New Director General reflects on the future of forests and research

Bogor (Indonesia), November 1, 2017

Today marks the first day in office for Robert Nasi as incoming Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). He is not new to CIFOR, having collaborated and worked with the organization for more than 20 years, most recently as Deputy Director General for Research. In his new role, Nasi will lead CIFOR as it builds momentum towards more equitable, resilient and productive forest landscapes.

In an interview with Forests News, Robert Nasi reflected on the evolution of forestry.

“It’s not that the forests look different; it’s the way society looks at forests that has changed,” Nasi explained. “When I started my career, forestry was still much more about looking at forests as producing timber or goods, and now we have another ongoing evolution toward looking at ecosystem services, carbon storage, water and biodiversity.”

Robert Nasi also looked back at how CIFOR’s research priorities have changed over time. When the Center was founded in 1993, researchers were focused on forest management, but later the strategy was broadened to include policies, the importance of forests for the climate change agenda and, ultimately, the central role of forests and landscapes to attain the Sustainable Development Goals.

“My longer-term priority is to put CIFOR on a growth trajectory and to make sure that we continue to deliver relevant research, capacity development, outreach and engagement,” said Nasi. He expects CIFOR will contribute “to change the way forests and forestry are perceived, and, ultimately, make the world a better place.”

New role for a CIFOR veteran

CIFOR’s Board of Trustees appointed Robert Nasi as the new Director General last month, during the organization’s all-staff Annual Meeting in Bogor, Indonesia. “I am ready to continue CIFOR’s transformation and carry on the positive impact of CIFOR on human well-being, equity and environmental integrity. I am looking forward to continued collaboration with our donors and partners,” expressed Robert Nasi after being appointed.

Robert Nasi joined CIFOR as staff in 1999 and has held a variety of research and senior management positions in the organization, including Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) from 2011 to 2013. He is a national of France, with a PhD in the field of ecology from the University of Paris-Sud Orsay. Nasi has more than 30 years of experience in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, undertaking research activities in the fields of ecology, botany, biometrics, tropical forest management, and silviculture.

His scientific work aims to integrate social and biological sciences for better management of tropical forests, sustainable livelihoods and better design of forest policies. Nasi has authored or co-authored more than 300 scientific publications. He has written widely on topics including forest certification schemes, biodiversity in African Forests, bushmeat and diets in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the link between Ebola and deforestation


Robert Nasi, Director General, CIFOR.

Speaks English, French and Indonesian.

Robert Nasi will be in Bonn, Germany, on November 6-8 for UNFCCC’s Climate Change Conference.

You can follow Robert Nasi on Twitter: @ForestsMatter


Rodrigo Ordóñez, Media Outreach, CIFOR., +62 82124935323


Photos: Portrait of Robert Nasi

Video: In conversation with Robert Nasi, Director General of CIFOR (excerpts)

Video: In conversation with Robert Nasi, Director General of CIFOR (full interview)


CIFOR advances human well-being, equity and environmental integrity by conducting innovative research, developing partners’ capacity, and actively engaging in dialogue with all stakeholders to inform policies and practices that affect forests and people. CIFOR is a CGIAR Research Center, and leads the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). Our headquarters are in Bogor, Indonesia, with offices in Nairobi, Kenya; Yaounde, Cameroon and Lima, Peru.