Dr. Healy Hamilton, Ph.D. portrait

Dr. Healy Hamilton, Ph.D., will join SFI as Chief Scientist on April 4, 2023.

WASHINGTON and OTTAWA — The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Healy Hamilton to the role of SFI Chief Scientist, starting April 4, 2023.

As Chief Scientist for SFI, Dr. Hamilton will provide strategic direction and increased rigor to SFI’s conservation science program, working in collaboration with SFI’s leadership and vast network of forest sector organizations, conservation groups, academics, researchers, Indigenous Peoples, educators, and governments agencies. She will accelerate the scale of SFI’s conservation impact, further elevating awareness of the role of sustainable forest management in species recovery, climate smart forestry, and conservation outcomes. Dr. Hamilton will report directly to the CEO and work in partnership with SFI’s chief conservation officer and senior leadership team to advance nature-based solutions through SFI’s standards, conservation, community, and education pillars of work.

“Sustainable forest management is at the nexus of so many of the critical issues we face as human societies that must strive to live within Earth’s planetary boundaries,” said Dr. Hamilton. “Balancing societal needs for forest products with the critically urgent need to conserve species, ecosystems, and their ecological functions is an enormous challenge. I am eager to work with the dedicated team at SFI and its expansive network of partners to advance the science of sustainable forestry.”

“We’re very excited to have Healy join our team,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI. “She is an accomplished scientist who is very well respected in the conservation field and by our partners and her global expertise will be invaluable as we continue to grow and collaborate with our vast network towards nature-positive solutions and sustainable outcomes.”

Dr. Hamilton currently serves as Chief Scientist for NatureServe where, as a member of its executive team, she is involved in all aspects of organizational leadership and leads the development, funding, and execution of an applied science portfolio on the classification, distribution, status, and trends of at-risk species and ecosystems. Dr. Hamilton’s leadership role in the conservation science community includes her service as an elected member of the Executive Committee for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) U.S. National Committee, as an Honorary Fellow of the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, her service on the Key Biodiversity Areas Committee, and her service on several advisory boards for conservation programs in academia.

Dr. Hamilton has an impressive track record of leading high-profile and impactful research projects, including the recent development of the most comprehensive and detailed map of species extinction risk, in collaboration with the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) and The Nature Conservancy. Dr. Hamilton has also led several research projects funded by SFI’s Conservation Grants program, including efforts to develop and apply methods for quantifying and communicating multiple biodiversity values across SFI-certified lands.

Dr. Hamilton has an impeccable academic research record, receiving over $13.5 million of funding for more than 50 projects and publishing over 40 academic papers and reports appearing as first or second author on roughly half of these publications.

Prior to her work with NatureServe, Dr. Hamilton spent 10 years at the California Academy of Sciences, a respected natural history museum and the oldest U.S. scientific institution west of the Mississippi. At the Cal Academy, she founded and grew an applied biodiversity science program while training a cadre of young conservation scientists, mostly from Latin America. She is committed to public understanding of science, and has been an invited keynote speaker at dozens of venues in both the U.S. and abroad. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Wired, and National Geographic, among others. She is past President of the Society for Conservation GIS, a Switzer Foundation Environmental Leadership grantee and a former U.S. Fulbright Scholar.

Dr. Hamilton holds a doctorate from the Department of Integrative Biology and Museum of Paleontology from the University of California at Berkeley, and an M.A. in Environmental Studies from Yale University’s School of the Environment.


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The Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) advances sustainability through forest-focused collaborations. We are an independent, nonprofit organization that leverages four interconnected pillars of work: standards, conservation, community, and education. SFI works with the forest sector, conservation groups, academics, researchers, brand owners, resource professionals, landowners, educators, local communities, Indigenous Peoples, and governments. Collaborating with our network, we leverage SFI-certified forests and products as powerful tools to help solve sustainability challenges such as climate action, conservation of biodiversity, education of future generations, and sustainable economic development.

Christine Leduc
VP, Communications and Government Relations
Sustainable Forestry Initiative