Position: Forest Carbon Specialist - Intact Forests
Reports to: Lead, Forest Conservation and REDD+
Location: Remote. Flexible, responding to applicant’s preference where feasible. It may be possible to be situated in, or have occasional use of, an existing WCS office, depending on applicant’s location and practical factors. The person to whom this position reports currently works from office space in Oxford.
Country Program/Sector: Forests and Climate Change
Position Type: Full-time, open-ended
Internal liaison: Senior Policy Officer, Forests and Climate Change; team leads across Forests and Climate Change and other thematic groups, especially Spatial Planning and Adaptation team and Market-facing REDD+ team; fund-raising staff across Global Resources and Public Sector Funding teams; selected staff in the regional field programs.
Expected travel: Periodic international travel to scientific meetings, conferences, visits to field programs. Estimated long-term average, post-COVID restrictions, is roughly 10-15% of time.
The Wildlife Conservation Society (“WCS”) is a New York not-for-profit corporation founded by statute in 1895 as the New York Zoological Society. WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through research, science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. That mission is achieved through our global conservation programs (WCS currently oversees a portfolio of more than 500 conservation projects in 65 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and North America, and the oceans between them) and through the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks–the Bronx Zoo; the New York Aquarium; and the Central Park, Queens, and Prospect Park Zoos (the City Zoos)
WCS has worked widely on the direct conservation of intact forests through many of its programs and activities almost since its inception. In recent years a growing recognition of the scale of the climate benefits from such areas, coupled with an understanding of how under-valued these benefits are in practice, has led us to concentrate more of these activities in a dedicated Intact Forests initiative. This initiative began in 2017, has until recently been housed in the cross-cutting global Conservation Solutions team, and going forwards will form one of the core activities of the Forest and Climate Change global thematic program. This new program was recently formed as part of WCS's ambitious process of regionalization.
The Intact Forests initiative seeks to bring about evidence-based policy change that will support and improve on-the-ground outcomes for the world's largest and most ecologically intact forests across tropical, subtropical, temperate and boreal regions. The initiative is growing, has an increasingly prominent role in WCS’s overall institutional strategy and plays a role in more and more of WCS’s 55 focal forest landscapes globally.
The Intact Forest team has led on a number of key scientific papers and advocated extensively for change in policy and finance frameworks, most notably those associated with the UNFCCC, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the New York Declaration on Forests and the IUCN. In 2019 we brought together the Forests for Life partnership which has led to an active program of joint activities.
To support the growth of this initiative, WCS seeks to hire a Forest Carbon Specialist who can conduct innovative and technically strong analytical work at the intersections between forest ecology, forest policy and forest conservation practice. Responding to needs from the policy and field teams, as well as opportunities that they themselves identify, the Forest Carbon Specialist - Intact Forests will make existing evidence on the climate values of intact forests available throughout the organization and work to expand that evidence base through new science and collaborations.
The specialist will support the leader of the intact forest team in driving the three components of the Intact Forests initiative, namely building the science case, influencing global policy, and accelerating implementation of solutions in the field. The latter is linked primarily to our global portfolio of forest landscapes, and to national policy advocacy in the countries where they are found.
The two broad areas of science that the specialist needs to contribute to are:
1. Innovative global-scale analyses that guide program/portfolio design, inform/support global policy advocacy positions and/or advance scientific understanding of the underlying processes.
2. Descriptive, geographically-focused analyses, enabling our landscape teams to assess and communicate the carbon values of their sites and of proposed interventions, or supporting national level advocacy efforts relating to, for example, NDCs or national REDD+ strategies.
As such, the key responsibilities of the post are as follows:
Work with the Deputy Director, the Senior Policy officer, and other stakeholders identified by them, to develop and regularly update a plan for a set of technical analyses and products that will advance the overall goals of the initiative
Lead technical analyses relating to forest carbon stocks and fluxes, and the anthropogenic and natural processes that influence them
Write, or assist in writing, outputs from these analyses, which may include internal and donor-facing documents, grey literature studies, communications in the media (e.g. blog articles) and peer-reviewed publications
The specialist will also devote a part of their time to responding to urgent data requests from other teams within WCS, often in collaboration with other specialists across the organization.
Some of the key themes of the expected analyses include natural variation in biomass and soil carbon stocks and the influence of a range of human pressures including deforestation, fire, fragmentation, extractive use, defaunation etc, including a focus on the ability of new integrity indices to inform understanding of many of these processes.
Excellent mathematical skills and written English.
Higher degree (Masters/PhD) in relevant scientific field.
Track record of peer-reviewed publications and established network of scientific contacts.
At least five years of post-graduate professional experience.
Demonstrable in-depth expertise (peer reviewed publications or equivalent) in at least one of either forest ecology or forest policy.
Inquiring, curious mind with a desire to understand and communicate underlying ecological principles and processes.
Excellent organizational skills, ability to maintain motivation and productivity whilst working remotely.
Ability to collaborate with other scientists on joint analyses/publications.
Ability to work across multiple teams within WCS, interacting with non-specialist staff and in cross-cultural contexts.
Ability to manage time-bound inputs from consultants.
Willingness to travel periodically.
WCS is an equal opportunity employer and the organization complies with all employment and labor laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination in hiring and ensures that candidates from all backgrounds are fairly and consistently considered during the recruitment process. We are dedicated to hiring and supporting a diverse workforce. We are committed to cultivating an inclusive work environment and look for future team members who share that same value.
The organization provides equal employment opportunities for all qualified candidates. The organization does not discriminate for employment based on age, color, disability, gender identify, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by laws and regulations.
Compensation commensurate with the position.