I am an assistant professor in Earth and Environment at Boston University.

I am interested in the efficient conservation of terrestrial ecosystems. My research asks: Where does conservation action happen? Why there? Who bore the costs? What difference does it make? For answers, I rely on large spatial datasets, long-term satellite observations, economic theory, and quantitative causal inference. My work supports the efforts of governments, donors, NGOs, and individuals that aim to stem the decline of biological diversity on this amazing planet.

My current research is dedicated to understanding the dynamics of land acquisitions for conservation, with new exciting projects in the U.S., Colombia, and Chile. Past work examined the effectiveness of protected areas, indigenous lands, biosphere reserves, payments for environmental services, certification, and supply-chain instruments. I conducted empirical research in more than 20 countries in Latin America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Prior to joining Boston University, I worked at Stanford University with Eric Lambin. I received my PhD from the University of Michigan, where I worked with Arun Agrawal. My research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Rights and Resources Initiative, and others.

I work in English, French, Spanish, and German, and learned Portuguese, Arabic, and Chinese for field research. When I take time off, I like to attract artists to nature and celebrate exceptional places.

Selected publications    see all

  • Nolte et al. (2017) Decentralized land use zoning reduces large-scale deforestation in a major agricultural frontier. Ecological Economics
  • Nolte et al. (2017) Conditions influencing the adoption of effective anti-deforestation policies in South America’s commodity frontiers. Global Environmental Change
  • Nolte (2016) Identifying challenges to enforcement in protected areas: empirical insights from 15 Colombian parks. Oryx
  • Nolte et al. (2013) Governance regime and location influence avoided deforestation success of protected areas in the Brazilian Amazon. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Nolte et al. (2013) Setting priorities to avoid deforestation in Amazon protected areas: Are we choosing the right indicators? Environmental Research Letters
  • Nolte & Agrawal (2013) Linking management effectiveness indicators to observed effects of protected areas on fire occurrence in the Amazon rainforest. Conservation Biology