Wayne S. Walker Ph.D.

  • Carbon Program Director
  • 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. Dr. Walker leads Woodwell Climate’s Carbon Program. His work aims to identify where and how much carbon is held in forests, how that is changing due to land use and climate change, and where it would be most cost-effective to restore lost forests and the carbon they store. He uses remote sensing to measure and map forest characteristics at a global scale, and is actively involved in assessing the climate change mitigation potential of natural climate solutions, including through forest restoration and agroforestry systems.

Dr. Walker’s work has drawn attention to forest degradation and disturbance as under-recognized drivers of carbon loss, and highlighted both the success and vulnerability of Indigenous land stewardship and protected areas in limiting those impacts. He is committed to building institutional capacity 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 in support 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.