Washington, D.C.—Carnegie investigator Greg Asner has been elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). He is one of 60 new members. The honor is given “to individual AGU members who have made exceptional scientific contributions and attained acknowledged eminence in the fields of Earth and space sciences.”

Asner was hired as the Department of Global Ecology’s first addition in 2001. He has pioneered new methods for investigating tropical deforestation, degradation, ecosystem diversity, invasive species, carbon emissions, climate change, and much more using satellite and airborne instrumentation, coupled with on-ground fieldwork. His innovative techniques measure the chemistry, structure, biomass, and biodiversity of the Earth in unprecedented detail over massive areas not thought possible before. He has developed new technologies for conservation assessments, including tropical forest carbon emissions and stocks, hydrologic function and biodiversity. He leads the one-of-a-kind Carnegie Airborne Observatory-3,  CLASLite forest change mapping project, and the spectranomics biodiversity project.

The founding director of the department and cochair of Working Group 2 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Chris Field, remarked, “Greg’s research has had an enormous international impact on the science of global ecology and on enhancing conservation efforts, particularly in tropical forests worldwide. He is just the type of gifted researcher that Andrew Carnegie’s originally envisioned for this institution for the improvement of humankind.”

Asner received his bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder in environmental engineering, biogeography, and environmental biology, respectively. In 2006, his research was designated a Science Magazine Breakthrough of the Year.  In 2007, Popular Science magazine selected him as one of its Brilliant Ten young scientists. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2013.

In addition to his work at the interface of ecosystems, land use and climate change, Asner is heavily engaged in teaching others to use his technology for tropical forest management and conservation. His research has led to some 450 publications, with dozens more in the pipeline. 

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