Steven Lawry

Steven Lawry is Director of CIFOR’s Forests and Governance Research Portfolio.

He leads a team of 31 scientists and research associates, and is a member of CIFOR’s senior management team. His own research focuses on the effects of land tenure and resource governance regimes on social, economic and environmental outcomes. An example of his recent research is a systematic review of the literature on the impact of land rights formalization on agricultural productivity and investment in Latin America, Africa and Asia, published in January 2014.

Dr. Lawry has published studies and scholarly articles on the social and ecological effects resulting from the devolution of forest rights from state authorities to communities in developing countries; the governance of land use in customary tenure regimes in sub-Saharan Africa; and tenure factors affecting adoption of agroforestry technologies in West Africa, among other topics. He received a PhD from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1988. Also in 1988, he joined the research staff of UW-Madison’s Land Tenure Center (LTC), and became LTC’s Associate Director in charge of Africa programs in 1990.

Dr. Lawry served as Global Practice Leader for Land Tenure and Property Rights at DAI, a Washington-based development-consulting group, from December 2011 to July 2014. He headed the USAID-funded Sudan Property Rights Program in 2010 and 2011, which helped the Government of South Sudan develop a national land policy. Dr. Lawry held senior positions in the Ford Foundation from 1992 to 2006. From 1992 to 1997 he led the Foundation’s grant programs in Namibia, and from his base in Windhoek managed grants in support of South Africa’s post-apartheid land reform program. He was head of the Foundation’s Office for the Middle East and North Africa, in Cairo, from 1997 to 2001.

He served in the Foundation’s New York headquarters as Director of the Office of Management Services from 2001 to 2006. He was president of Antioch College, in Yellow Springs, Ohio, in 2006 and 2007. He served as Senior Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations from 2008 to 2013, and founded a research and training program at the Hauser Center on philanthropy and social innovation in 2009.

leaf background pattern

Transforming Innovation for Sustainability Join the Ecosystem →