Keynote remarks:

Ariel E. Lugo - Director, International Institute of Tropical Forestry, USDA Forest Service (Puerto Rico)
Ariel Lugo is an active scientist involved in the study of tropical forests.  He is highly cited with over 550 publications and over 35,000 citations to his work.  He has received recognitions from his agency (e.g., Distinguished Scientist, Meritorious Presidential Executive Rank Award) and from other organizations (e.g., Latino Center Legacy Award in the Sciences by the Smithsonian Latino Center, Forest Hero Award – United Nations Forests for People Awards).
During his tenure with the Forest Service Lugo has focused attention on developing the public profile of the Institute, a conservation ethic for Puerto Rico and other tropical countries, and providing education and research opportunities to under-represented communities and individuals.  More recently the Institute is involved in seeking resilient solutions to the problems associated with the Anthropocene Epoch.
Before his Forest Service career, Lugo was a professor of Botany and Plant Ecology at the University of Florida in Gainesville and Staff Member at the Council on Environmental Quality in Washington, DC. Lugo is a native Puerto Rican educated in public schools, the University of Puerto Rico (BS and MS), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (PhD).
Susan Chomba - Project Manager, Regreening Africa, ICRAF (Kenya)

Dr Susan Chomba is a natural resource governance scientist based at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). She currently leads one of the Centre’s mega projects, Regreening Africa whose primary goal is to reverse land degradation by scaling up proven and cost-effective restoration practices across eight countries in Africa including Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Somalia, Niger, Mali, Senegal and Ghana. By restoring a million hectares of degraded land and benefiting at least 500,000 households, the project aims to contribute to food and nutritional security as well as economic benefits to rural households. Her research focuses on policies and institutions in forestry, climate change, agriculture and rural development in Africa.

Susan has led many multi-country and multi-institutional projects across research and development domains in Africa in the past 15 years. She is an affiliate at the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and a steering committee member for the Commonwealth Scientific Conference organized by the Royal Society.

Susan holds a PhD in forest governance from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), a double MSc. in Agricultural Development and Agroforestry from the Universities of Copenhagen and Bangor (UK) respectively and a BSc. in Forestry from Moi University, Kenya. She is passionate about bridging the gap between research and sustainable development in Africa.