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Deborah Lawrence

Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
Ph.D., Duke University, 1998
B.A., Harvard University, 1989

Deborah Lawrence, a biogeochemist and tropical ecosystem ecologist, is associate professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on the ecological effects of deforestation. She has spent over 20 years conducting field work in Indonesia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Cameroon. She conducts interdisciplinary research with partners in economics, anthropology, geography and hydrology to understand the drivers and consequences of land use change. This work has gained her a Sustainability Science Award from the Ecological Society of America, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Jefferson Science Fellowship from the National Academy of Sciences, and a Fulbright Scholarship. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, earned her Ph.D. (botany) at Duke University, and received a B.A. (biological anthropology) from Harvard University.

In 2009, Lawrence was selected as a Jefferson Science Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences. Fellows serve for six years; the first year in residence at the U.S. Department of State, and the subsequent five years serving on an ad hoc basis while returning to regular university duties. In 2009-10, she served as the science advisor on forests and climate in the Office of Global Change. She participated in the international negotiations of the UNFCCC, supported the U.S. delegation to the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and Forest Investment Program, and was part of several inter-agency scoping missions on reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) in Indonesia and Southeast Asia. She also served as the point of contact for the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) with a focus on the Forest Carbon Task. She consulted with the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Forest Service and Department of the Treasury on issues regarding the Tropical Forest Conservation Act, mission program development for sustainable landscapes and congressional issues relating to tropical forests.

In 2010-11, Lawrence consulted for the U.S. Forest Service and the Climate Office of USAID on scientific and technical aspects of forest carbon measurement and monitoring under SilvaCarbon, the U.S. contribution to the GEO Forest Carbon Task. She is also a visiting scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

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