I’m an assistant professor of Earth & Environment at Boston University.

I am interested in the effective conservation of terrestrial ecosystems. I ask: Where do conservation actions happen? Why there? And what difference do they make? For answers, I rely on large spatial datasets, long-term observation of land cover change, and quantitative causal inference. In doing this work, I aim to support the efforts of governments, donors, NGOs, and individuals that aim to stem the decline of biological diversity on this amazing planet.

My current research focuses on land acquisitions for conservation, with 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 the faculty at Boston University, I completed a Postdoc 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, and the Rights and Resources Initiative, among 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