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Steve Crooks, PhD
Principal | Wetland Science and Coastal Management
Steve is a wetland scientist / geomorphologist with 25 years of experience in the response of coastal wetland systems to human impacts and climate change. Steve specializes in translating scientific information to formats accessible to policy and decision makers as well as senior-level managers. He also works within organizations, governments, and agencies to develop teams and initiatives that support capacity building. He regularly briefs US and Foreign governments, government agencies, and Federal, State, and local leaders. He was a lead author of the IPCC 2013 Wetland Supplement. He is an Approved Methodology Expert to the verified Carbon Standard. He leads the U.S. interagency/science community Coastal Wetland Carbon Working Group, incorporating coastal wetlands within the U.S. Inventory of GHG emissions and sinks. He also co-chairs the carbon advisory panel for the Global Environmental Facility Blue Forest Project and is the co-founder of International Blue Carbon Initiative.
Igino Emmer, PhD
Principal | Carbon Project Development
Igino is a carbon project developer with more than 30 years of experience supporting the creation and development of world’s leading carbon projects. His international experience spans Europe, Southeast Asia, Africa and South America. He was a member of the CDM's A/R Working Group, is a member of the International Blue Carbon Scientific Working Group, and the lead author of the Verified Carbon Standard Wetland Restoration and Conservation requirements and various landuse-related GHG accounting methodologies. Igino is the original founder of Silvestrum in Europe.
Leah Glass, MSci, ARSM
Senior Associate | Blue Carbon Project Development
Leah is a marine scientist and practitioner with over 10 years of experience in ecosystem management and sustainable development. She has lived and worked across the tropics, developing marine management and climate finance initiatives that work for both nature and people. She has extensive experience working with teams to take projects from concept to reality, including some of the world’s first blue carbon projects. With a detailed understanding of all stages of project development and implementation – from pre-feasibility and financing to development, monitoring and evaluation – Leah is well placed to advise and support organizations, civil society, governments and agencies as they design and implement coastal ecosystem management and blue carbon strategies. Her particular areas of expertise are community empowerment, governance and social and environmental safeguards. With a Masters degree in Geophysics, she also has a detailed understanding of the remote sensing procedures used to study land use changes and model carbon stocks. In recognition of these expertise, Leah sits on various advisory panels and working groups, including Verra’s Blue Carbon Working Group, Plan Vivo’s Steering Group and the focal group for the International Partnership for Blue Carbon.
Franziska Gaetcke, MA, MSc
Senior Associate | Sustainable Development Facilitator
Franziska has 10 years of experience as a consultant in climate information and sustainable development for change and innovation. She has particular experience in workshop facilitation, assisting in clarifying paths for both public policy and policies for private sector clients. Franziska's experience includes distilling information on gender equity, sustainable development goals, green economies, trade and development, nationally determined contributions and corporate farming strategies.
Cindy Lebrasse, PhD
Associate | Blue Carbon Project Development
Cindy is a marine scientist with 8 years of experience working on the assessment of blue carbon habitats. During her graduate career, Cindy developed a multidisciplinary approach to study blue carbon using geospatial technology, specializing in the application of satellite remote sensing methods combined with machine learning to fill the current knowledge gaps in the areal extent and carbon storage capacity of blue carbon sinks (seagrasses, tidal marshes) for better monitoring and management of such ecosystems in the face of climate and anthropogenic pressures. Combining her satellite remote sensing expertise with her strong interest in blue carbon ecosystems as a nature-based climate solution, Cindy's work at Silvestrum focuses on all stages of carbon project development, from the use of satellite remote sensing to assess baseline mangrove deforestation, to the application of greenhouse gas accounting methodologies in the conservation and restoration of blue carbon ecosystems worldwide.
Adam Karl, PhD
Associate | Regenerative Agriculture
Adam is a plant physiologist, soil scientist, and farmer focused on understanding the interactions that influence agroecosystems and farmer livelihoods. His graduate studies at Cornell University focused on sustainable perennial fruit production systems and the biochemical response of crops to management practices. He has collaborated with various institutions on monitoring and improving soil health in smallholder coffee farms. Currently based in the outskirts of Bogota, Colombia, Adam also has experience advising beef and dairy farmers in their transition to regenerative farm management. With the Silvestrum team, Adam will be advancing carbon project development focused on regenerative agriculture, silvopastoral systems, and reforestation.
Melissa Ward, PhD
Associate | Blue Carbon Project Development
Melissa is a marine scientist with over 10 years of experience working on coastal carbon cycling, habitat restoration, and community engagement. After extensively researching carbon biogeochemistry in California seagrasses, salt marshes, and kelp forests, Melissa has grown her portfolio to include applied work. She works on the inclusion of marine habitats in carbon offset codes and greenhouse gas inventories, both domestically and internationally, through both research and policy avenues. She has extensive experience evaluating and improving habitat restoration efforts across a multitude of marine habitats, with a particular focus on seagrass meadows. Lastly, Melissa regularly works with coastal communities and stakeholders to identity and support avenues for climate adaptation.
Javier Patrón
Associate | Environmental Data Analysis
Javier is an Environmental Data Scientist specializing in coastal ecosystems. He developed a data pipeline for geospatial modeling specifically for his master's degree project, focusing on kelp forest cultivation and restoration at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UC Santa Barbara. He holds a bachelor's degree in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering from Universidad Iberoamericana and has over five years of experience in field engineering and project management at General Electric. Javier is a dedicated advocate for the environment, striving to achieve feasible and impactful results through his expertise in environmental data analysis, remote sensing, environmental policy evaluation, and environmental systems modeling. With his strong data analysis and project management background, Javier will provide valuable support to Silvestrum's ongoing projects focused on blue carbon ecosystems as nature-based climate solutions.
Moritz von Unger, PhD
Principal | Climate Policy and Financing
Moritz has over 18 years of professional experience in international climate and low-carbon interventions. He specializes in climate finance and climate investments, institutional due diligence assessments, public-private partnership advice, and program evaluations. He has extensive experience advising governments at all levels, as well as international finance institutions and the private sector. Moritz is currently advising: the World Bank (FCPF Carbon Fund, Washington D.C.) with preparing a number of REDD+ recipient countries to become investment-ready; the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with the design of an investment fund focusing on coastal environments and blue carbon; the European Commission with an implementation assessment of the bloc’s free trade agreement and trade and sustainability agenda with Central American countries; and the German government with respect to international emissions trading.
Lisa Schile-Beers, PhD
Senior Associate | Coastal Ecologist and GIS Analyst
Lisa is a coastal ecologist with over 20 years of experience studying wetland plant ecology, carbon cycling, and soil biogeochemistry. Using field, GIS, and spatial modeling tools and techniques, Lisa examines tidal wetland and marsh resilience to sea-level rise and other climate change impacts. Through her postdoctoral work as a fellow for the Smithsonian Institution, she studied latitudinal gradients in soil carbon storage and decomposition in wetlands and mangroves from Alaska to Panama, whole ecosystem carbon dynamics in the intertidal zones of the United Arab Emirates, and methane emissions from bald cypress trunks. As a postdoctoral researcher at the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Lisa collected data on variability in suspended sediment concentrations across channels, marshes and seasons, and modeled their effects on marsh accretion under different sea-level rise scenarios.
Prof. Ana M Queirós, PhD
Senior Advisor | Ocean Carbon
Professor Queirós is a Principal Investigator at Plymouth Marine Laboratory (UK), with more than 15 years of experience in seabed ecology and climate change. She led the first quantitative estimates of seaweed carbon sequestration in ocean sediments a study which has influenced in the development of blue carbon research and policy. Ana has expertise in applications of isotopic tracers, eDNA, and benthic-pelagic process measurements that allow for the tracing of carbon from source to sinks. Ana also led the development of the first hydrodynamic modelling tools that can be used in seaweed blue carbon studies. Ana currently leads on three research programmes advancing the understanding of the carbon and biodiversity value of natural and farmed seaweed habitats in the UK and Europe; and advises on related projects around the world. She is a contributor to several initiatives supporting the consolidation of global blue carbon research and policy development: the United Nations Decade of Ocean Research for Sustainable Development’s Global Ocean Blue Carbon Programme; the Blue Carbon Initiative’s Seaweed Working Group; the Seascape Carbon Initiative; and the VERRA Ocean Carbon Working Group.
Rebeca Brenes, MSc
Associate | Forestry and Blue Carbon
Rebeca has a degree in forestry engineering with a BS in forest restoration and an MS in ecological economics. Her main fields of expertise are remote sensing, climate change, REDD+ and negotiation processes under the UNFCCC. Since 2017 she has been working on research and methodologies for urban restoration and sustainable landscapes. Recently she led the process for the development of methods and technical guidance to update Costa Rica's blue carbon national inventory and baseline to support the national commitments under UNFCCC. She has been a member of the Legal and Environmental Research Strategy at the Center for International Sustainable Development Law, a member of the Legal Preparedness Network for Achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets as a national researcher for the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), technical advisor to SCS for the FSC scheme and consultant for Fundación PRISMA, CATIE, GIZ and others.
Mackenzie J. Taggart
Associate | Blue Carbon Analyst
Mackenzie is a Wetland Scientist with 5 years of experience working with coastal ecosystems – from conducting research and restoration to policy development. She holds a BS in Earth & Soil Science and recently graduated with a MS in Marine Science. Her graduate research focused on estuarine blue carbon dynamics in the face of sea level rise, which she hopes will influence current and emerging regional policies to protect estuaries as vital carbon sinks. Mackenzie has a deep appreciation for coastal ecosystems gained through her work with non-profit and research institutions, as well as her undergraduate and graduate education. Across her career she has worked at the interface of science, policy, and people to develop robust solutions to the pressing issues coastal ecosystems and communities face. Mackenzie will support Silvestrum on the development of the Seascape Carbon Initiative and in analyses for emerging solutions in carbon storage.
Regina Sánchez Sasso, LLM
Associate | Climate Policy and Legal Strategy
Regina is an environmental lawyer with experience in human rights. After graduating with a Master’s degree in law (LL.M.), specializing in Environmental Law, at the University of California, Berkeley, she worked on the protection of the right to water in Latin America and helped develop the legal strategy for a mangrove conservation project in Mexico. Prior to her Master’s studies, Regina clerked for Mexico’s Supreme Court for five years, drafting rulings on the consultation of indigenous peoples and the right to health. Currently based in Mexico, she is an adjunct professor in environmental law at Universidad Iberoamericana, where she earned her law degree. As as Associate at Silvestrum, Regina supports projects, programmes, and policy finance initiatives to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions while conserving blue carbon ecosystems.
Raquel Bustamante, LLM
Associate | Climate Policy & Legal Research
Raquel graduated with a LLM in the Public International Law programme at the University of Oslo (UiO), specializing in international economic law and sustainable development. She holds a bachelor's degree in law and is approved by the Order of Attorneys in Brazil (OAB). Besides 4 years of legal work, both for the public and private sector, she has personal experience in conservation of tropical forests and a great interest for environmental law, with most of her undergraduate research focused in the field. With her strong background in environmental law, Raquel assists Silvestrum with the legal aspects of carbon project development, programmes, and policy initiatives to generate greenhouse gases (GHG) benefits and other ecosystem services.
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