Jon Fisher

Jon Fisher is a senior conservation scientist for the Center for Sustainability Science at The Nature Conservancy (TNC). He is leading efforts to put rigorous science front and center in our sustainable agriculture work, and finding ways to improve sustainability through corporate practices and public policy. He seeks to identify key science gaps that are barriers to substantial sustainability improvements at scale, such as finding better ways to measure environmental outcomes in agriculture, determining how to scale up efforts to improve the sustainability of the beef supply chain, and optimizing the data we rely on to make decisions.

His broad expertise and 16 years of experience in agriculture, soils, forestry, ecology, ecosystem services, engineering, spatial data analysis, remote sensing, technology, and sustainability science are being applied at the Center for Sustainability Science to a variety of challenges and innovative research.

Jon regularly speaks at scientific conferences and for non-technical audiences; from business executives, to donors, to middle schoolers, to attendees at the DC March for Science. He has given a plenary talk about the importance of science in conservation and participated in plenary panel discussions at conferences with several hundred attendees, including The Natural Capital Project Summit and Nature Conservancy Science and Stewardship conference. In addition to regularly speaking about sustainable agriculture, Jon has presented on GIS and remote sensing, drones, green living, corporate sustainability, and overviews of exciting science work going on across TNC.  Jon has designed and presented several training workshops including how to publish spatial data as interactive web maps, and how to use mobile data collection tools for non-technical staff at airports to improve wildlife management. As a member of The Nature Conservancy’s Science Impact Project, Jon has been trained in speaking at varied levels of complexity for different audiences, including through storytelling and improvisation.

In his 13 years at TNC, Jon has worked on everything from the first organization-wide measures of our work, to studying how new knowledge spreads among colleagues, to using a drone to measure water quality in small streams. In addition to scientific publications, he regularly blogs about a wide range of topics, and gives talks to a variety of audiences.

Jon received a master’s degree in environmental engineering (with a stream ecology focus) and simultaneous B.S. degrees in Forestry and Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences (with concentrations in ecology and physics), all at the University of Illinois.

The Industrial Tomato
The Local Tomato
March for Science



Fisher, J., Kareiva, P. (2016). Ecosystem-service based metrics of sustainability as tools for promoting conservation and food security. In book: Agricultural Resilience: Perspectives from Ecology and Economics. Cambridge University Press.

Fisher, J. R., et al. (2014).  How Do We Know an Agricultural System is Sustainable? 

Remote Sensing

Ayana, E.K., Fisher, J.R.B., Hamel, P. & Boucher, T.M. (2017). Identification of ditches and furrows using remote sensing: application to sediment modelling in the Tana watershed, Kenya. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 38, 4611–4630.

Fisher, J.R.B., Acosta, E.A., Dennedy-Frank, P.J., Kroeger, T. & Boucher, T.M. (2017). Impact of satellite imagery spatial resolution on land use classification accuracy and modeled water quality. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation, doi:10.1002/rse2.61

Kroeger, K., et al. (2014).  Reforestation as a novel abatement and compliance measure for ground-level ozone. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi:10.1073/pnas.1409785111

Fisher, J.R.B. & Dills, B. (2012). Do private conservation activities match science-based conservation priorities? PLoS ONE, 7, e46429.

McDonald, R., et al. (2009). Urban Effects, Distance, and Protected Areas in an Urbanizing World. Landscape and Urban Planning. 93(1).

Herricks, E., et al. (2003). Application of GIS Technologies to Wildlife Management at DFW Airport. Bird Strike Committee Proceedings.

Sustainability Science

Ayana, E.K., Ceccato, P., Fisher, J.R.B. & DeFries, R. (2016). Examining the relationship between environmental factors and conflict in pastoralist areas of East Africa. Science of The Total Environment, 557–558, 601–611.

Reddy, S.M.W., Montambault, J., Masuda, Y.J., Gneezy, A., Keenan, E., Butler, W., Fisher, J.R.B. & Asah, S.T. (2016). Advancing conservation by understanding and influencing human behavior. Conservation Letters, doi: 10.1111/conl.12252

Jon's posts