Scientific Committee

Cheryl PalmUniversity of Florida, USA


Cheryl Palm is a Research Professor in Agricultural and Biological Engineering,  a core faculty of the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems, and affiliated Professor in Soil and Water Sciences at the University of Florida. A tropical ecologist and biogeochemist, Dr. Palm’s research focuses on land use change, degradation and rehabilitation, and ecosystem processes in tropical agricultural landscapes. She led an effort quantifying carbon stocks, losses and net greenhouse gas emissions following slash and burn and alternative land use systems in the humid tropics in the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon, Indonesia and the Congo Basin. She has spent much of the past 20 years investigating soil nutrient dynamics in farming systems of Africa, including options for soil and land rehabilitation. Palm's more recent work investigates tradeoffs and synergies among agricultural intensification strategies, the environment, and rural livelihoods. She has conducted this research across diverse agricultural ecologies in SubSaharan through the Millennium Villages Project and Vital Signs Africa. As part of the Feed the Future Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab she co-developed sustainability indicators, metrics, and methods for assessing and monitoring the sustainability of agricultural intensification.  Palm received her Ph.D. in soil science from North Carolina State University after completing her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in zoology at the University of California, Davis. She served as Senior Research Scientist at The Earth Institute, Columbia University (2003-2016), Principal Research Scientist of the Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Program in Nairobi, Kenya (1991-2001). She has served on the faculties of North Carolina State University, Colorado State. Palm is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomists and served as chair of the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI) from 2008 to 2011.

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