David Skole

David Skole

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Professor, Global Ecology, Climate Change, Earth Observations
Department of Forestry



PhD in Natural Resources, University of New Hampshire, 1992
MS in Environmental Science, Indiana University, 1980
AB in Biological Sciences, Indiana University, 1977

Laboratory: Global Observatory for Ecosystem Services

Research Interests

My research focuses on the relationship between forests, land use change, the global carbon cycle and climate change. We use geographical information for sustainable development and natural resource management. My work uses remote sensing and numerical carbon accounting models, and my team has been spearheading the integration of satellite remote sensing into carbon accounting models and on global environmental monitoring, particularly of tropical forests, and forest ecosystem services. In recent years we have been leading the development of measurement, reporting and verification methods for forest carbon projects, and have developed and published several protocols for A/R and REDD projects. Our research bridges both the science and policy aspects of climate change and the global carbon cycle, with work centered on carbon finance and markets, with an emphasis on small holder agro-forestry systems in developing countries.

I do my work out of the Global Observatory for Ecosystem Services lab, which hosts its main programs, the Carbon2Markets Project. We focus on measuring ecosystem services using earth observations, ground measurements, and models. Our primary focus is on forests and agro-forestry with a special attention to carbon management and carbon markets.

Under the Carbon2Markets Project, we focus on combining value chains from carbon in the carbon financial markets and agro-forestry products for small holders in developing countries. Carbon2Markets provides accurate measurements of carbon sequestration from reforestation and agro-forestry land management activities using high resolution remote sensing data, web-GIS tools, and modeling.

Selected Publications

Skole, D.L., Mbow, C., Mugabowindekwe, M., Brandt, M.S., Samek, J.H. 2021.The importance of trees outside of forests as natural climate solutions. Nature Climate Change, 11(12): 1013–1016.

Skole, D.L., Samek, J.H., Dieng, M., Mbow, C. 2021. The contribution of trees outside of forests to landscape carbon and climate change mitigation in West Africa, Forests, 12(12), 1652; doi.org/10.3390/f12121652

Skole, D.L*., Samek, J.H., Mbow, C., Chirwa, M., Ndalowa, D., Tumeo, T., Kachamba, D., Kamoto, J., Chioza, A. and Kamangadazi, F., 2021. Direct Measurement of Forest Degradation Rates in Malawi: Toward a National Forest Monitoring System to Support REDD+. Forests, 12(4), p.426.

Matricardi, E., D. L. Skole*, O. B. Costa, M.A. Pedlowski, J. H. Samek, E.P. Miguel. 2020. Long term forest degradation surpasses deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. Science 369(6509): 1378-1382.

Mbow, C., E. Toensmeier, M. Brandt, D. Skole, M. Dieng, D. Garrity, and B. Poulter. 2020 Agroforestry as a solution for multiple climate change challenges in Africa. In, Deryng, D. (ed.), Climate Change and Agriculture, Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing, Cambridge, UK, 404 pp.

Mbow, Cheikh, Pete Smith, David Skole, Lalisa Duguma, and Mercedes Bustamante. "Achieving mitigation and adaptation to climate change through sustainable agroforestry practices in Africa." Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 6 (2014): 8-14.

Skole, D.L., J.H. Samek, M. J. Smalligan and W.H. Chomentowski.  2012. Forests, carbon and the global environment: new directions in research. In,  Land use and the Carbon Cycle:  Science and Applications in Human Environment Interactions, Brown, D.G.,  H.F. French, B.C. Reed, D. T. Robinson (eds.), Cambridge University Press, in press.

Matricardi E.A.T., D. L. Skole, M. A. Pedlowski, and W. Chomentowski. 2012. Assessment of forest disturbances by selective logging and forest fires in the Brazilian Amazon using Landsat data, International Journal of Remote Sensing, in press.

Skole, D.L., J.H. Samek, and M.J. Smalligan. 2011. Implications of allometry, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(4):E12-E12.

Matricardi, E.A.T., D. L. Skole, M.A. Pedlowski, W.H. Chomentowski, and L.C. Fernades, 2010. Assessment of tropical forest degradation by selective logging and fires using Landsat imagery, Remote Sensing of Environment, 114:1117-1129.

Skole, D.L. and B. M. Simpson. 2010. Climate change, land use, agriculture, and the emerging bioeconomy, In, Linkages of Sustainability, T. E. Graedel and Ester van der Voet (eds). 2010., MIT Press, Cambridge. ISBN: 0-262-01358-4

Matricardi, E. D.L. Skole, M.A. Cochrane, and W. H. Chometowski, 2007, Multi-temporal assessment of selective logging in the Brazilian Amazon using Landsat data, International Journal of Remote Sensing, 28(1)63-82

Matricardi, E., D.L. Skole, M.A. Cochrane, J. Qi, and W. Chomentowski. 2005. Monitoring Selective Logging in Tropical Evergreen Forests Using Landsat: Multi-Temporal Regional Analyzes in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Earth Interactions Journal. 9(24), 1-24.

Skole, D.L., M.A. Cochrane, E. Matricardi, W.H. Chomentowski, M. Pedlowski, D. Kimble. 2004. Pattern to process in the Amazon region: measuring forest conversion, regeneration, and degradation, In, Gutman et al. (eds.), Land Change Science: Observing, Monitoring and Understanding Trajectories of Change on the Earth’s Surface, Observing, Monitoring and Understanding Trajectories of Change on the Earth's Surface, 77-95, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 461pp

DeFries RS, Houghton RA, Hansen MC, Field CB, Skole D, Townshend J. 2002. Carbon emissions from tropical deforestation and regrowth based on satellite observations for the 1980s and 1990s,  Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America 99 (22): 14256-14261

Houghton, R.A., D.L. Skole, C.A. Nobre, J.L. Hackler, K.T. Lawrence and W.H. Chomentowski. 2000.  Annual fluxes of carbon from deforestation and regrowth in the Brazilian Amazon, Nature, 403(6767): 301-303.

Skole, D.L., C.O. Justice, J.R.G. Townshend, and A.C. Janetos. 1997. A land cover change monitoring program: strategy for an international effort. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for  Global Change 2: 157-175.

Skole, D.L., W.H. Chomentowski, W.A. Salas, and A.D. Nobre, 1994. Physical and human dimensions of tropical deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, Bioscience 44(5): 314 - 322

Skole, D.L. and C.J. Tucker, 1993. Tropical deforestation and habitat fragmentation in the Amazon - satellite data from 1978 to 1988. Science 260:1905-1910.