Wayne S. Walker Ph.D.

  • Chief Scientific Officer
  • Senior Scientist
Wayne Walker

Dr. Wayne Walker is an ecologist and remote sensing specialist with a life-long curiosity about how forests work, and a deep desire to see carbon cycle science translated into climate solutions. His research aims to identify where and how much carbon is stored in forests and how carbon stocks are changing due to land use and climate change.

As Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Walker works with senior leadership to develop, promote, and implement the research-oriented components of Woodwell’s strategic plan and mission. He works across the organization to ensure that Woodwell’s scientific staff have the institutional support they need to realize the greatest possible impact through their research.

Dr. Walker uses satellite, aircraft, and field data to map and monitor forest characteristics at local to global scales. He has been a major contributor to seminal studies assessing the climate change mitigation potential of natural climate solutions, including through strategies designed to restore, better manage, and protect the planet’s forest ecosystems.

Dr. Walker’s work has drawn attention to forest degradation and disturbance as under-recognized drivers of carbon loss, and highlighted the success and vulnerability of Indigenous land stewardship and protected areas in limiting those impacts. He is committed to building institutional capacity among partners in the tools and techniques used to measure and monitor forests, working in collaboration with governments, NGOs, and Indigenous communities across the tropics. He is motivated to put forest carbon monitoring systems to work to increase participation and improve outcomes of carbon markets globally.

While Dr. Walker’s work draws heavily on remote sensing, he has worked in forests around the world and counts the Sierra Nevada among his favorite field sites. He loves hiking among big, old trees, and is a fan of gardening, kayaking, dachshunds, and Big Ten football.

We can’t measure every tree in every forest, yet anything less than that is going to result in uncertainty. We are working to reduce that uncertainty, so that we can provide decision makers with the best available data for implementing on-the-ground solutions.


Katama wetlands, Martha's Vineyard

Climate Smart MV

Supporting climate-smart land management and risk reduction strategies.
A forested swamp where the ground is mossy

Land as a natural climate solution

Estimating the global potential for increasing carbon storage on land.

Selected Publications

Large climate mitigation potential from adding trees to agricultural lands

Chapman, M., et al. (2020). Global Change Biology.


National mitigation potential from natural climate solutions in the tropics

Griscom B. W., et al. (2020). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.