About Me

Since 2004, Dr. Greenwood has been Executive Director of the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI), an international project office funded by the Swiss NSF under the auspices of IGBP, GTOS and IHDP and focused on global change research in mountains worldwide. As Director, he has promoted the expansion of global change research in mountains at the global level through concerted efforts on observations and assessments, workshops on topics of key interest to the mountain community, through networking events, traditional media and new media communication channels, and through collaboration with other research networks and organizations focused on sustainable mountain development. Prior to MRI, he served as Science Advisor to the Resources Secretary of California and Climate and Bioenergy Advisor for the California Department of Forestry. He has a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of California at Davis, an M.S. in Range Science from Colorado State University and a B.A. in Geography from Middlebury College. He counts his time at the State of California as his post-doc in political reality. He is familiar with the Northern Appalachians, the Colorado Rockies, the Sierra Nevada and Cascades, the Swiss Alps, the Highlands of Western Cameroon, and selected portions of Tibet, the Karakorum and the Himalaya.

Changing of the Guard at MRI
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Changing of the Guard at MRI

On 1 August 2016, Elise Maria Keller succeeded Claudia Drexler as MRI’s Communications Manager. Elise brings to MRI impressive skills in website design and management, social media, graphic design and event management developed during her Bachelors work on New Media and Communications in Zürich and Basel and honed further during her recent work as content […]

Shaxi: Of trades both ancient and modern
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Shaxi: Of trades both ancient and modern

There are frequently articles in the New York Times about distant, exotic places but the one about Shaxi caught my eye, not least because it mentioned the Tea Horse Road. As described by National Geographic’s Mark Jenkins, “The ancient passageway once stretched almost 1,400 miles across the chest of Cathay, from Yaan, in the tea-growing […]

Half full, half empty
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Half full, half empty

Recently Erin posted on the MRI FB page an upbeat note on soil conservation in Ethiopia, about how the country is making progress again the horrific loss of topsoil that has seemed endemic to the Ethiopian highlands. As I had recently visited the Simen Mountains National Park in the company of Willem Ferguson of AFROMONT […]

That other alpine range in Europe…
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That other alpine range in Europe…

I finally made it to the Pyrenees! When one lives in the Swiss Alps, the logic of visiting that other alpine range in Europe is not blindingly obvious but, as Director of MRI, I thought that it was my duty to see what this other mountain range was all about. Besides the mountains themselves, I […]

Conflicts within the environmental community
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Conflicts within the environmental community

Instead of recounting the slow but steady progress of MRI activities (e.g. three different Synthesis Workshops, a launching workshop for mountain observatories, preparations for Perth III, etc.) I would like to direct your attention to a recent piece in the New Yorker by Jonathan Franzen entitled Carbon Capture, which has as a subtitle “Has climate […]

A global network of mountain observatories continues to engage!
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A global network of mountain observatories continues to engage!

From the director’s desk, an update on the Mountain Observing Network… As follow-up to the Reno Global Fair and Workshop on Mountain Observatories, the leaders of the final summary sessions have decided to scope such a network from a researcher’s perspective. Led by Derek Kauneckis, a political scientist now at the University of Ohio, the […]

What did I get from AGU 2014?
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What did I get from AGU 2014?

On one hand, big meetings such as the AGU are important venues for MRI to pursue its “promotion and coordination” agenda with KCWs, Mixers and Sessions. On the other hand, such meetings give you a chance to find people whom you have never met but who are nonetheless doing interesting things. And sometimes, you get […]