Speaker Bios

Plenary Sessions

11:00a - 12:00p on Monday, Tuesday, Friday & Saturday


IUFRO will hold plenary sessions on Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday from 11:00-12:00. Presentations by distinguished plenary speakers will address the Congress Title — Sustaining Forests, Sustaining People: The Role of Research — from different perspectives, bringing their expertise to IUFRO’s global audience. We are pleased to announce that the following internationally renowned experts will address the Congress.

  • Andy Buchanan – Monday, 6 October

    Modern Timber Buildings from Sustainable Forests

    Dr. Andy Buchanan is Professor of Timber Design at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. He is a structural engineer with a broad range of interests in timber engineering, sustainability, fire safety, and earthquake engineering. He has led the development of post-tensioned timber for multi-story buildings. Dr. Buchanan’s current research supports the construction of innovative timber buildings in Australia and New Zealand, including the rebuilding of Christchurch after recent devastating earthquakes. He has a B.E. (Honors) degree from the University of Canterbury, a Master’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia, Canada. Prior to joining the University of Canterbury in 1987, he was a consulting engineer in private practice, involved in structural design of a wide range of buildings. He has wide experience with conservation groups, the timber industry, and the building construction industry. He is Research Director of the Structural Timber Innovation Company, past President of the New Zealand Timber Design Society, and is a Distinguished Fellow of IPENZ, the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand. Dr. Buchanan received a 2013 New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) President’s Award in recognition of his significant contribution to architecture in the built environment in New Zealand.

  • David Newbery – Tuesday, 7 October

    On maintaining cycles and feedbacks in tropical forest ecosystems:
    some thoughts from basic research.

    Dr. David Newbery is Professor for Vegetation Ecology at the Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern, Switzerland, with special focus on tropical forest ecology. His other areas of expertise lie in data analysis and theoretical ecology. Dr. Newbery’s work focuses on basic research, though sometimes with view to application in forest management. Three features of his publications are: a long-term commitment through field work at key sites, the ecosystem-community level of enquiry, and the corresponding theory and statistical modeling involved. He was formerly editor of Journal of Tropical Ecology. In 1985 he initiated a research program at Danum Valley, Sabah, Malaysia, and continues research there today. This site now has a world-class tropical research station. Dr. Newbery has had a detailed program of forest research in Korup National Park in southwest Cameroon since 1984. This site is in one of Africa’s most significant refugia. The central aim overall has been to reach a deeper understanding of tree growth and survival, and forest dynamics, set in an ecosystem framework. These topics and experiences have strongly shaped his ongoing interests in the philosophy of science applied to problems of ecosystems dynamics.

Joint Plenary-IUFRO-FS-SAF-CIF

Thursday, 9 October


In addition to the traditional IUFRO plenary sessions, a joint plenary session, co-organized by IUFRO, the U.S. Forest Service, the Society of American Foresters, and the Canadian Institute of Forestry, will be held on Thursday 9 October. Keynotes followed by a distinguished panel will address the session theme of Knowledge Discovery, Synthesis, and Application at the Forest Science/Management Interface.

  • Jack Dangermond

    Keynote Speaker

    Mr. Jack Dangermond is the founder and president of Esri, the widely recognized leader in geographic information system (GIS) technology. More than one million users in over 300,000 organizations use Esri products worldwide. A pioneer in spatial analysis methods, Mr. Dangermond is one of the world’s most influential people in GIS. He and his wife Laura Dangermond actively manage Esri as co-owners.

    Originally a landscape designer, Mr. Dangermond has a passion for trees. For more than 40 years he and his team of forest experts have worked with foresters from around the world to create geospatial tools that improve forest management. Mr. Dangermond is a member of many professional organizations and has served on advisory committees for U.S. agencies including the NASA Science and Technology Advisory Committee, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Academy of Sciences. Today, Mr. Dangermond helps many types of organizations deploy spatial data in enterprise environments. He is forging ahead with GIS platforms on which people collaborate to design plans for maintaining a green and sustainable planet.

    Mr. Dangermond has a Master of Architecture degree from the Institute of Technology at the University of Minnesota and a Master of Science degree in landscape architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. In addition, he holds ten honorary doctorates. Having taken a leadership role in national and global initiatives to facilitate standards for data access and sharing across agencies, Mr. Dangermond has received numerous awards. Among these are the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Secretary’s Open Forum of the U.S. Department of State, and the Alexander Graham Bell Medal from the National Geographic Society. Mr. Dangermond continues to be active as the leader of GIS innovation.

  • David George Haskell

    Keynote Speaker

    David Haskell’s work integrates scientific and contemplative studies of the natural world. His book, The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature (http://theforestunseen.com; Viking Penguin, 2012), was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in non-fiction. The book was the winner of the 2013 Reed Environmental Writing Award, the 2012 National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature, and was runner-up for the 2013 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. A profile in The New York Times said of Haskell that he Òthinks like a biologist, writes like a poet, and gives the natural world the kind of open-minded attention one expects from a Zen monk rather than a hypothesis-driven scientist” (http://ow.ly/ojNZo).

    Haskell holds degrees from the University of Oxford and from Cornell University. He is Professor of Biology at the University of the South, where he served as Chair of Biology. He is a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies and was granted Elective Membership in the American Ornithologists’ Union in recognition of Òsignificant contributions to ornithology.” His scientific research on animal ecology, evolution and conservation has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the World Wildlife Fund, among others. He has also served on the boards and advisory committees of local and regional land conservation groups.

    Haskell’s classes have received national attention for the innovative ways they combine science, contemplation, and action in the community. In 2009, the Carnegie and CASE Foundations named him Professor of the Year for Tennessee. The Oxford American featured him in 2011 as one of the southern U.S.’s most creative teachers, and his teaching has been profiled in USA Today, The Tennesseean, and other newspapers.

    He lives in Sewanee, Tennessee, with his wife, Sarah Vance who runs Cudzoo Farm (www.cudzoofarm.com), a homestead farm that produces hand-made goat milk soaps.

Plenary Panel


  • Mila Alvarez


    Mila Alvarez is the Principal of Solutions for Nature, a consulting firm specialized in research and analysis in the fields of domestic and international natural resources policy, management and decision-making. Dr. Alvarez is also a Professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability, College of Natural Resources. Previously she has served as: Senior Associate and Program Manager for North America for the World Resources Institute (WRI), leading WRI’s Forest Program in the United States and Canada, supporting enhanced decision-making processes for the management and conservation of forests through the development of relevant science-based geographic information, tools, and world-wide partnerships; External Assessor for the World Bank Development Marketplace, assisting in the allocation of $4 million in grants among innovative projects around the globe; Director of Forest Policy at American Forests, promoting community-based initiatives to restore and maintain healthy forest ecosystems, and supporting the economic development of forest-dependent communities; US Delegation Participant in the United Nations Forum on Forests.

    Alvarez holds a Ph.D. in Forest Resources from the University of Maine and a Master-Bachelor degree in Forest Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain.

  • Sally Collins


    Ms. Sally Collins served as the first Director of the USDA Office of Environmental Markets (OEM) prior to retiring from USDA. OEM was established in 2008 Òto advance markets for ecosystem services provided by farms, forests, and ranches across the country.” She has spent more than 25 years in natural resource management, working at the Òfield level” as a forest manager for 20 years prior to coming to Washington DC. Her last field assignment was Forest Supervisor of the 1.6 million acre Deschutes National Forest. For eight years, she served as Associate Chief for the U.S. Forest Service, sharing responsibilities with the Chief for management of all of the 155 National Forests and Grasslands, providing support to tribal, state and private lands, and overseeing research and international programs. She currently owns a consulting firm dedicated to primarily two types of work: international forestry and ecosystem services valuation. She works as a Fellow with Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) to help the largest forested countries of the world establish secure tenure arrangements and laws for their forested estates. For seven years, she has served (and continues to serve) as Co-Chair of MegaFlorestais, an organization established to informally connect the top forest leaders in the world. Working with Duke University’s Nicholas Institute and Moore Foundation, she is helping to lead an initiative to incorporate the value of ecosystem services into federal planning and decision-making. She also serves as a trustee member on several boards: Forest Trends, American Forest Foundation, Pinchot Institute, and Clear Insight.

  • Mike Wingfield


    Dr. Michael (Mike) Wingfield, University of Minnesota (1983), Harvard Business School AMP175, has conducted research on tree pests and pathogens especially concerning their global movement for more than thirty years. Among his most important contributions to forestry has been his role as an advisor to more than 60 Ph.D. students, many of who now hold very senior positions globally. He was responsible for establishing the Tree Protection Co-operative Programme (TPCP) in 1990, which became the catalyst for the establishment in 1998 of the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI; www.fabinet.up.ac.za) of which he is the founding director. He has published widely on the topic of tree health in more than 700 research papers, seven books, and in numerous prestigious invited presentations globally. He has served in many prestigious positions, and based on his research, has received numerous awards and honors. He has been elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa, Academy of Sciences of South Africa, the Southern African Society for Plant Pathology, and the American Phytopathological Society. He has received honorary doctorates from the University of British Colombia, Canada (2012) and North Carolina State University (2013) and received the highest scientific award (Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Award) from the African Union in 2013. Dr. Wingfield has been has been recommended to the IUFRO International Council as the next IUFRO President.

Panel Moderator


  • Nalini Nadkarni


    Dr. Nalini Nadkarni has been both a pioneer in forest canopy studies and in communication of forest canopy research to scientists and the public. In 2011, she became the Director of the Center for Science and Mathematics Education, and a Professor of Biology at the University of Utah.

    Her forest ecology research focuses on the biota of forest canopies in rainforests of Costa Rica and in Washington State, supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Geographic Society. She has published over 100 scientific articles and three scholarly books, including “Between Earth and Sky: Our Intimate Connections to Trees”. Her recent awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2011 AAAS Award for Public Engagement, 2010 NSF Public Service Award, and 2012 Archie Carr Award for Conservation.

    Dr. Nadkarni is deeply committed to public engagement with science. In 1994, she founded the International Canopy Network, an NGO to foster communication among researchers, educators, and conservationists. Her work is featured in magazines such as Natural History, Glamour, and Playboy, and she has appeared in television documentaries, including Bill Nye the Science Guy, Good Morning, America, and National Geographic. She brings science to diverse public audiences, including church congregations, urban youth, artists, and incarcerated men and women.

  • Carol J.P. Colfer – Friday, 10 October

    The People and Forests Trajectory- 1994-2014 and Beyond

    Carol J. Pierce Colfer is a Senior Associate at the Center for International Forestry Research and a Visiting Scholar at Cornell University’s Southeast Asia Program in Ithaca, New York. She received her MA and PhD in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Washington (Seattle, Washington, 1974), and in 1979, received a second Masters in International Public Health from the University of Hawaii. Her professional life has been interdisciplinary and international in nature, including long stints of ethnographic fieldwork in the forests of Washington State (rural US) and Indonesia (Borneo, Sumatra). Beginning in 1994, with her employment at CIFOR, she began to focus on comparative research, looking at criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management, decentralization and devolution, human health, rights and resources, and landscapes. From 1998-2002, she co-developed and led the adaptive collaborative management program spanning 30 sites in 11 countries, with some 90 collaborators (described in The Complex Forest and The Equitable Forest, 2005). Her most recent book is Collaborative Governance of Tropical Landscapes (edited with Jean-Laurent Pfund, 2011). Her current work focuses on the governance and equity aspects of landscape management in southern Sulawesi, Indonesia. At Cornell she has contributed to a doctoral program on poverty alleviation and food security in East Africa; an evolving Cornell-Makerere University program (GREAT) to provide faculty with training on gender; and various doctoral committees.

  • Cecil Konijnendijk – Saturday, 11 October

    City Forests, Forest Cities – exploring the complex liaison between the sylvan and the urban

    Dr. Konijnendijk, a Dutch national based in Sweden, holds the post of Head of the department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. He is also part-time professor of green space management at the University of Copenhagen. Dr. Konijnendijk has a M.Sc. in forest policy from the University of Wageningen, Netherlands, and a D.Sc. (in forest policy and economics) from the University of Joensuu, Finland. His past affiliations include Wageningen University, the European Forest Institute, and his own consulting firm. During his career, Dr. Konijnendijk has studied and promoted the role of forests, trees, and other green spaces in urban societies. He has a special interest in the concepts of urban forestry and urban greening, green space and forest governance, urban ecosystem services, as well as communication and public involvement issues. Dr. Konijnendijk is the (founding) editor-in-chief of the scientific journal Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, published by Elsevier since 2002. His over 250 scientific and professional publications have included the co-edited textbook Urban Forests and Trees and the book The Forest and the City: The cultural landscape of urban woodland. Dr. Konijnendijk has been involved in networking and project activities across the globe.