World Resources Institute: People and Ecosystems Associate

The World Resources Institute (WRI) seeks a results-oriented, self-motivated individual with excellent analytical, writing, communication, and people-engagement skills for a full-time position to help implement “Southern Forests for the Future.”  This project seeks to:

* Increase public awareness about the threats facing southern U.S. forests and the ecosystem services these forests provide;
* Identify and develop economic incentive programs to promote stewardship of southern forests and analyze their economic and environmental benefits;
* Work with public agencies, land trust organizations, private landowners, and other entities to adopt and adequately finance these programs and;
* Help public and private entities pilot test these programs and research ways to maximize the uptake of the most promising ones by industrial and non-industrial forestland owners.

Our short term goal is to secure protection of over 4 million acres of private forestland otherwise jeopardized by land use conversion or unsustainable forest management.

The Associate will be part of WRI’s Mainstreaming Ecosystem Services Initiative, which seeks to reduce ecosystem degradation by helping governments, businesses, and development agencies integrate ecosystem services into their policies, strategies, and investments.  The initiative’s strategy is two-fold:

1) Provide decision-makers with information and assessment tools that link ecosystem health with the attainment of economic and social goals; and

2) Develop new markets, economic incentives, and public policies that restore and sustain ecosystems.
Responsibilities

* Assist the PEP Senior Economist in conducting research to identify, design and analyze the impacts of economic incentive programs to conserve forests of the southern United States.
* Work with federal, state, and local public agencies as well as private and non-profit partners to adopt and pilot test economic incentive programs and maximize their uptake by industrial and non-industrial private forestland owners.
* Engage regional stakeholders via WRI-led workshops and one-on-one dialogue when developing and pilot testing the portfolio of incentives.  Stakeholders may include other non-governmental organizations, forest owners, government forest agencies, and academics, among others.
* Help with the process of pilot testing incentives, including:

      1)  Design the parameters of each pilot test;

      2)  Secure participation of regional stakeholders;

      3)  Conduct supporting analyses;

      4)  Facilitate transactions; and

      5)  Adjust design parameters based on lessons learned.

* Write and publish reports summarizing the portfolio of incentive programs and results of pilot tests.
* Help implement an influence strategy to roll out the most promising incentive programs so they trigger greater conservation or sustainable management of southern forests.
* Assist with outreach and communication efforts-with support of WRI’s External Relations department-to promote research findings, project activities, and on-the-ground results through briefings to target audiences such as policy-makers, corporate leaders, and peer organizations.
* Help complete requested reports by management or funders.

Qualifications

* Advanced degree with a focus on conservation finance or policy, environmental economics, natural resource economics, or other relevant field.
* Minimum 3 years of relevant work experience developing and implementing financing approaches to conserve/sustain healthy ecosystems; 5 years is a plus. Examples could include payments for ecosystem services (e.g., carbon sequestration, watershed protection, recreation), ecosystem protection/restoration funds financed by extraction royalties, trust funds, bonds, and user fees, among others.
* Very solid analytical and research skills.
* Very strong English oral and writing skills. Proficiency in at least one other language is a plus.
* Experience with forest ecosystems, especially those in the southern United States, preferred.
* Experience working with non-governmental organizations, private sector entities, and government agencies in designing and implementing forest conservation strategies.
* Commitment to conservation or sustainable management of ecosystems for the sake of human well being as well as biodiversity.
* Excellent computer skills in Microsoft Office and internet research.
* Willingness to travel from time to time within the United States and abroad.

Additional resources
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