.A. from Reed College and an M.S. in forest ecology from the Yale University. When time permits, Nels is likely to be making a mess in the kitchen, bailing out his kayak, or getting lost in the woods on his skis.

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