Pamela Matson is an internationally recognized interdisciplinary Earth scientist, academic leader and organizational strategist.
A MacArthur Fellow and elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Matson served as dean of the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences at Stanford from 2002-2017. She led the School through significant change, targeted at helping improve the University’s ability to engage in use- inspired research and to educate future leaders in the sustainability challenges related to Earth resources, hazards and environment. During the same time period, Matson co-led the Stanford Challenge Initiative on Environment and Sustainability, and helped build the Woods Institute for the Environment and the Precourt Institute for Energy as well as the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources.
Scientifically, Matson is a global thought leader who works to reconcile the needs of people and the planet in the 21st century. Her research addresses a range of environment and sustainability issues, including sustainability of agricultural systems; vulnerability of particular people and places to climate change; and environmental consequences of tropical land use change and global change in the nitrogen and carbon cycles. With multidisciplinary teams of researchers, managers, and decision makers, she has worked to develop agricultural approaches that reduce environmental impacts while maintaining livelihoods and human wellbeing.
Matson is coauthor of Pursuing Sustainability (Princeton University Press 2016), which helps students and practitioners understand the complex social-environmental system that is essential to moving sustainability goals forward, whether through new technologies, processes or policies. Matson is also editor of Seeds of Sustainability (Island Press 2011), and contributed to the National Research Council volumes of Our Comon Journey: A Transition towards Sustainability and America’s Climate Choices. She is the founding co-chair of the National Academies’ Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability, and serves on the boards of FFAR (Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, World Wildlife Fund and Climate Works Foundation. She is a past president of the Ecological Society of America, past lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and was a member of the science leadership committee for the International Geosphere-Atmosphere Programme.