Deborah Lawrence headshot
DL
Unit: College of Arts and Sciences
Department: Department of Environmental Sciences
Office location and address
291 McCormick Rd
Charlottesville, Virginia 22904
Education
Ph.D., Duke University, 1998
Biography

Deborah Lawrence, Ph.D., is a Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on the links between tropical deforestation and climate change. She has spent the past twenty-five years doing field-based research in Indonesia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Cameroon. Most recently, she has been using global climate models to explore the cumulative effect of tropical land use decisions, exploring the climate impact of land allocation among food crops, biofuels and forests across the globe. Professor Lawrence and her students conduct interdisciplinary research with partners in hydrology, atmospheric science, economics, anthropology, ethics, engineering, and law to understand the drivers and consequences of land use change. This work has gained her a Sustainability Science Award from the Ecological Society of America, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Jefferson Science Fellowship from the National Academy of Sciences, and a Fulbright Scholarship. She was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University, earned her Ph.D. (Botany) at Duke University, and received a B.A. (Biological Anthropology) from Harvard University. Current research addresses the challenge of understanding and minimizing climate impacts from forest use in the tropics and around the globe.

In 2009-2010, Professor Lawrence served as Science Advisor in the Office of Environment and Global Change and the Office of the Special Envoy for Climate Change at the US Department of State. Focusing on tropical forests and climate change, she participated in the international negotiations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), supported the US delegation to the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and Forest Investment Program, and was part of several inter-agency missions on reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+) in Indonesia and Southeast Asia. She also served as the point of contact for the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) with a focus on the Forest Carbon Task. She worked with State, US Agency for International Development, US Forest Service and Department of the Treasury on issues regarding the Tropical Forest Conservation Act, mission program development for the sustainable landscapes program, and congressional issues relating to tropical forests.

Since 2010, Professor Lawrence has been consulting with the International Programs Office of the US Forest Service and the Climate Change Office of USAID on scientific and technical aspects of forest carbon measurement and monitoring under SilvaCarbon, the US contribution to the Global Forest Observation Initiative under GEO. In 2011, she was a visiting scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Bogor, Indonesia where she worked on minimizing the climate impacts of oil palm expansion with partners at World Resources Institute, Sekala Indonesia, and the Climate and Land Use Alliance.


Biophysical Effects of Forests on Climate
Source: Climate and Land Use Alliance, LLC
December 01, 2018 – June 30, 2021
AS-ENVS Earth System Modeling to Investigate Climate Futures in East Africa
Source: Appalachian State University
January 01, 2018 – March 15, 2021
AS-ENVS Applying Comprehensive Earth System Forecasts for Climate Change to Inform Conservation Planning of the East African Great Lakes
Source: Appalachian State University
October 24, 2015 – December 31, 2017
AS-ENVS Learning from REDD+: An Enhanced GLobal Comparative Analysis
Source: The Center for International Forestry Research
August 01, 2013 – May 31, 2016
EVSC 1450: An Inconvenient Truce: Climate, You and CO2
Credits: 3
Carbon is the building block of life, the way we trap the energy of the sun to feed all biological systems, and the way we power human civilization. It is also the driver of global climate change. How does the climate system work? How has climate changed? How will it change in the coming decades? What are the likely impacts on humanity and the ecosystems on which we depend? What can we do about it? We explore climate change, top to bottom.
GSVS 1559: New course in Global Environments and Sustainability
Credits: 1–3
New course in Global Environments and Sustainability
EVSC 1559: New Course in Environmental Science
Credits: 1–4
This course provides the opportunity to offer a new topic in the subject area of environmental science.
ETP 2030: Politics, Science, & Values: Intro to Environmental Thought and Practice
Credits: 3
What is our relationship to the environment? Physical, chemical, or biological phenomena can be described by environmental scientists but "problems" are defined by our response to them, contingent on culture, history and values more than measurements. Solving environmental problems lies in the political sphere, but our debates draw on discourses from philosophy, economics and ethics. Explore the basis for environmental thought and practice.
EVSC 4040: Climate Change: Science, Markets & Policy
Credits: 3
We will explore what many consider the greatest environmental issue of our time. Co-taught by professors in the Department of Environmental Sciences and the School of Law, our objective is to help students develop an integrated view of anthropogenic climate change and possible responses to it. We will review the evidence and critiques of it, impacts of climate change, and potential for markets and institutions to address/mitigate impacts.
EVSC 4993: Independent Study
Credits: 1–6
Specialized topics in ecology, atmosphere, hydrology, environmental geology, or environmental systems not normally covered in formal classes under the direction of the faculty. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
EVSC 4995: Supervised Research
Credits: 1–6
Original research usually involving a field or laboratory problem in the environmental sciences under the direction of one or more faculty members. The results may form the basis of an undergraduate thesis which is required to partially fulfill the Distinguished Majors Program in environmental sciences. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
EVSC 7040: Climate Change: Science, Markets & Policy
Credits: 3
We will explore what many consider the greatest environmental issue of our time. Co-taught by professors in the Department of Environmental Sciences and the School of Law, our objective is to help students develop an integrated view of anthropogenic climate change and possible responses to it. We will review the evidence and critiques of it, impacts of climate change and potential for markets and institutions to address/mitigate impacts. Prerequisite: A graduate level or advanced undergraduate course in each of the following: Atmospheric Sciences, Ecology and Hydrology or permission of the instructor.
EVEC 7999: Independent Study: Ecology
Credits: 1–6
Individual or group study in developing or special areas of ecology and interrelated areas.
EVSC 8998: Non-Topical Research, Preparation for Research
Credits: 1–12
For master's research, taken under the supervision of a thesis director.
EVSC 8999: Non-Topical Research
Credits: 1–12
For master's thesis, taken under the supervision of a thesis director.
EVSC 9998: Non-Topical Research, Preparation for Doctoral Research
Credits: 1–12
For doctoral research, taken before a dissertation director has been selected.
EVSC 9999: Non-Topical Research
Credits: 1–12
For doctoral research, taken under the supervision of a dissertation director.