MSU Forest Carbon and Climate Program appoints new director

The Department of Forestry at Michigan State University (MSU) has appointed Daniel Ortega-Pacheco as director of the MSU Forest Carbon and Climate Program (FCCP), effective Feb. 1, 2024.

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EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Department of Forestry at Michigan State University (MSU) has appointed Daniel Ortega-Pacheco as director of the MSU Forest Carbon and Climate Program (FCCP), effective Feb. 1, 2024.

Housed within the top-ranked Department of Forestry, the FCCP increases understanding and implementation of climate-smart forest management by linking climate change mitigation and adaptation. The program advances best practices, promotes interdisciplinary understanding of forest benefits and nurtures balanced perspectives that include working forests and forest products as a part of the climate change solution. The FCCP informs professionals, natural resource managers, decision-makers, students and the broader public about the value of forested lands and forest products in addressing climate change.

“As director, Dr. Ortega-Pacheco will bring his extensive experience in natural climate solutions to lead FCCP’s work with strategic partners to bring attention to key topics, engage in collaborative research and bridge dialogue gaps on carbon and climate topics,” said Dr. Richard Kobe, professor and chairperson for the Department of Forestry. “His expertise in nature-based climate solutions in a global context for governments and with the private sector will play an important role in strengthening the FCCP’s domestic contribution and expanding its international presence. We are delighted to have Dr. Ortega-Pacheco join MSU.”

Daniel Ortega-Pacheco, Ph.D., has more than 20 years of global experience across sustainable finance, carbon markets, diplomacy, scholarly, climate governance, and regulation. He spent seven years working within Ecuador’s government, where he served as Lead Climate Negotiator, Vice-Minister of Political Affairs and Minister of Environment, where he was responsible for the country’s net zero and biodiversity strategies. Ortega-Pacheco is the former Director of Ecuador – ESPOL Polytechnic University’s Center for Public Policy Development and held roles at ESPAE School of Management, EARTH University and BIOCARBON.

“I’m excited to contribute to MSU Forest Carbon Climate Program’s leading domestic and global role by bringing experience in sustainable finances and carbon markets, as well as my background in developing partnerships towards accelerating nature-based climate solutions,” said Ortega-Pacheco.

Most recently, Ortega-Pacheco has co-chaired the expert panel in the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (ICVCM), which provides science-based advice to the council’s governing board. He contributed to building the organization from its foundation, leading it to be recognized as the world’s standard-setter for high-integrity carbon credits, as well as collaborating with global experts to develop the recently released Core Carbon Principles and rulebook. Ortega-Pacheco will continue in this role for the ICVCM in addition to his MSU appointment as FCCP director.

Ortega-Pacheco has a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Management from The Ohio State University and is a graduate of the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics at MSU.

The talented FCCP program team has carried forward its work during a transition period under the supportive leadership and guidance of Sandra Lupien, who has served as half-time interim program director following the departure of FCCP founder and former director, Lauren Cooper. Lupien will resume full focus as Director, MassTimber@MSU, after supporting Ortega-Pacheco's onboarding transition in February. 

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