Gregory P. Asner

Carnegie Institution for Science

Election Year: 2013
Primary Section: 64, Human Environmental Sciences
Secondary Section: 63, Environmental Sciences and Ecology
Membership Type: Member


Greg Asner is a staff scientist in the Department of Global Ecology of the Carnegie Institution for Science. He also serves as a Professor in the Department of Earth System Science at Stanford University. He is a terrestrial ecologist recognized for his work on land use and climate change at regional to global scales. Asner graduated with a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1991, followed by service as an officer in the United States Navy. He earned masters and doctorate degrees in geography and biology, respectively, from the University of Colorado in 1997. He then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University until he returned to Colorado as a professor in the geological sciences department. In 2001, he took a position as a staff scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science in California. Asner has served in numerous national and international posts including the NASA Senior Review Committee, U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Steering Group, U.N. Diversitas Program, NASA-Brazil LBA Steering Committee, and as a Senior Fellow for the U.S. State Department. Asner is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career award under the Clinton Administration, NASA Career and Group Achievement awards, an Outstanding Contributions Award from the Association of American Geographers. In 2015 and 2016, he was elected as a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and Ecological Society of America, respectively.

Research Interests

Combining extensive field research, computer modeling, and airborne and satellite remote sensing, Greg Asner studies the interactions between land use, climate, and ecosystem functioning. Asner's research has uncovered ecological degradation and biodiversity change in remote forest, savanna and desert regions of the world. He has worked with numerous governments to rapidly assess changing environmental conditions, such as forest carbon stocks and emissions, invasive species, and animal habitats. Asner also maintains a career-long research program on the chemical evolution of plants and its relationship to Earth spectroscopy measured with airborne and orbital remote sensing instrumentation. His work includes technology development for large-scale conservation and climate change assessments, and scientific capacity building of government, non-government and academic institutions worldwide.

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