Principal, Wetland Science and Coastal Management
Steve Crooks, PhD
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.
Principal, Climate Policy and Financing
Moritz von Unger, PhD
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.
Principal, Carbon Project Development
Igino Emmer, PhD
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.
Senior Associate, Coastal Ecologist and GIS Analyst
Lisa Schile-Beers, PhD
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.
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.
Associate, Climate Change Policy Development
Sofía Cortés Mesén
Sofía Cortés Mesén is a lawyer graduated from the University of Costa Rica with an emphasis on environmental law. From the early beginning of her career, she has focused on management of marine resources as well as ocean policy, while also diving in human rights through a professional visit to the Interamerican Court of Human Rights. She has worked as a consultant on marine issues with several NGOs like the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA), MarViva Foundation and Conservation International. In the past year, she has served as an advisor to the Viceminister for Water and the Ocean at the Ministry of Environment and Energy, following up on topics of marine governance, marine spatial planning, blue economy, IUU fishing, among others. She has a master’s degree in Environment, Development and Peace with specialisation in Climate Change Policy from the University for Peace, and she has recently finished her second master’s degree in Integrated Management of Tropical Coastal Areas from the University of Costa Rica. Currently, she is working on her final dissertation named “Legal and integrated management perspectives to develop a conservation proposal for Costa Rica’s deep sea”.
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.
Associate, Carbon Project Development
Cindy Lebrasse, PhD
Cindy is a Marine Scientist from Mauritius who completed an ORISE fellowship at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and graduated from North Carolina State University, focusing her Ph.D. research on the assessment of blue carbon habitats. Throughout her graduate career, she applied different methods ranging from satellite remote sensing to water circulation models to fill the current knowledge gaps in the areal extent and carbon storage capacity of blue carbon sinks like seagrasses and salt marshes for better monitoring and management of such ecosystems in the face of climate and anthropogenic pressures. With her research expertise and knowledge, she will support Silvestrum in all stages of project development and implementation in the management of blue carbon ecosystems.
Associate | Blue Carbon Analyst
Mackenzie J. Taggart
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.