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Chad Monfreda

Chad Monfreda

IGERT in Urban Ecology Fellow, Emeritus, School of Life Sciences


  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network
  • IGERT in Urban Ecology Fellow, Emeritus, School of Life Sciences
  • Graduate Assistant Fellow, Emeritus, Walton Sustainability Fellowship Program, Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives


Chad Monfreda is a post-doctoral fellow with the Ford School of Public Policy and Graham Sustainability Institute at the University in Michigan. In 2015, Chad completed his Ph.D. in the Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology and was an affiliate of the Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes (CSPO) at ASU. His doctoral work on carbon markets in California and Mexico explores how emerging techniques for measuring and valuing the carbon stored in tropical forests are helping to create new modes of transnational environmental governance.

Chad has wide-ranging experience on sustainability science and policy, including through ASU’s IGERT in Urban Ecology, a MacArthur Foundation project on Advancing Conservation in a Social Context, and a joint ASU-National Academy of Engineering initiative on Energy Ethics in Science and Engineering Education.

Chad’s interest in energy issues extends to his work as a thematic expert on Sustainable Energy Policy & Practice and writer for the Earth Negotiations Bulletin at the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).

Prior to coming to ASU, Chad earned a master’s degree in Land Resources from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he produced a new generation of global agricultural datasets. During this period, he began bridging global environmental science and policy by serving in the Secretariat on the consultative process towards an International Mechanism of Scientific Expertise on Biodiversity (IMoSEB) in Montpelier, France.

In addition to his academic and policy work, Chad spent several years working on national ecological footprint accounts at the sustainability think tank Redefining Progress. Committed to public outreach, he currently serves on the Board of Directors of the youth-run organization, SustainUS, and has written about sustainability science for popular venues, such as Ensia magazine and

Journal Articles


Davies, S. R., C. Selin, S. Rodegher, C. A. Allende, M. Burnam-Fink, C. DeVittorio, C. Glerup, C. Keys, M. Kimball, M. Liao, C. Monfreda and B. Trinidad. 2015. Studying Emerge: Findings from an event ethnography. Futures 70(Jun):75-85. DOI: 10.1016/j.futures.2014.05.003. (link )


Foley, J. A., N. Ramankutty, K. Brauman, E. Cassidy, J. Gerber, M. Johnston, E. Mueller, C. Odonnell, D. Ray, P. A. West, C. Blazer, E. M. Bennett, S. Carpenter, J. Hill, C. Monfreda, S. Polasky, J. Rockstrom, J. Sheenan, S. Siebert, D. Tilman and D. Zaks. 2011. Solutions for a cultivated planet. Nature DOI: 10.1038/nature10452.

Hulme, M., M. Mahony, S. Beck, C. Gorg, B. Hansjurgens, J. Hauck, C. Nesshover, A. Paulsch, M. Vanderwalle, H. Wittmer, S. Boschen, P. Bridgewater, M. C. Diaw, P. Fabre, A. Figueroa, K. L. Heong, H. Korn, R. Leemans, E. Lovbrand, M. N. Hamid, C. Monfreda, R. Pielke Jr, J. Settele, M. Winter, A. Vadrot, S. van den Hove and J. P. van der Sluijs. 2011. Science policy: Beyond assessments. Science 5:697-698. DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6043.697. (link )

Monfreda, C. 2011. Review of "A vast machine: Computer models, climate data and the politics of global warming" by Paul Edwards. Review of Policy Research 28(5):544-546. DOI: 10.1111/j.1541-1338.2011.00522_2.x.

Monfreda, C. 2011. Review of "Knowledge and environmental policy: Re-imaging the boundaries of science and politics" by William Ascher, Toddi Steelman and Robert Healy. Review of Policy Research 28(5):542-544. DOI: 10.1111/j.1541-1338.2011.00522_2.x.


Licker, R., M. Johnston, J. A. Foley, C. Barford, N. Ramankutty and C. Monfreda. 2010. Mind the gap: How do climate and agriculture management explain the "yield gap" of croplands around the world?. Global Ecology and Biogeography 19(6):769-782. DOI: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2010.00563.x.

Monfreda, C. 2010. Setting the stage for new global knowledge: Science, economics and indigenous knowledge in "The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)" at IUCN World Conservation Congress. Conservation and Society 8(4):288-297. DOI: 0.4103/0972-4923.78145 .

West, P. A., H. K. Gibbs, C. Monfreda, J. Wagner, C. Barford, S. Carpenter and F. Foley. 2010. Trading carbon for food: Global comparison of carbon stocks vs. crop yields on agriculture land. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 107(46):19645-19648. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1011078107.


Johnston, M., J. A. Foley, S. Holloway, C. Kucharik and C. Monfreda. 2009. Resetting global expectations from biofuels. Environmental Research Letters 4(014004):. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/4/1/014004.


Gibbs, H. K., M. Johnston, J. A. Foley, T. Hollaway, C. Monfreda, N. Ramankutty and D. Zaks. 2008. Carbon payback times from crop-based biofuel expansion in the tropics: The effects of changing yield and technology. Environmental Research Letters 3(034011):. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/3/3/034001.

Monfreda, C., N. Ramankutty and J. A. Foley. 2008. Farming the planet:2. Geographic distribution of crop areas, yields, physiological types and net primary production in the year 2000. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 22. DOI: 10.1029/2007GB002947.

Ramankutty, N., A. Evan, C. Monfreda and J. A. Foley. 2008. Farming the Planet: 1. Geographic distribution of global agricultural lands in the year 2000. 22. DOI: 10.1029/2007GB002952.

Book Chapters


Foley, J. A., C. Monfreda, J. A. Patz and N. Ramankutty. 2009. Agriculture, land use and the transformation of planet earth. Pp. 724-730 In: Levin, L. A. ed., Princeton Guide to Ecology. Princeton University Press.

Monfreda, C., N. Ramankutty and T. Hertel. 2009. Global agriculture land use data for climate change analysis. Pp. 33-48 In: Hertel, T., S. Rose and R. Tol eds., Economic Analysis of Land Use in Global Climate Change Policy. Routledge.



Wiek, A., R. W. Kutter, T. A. Munoz-Erickson, E. Miller, N. R. Moore, C. Thomas, L. Withycombe, C. Monfreda, C. P. Wong and D. M. Iwaniec. 2010. A comparative evaluation of participatory scenario studies. Poster presented at the February 12-18 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, San Diego, CA. Sustainability Science: Transformative Research Beyond Scenario Studies.


Monfreda, C. 2008. The project on global and comparative knowledge. Poster presented April at the Resilience, Adaptation and Transformation in Turbulent Times: International Science and Policy Conference, Stockholm, Sweden.



Monfreda, C. 2011. Bridging limits: Lessons from the millennium ecosystem assessment's multi-scale approach. Arizona State University,Tempe, AZ. Presentation March 13 at the Resilience 2011 Conference: Resilience, Innovation and Sustainability; Navigating the Complexities of Global Change, Arizona State University,Tempe, AZ.

Monfreda, C. 2011. The shifting multi-scale ideal: Science, governance and the sub-global in the millennium ecosystem assessment. Presentation May 17th at the Colorado Conference on Earth System Governancy, Fort Collins, CO.


Monfreda, C., N. Ramankutty and J. A. Foley. 2009. Mapping global agriculture: New datasets on global agricultural land cover and land use. Presentation July at the Joint Research of the European Commission Workshop on marginal Yields and Land Allocation in ILUC Emission Estimates, Brussels.


Monfreda, C. 2008. Public reasoning and the emergence of global environmental governance regimes: The case of ImoSEB. Presentation April 1 at the Global Graduate Student Conference, Washington, DC.



Miller, R., T. A. Munoz-Erickson and C. Monfreda. 2011. Knowledge systems analysis: A report for the advancing conservation in a social context project. Advancing Conservation in a Social Context, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.