Johanne Pelletier

Degree Ph.D (McGill University)
Position Postdoctoral Fellow
Email Address
The goal of my research contribution is to improve our understanding of the impacts of human interactions with terrestrial ecosystems through land-use/cover change, with the goal of mitigating climate change, sustaining ecosystem services and improving the livelihoods of forest dependent people.

Current project:

As part of the NatureNet Science Fellows Program, I will contribute to ongoing effort for halting climate change with a focus on sustainable energy, using Zambia as a case study. The main research question that I want to explore is: Is it possible to sustainably manage wood energy supply in order to fulfil growing energy demand while promoting low-carbon development in Zambia now and in the future?

In order to address this question, I will examine the socio-economic and ecological impacts of the wood energy value chain in Zambia, looking at both supply and demand using a multidisciplinary approach. To scale-up to the national scale, I will use remote sensing data and products, mostly based on very high resolution imagery. Using spatially explicit land use modelling, I will try to predict the impacts of future demand for wood fuel energy associated with population and income growth on forest cover change, GHG emissions and socio-economic development, and test different potential management alternatives and policy scenarios that could sustain biomass energy for the future, in order to contribute to low carbon development away from fossil fuel dependency and relevant to livelihoods in the SSA region.

Previous Projects:

My previous research has focused on three main components. First, I have worked on reducing uncertainty in carbon emissions and removals from land-use/cover change in the context the mechanism for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries, under the United Nations Convention on Climate Change. Second, I have been interested in understanding variations in carbon storage and biodiversity due to ecological and anthropogenic factors in different forest ecosystems, including in Panama and in Zambia. Thirdly, I have also dedicated my effort at providing evidence-based policy and management strategies to conserve forest and improve livelihoods, on a project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, working with indigenous people in Panama and, globally. I obtained my PhD at McGill University (Canada) from a joint program with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (Panama). Then, I have been a postdoctoral research fellow at the Woods Hole Research Center (now visitor scholar), with a leadership role on a project focusing on improving the accuracy of estimates of emissions and removals from land-cover change and supporting conservation in Southern and Eastern Africa.

Published Papers

  • Pelletier, J., Paquette, A., Mbindo, K., Zimba, N., Siampale, A., Chendauka, B., Siangulube, F., Roberts, J.W. 2018. Carbon sink despite large deforestation in African tropical dry forests (miombo woodlands).Environmental Research Letters 13:094017
  • Pelletier, J., Horning, N., Laporte, N., Samndong, R. A., & Goetz, S. 2018. Anticipating social equity impacts in REDD+ policy design: An example from the Democratic Republic of Congo.Land Use Policy, 75, 102-115. doi
  • Pelletier, J., Siampale, A., Legendre, P., Laporte, N., Jantz, P., Goetz, S. 2017. Human and natural controls of the variation in aboveground tree biomass in African dry tropical forests. Ecological Applications, 27(5);1578–1593.
  • Pelletier, J., Gélinas, N, Skutsch M. 2016. The Place of Community Forest Management in the REDD+ Landscape. Forests, 7(8), 170; doi:10.3390/f7080170
    Special issue: REDD+: Politics, Interplays and Impacts.
  • Pelletier, J., and S.J. Goetz. 2015. Baseline Data on Forest Loss and Associated Uncertainty: Advances in National Forest Monitoring. Environmental Research Letters 10 021001.
  • Pelletier, J., Martin, D. & Potvin, C. 2013. REDD+ CO2 Flux Estimation and Reporting for Early Actions: Dealing With Uncertainty, Environmental Research Letters, 8, 034009.
  • Pelletier, J., Codjia, C., Potvin, C. 2012. Traditional Shifting agriculture: Tracking Forest Carbon Stock and Biodiversity Through Time in wWstern Panama, Global Change Biology, 18, 3581–3595.
  • Sloan, S.P. and Pelletier, J. 2012. How Accurately May We Project Tropical Forest-Cover Change? A Validation of a Forward-Looking Baseline for REDD. Global Environmental Change, 22: 440-453.
  • Pelletier, J., Ramankutty, N. & Potvin, C. (2011) Diagnosing the Uncertainty and Detectability of Emission Reductions for REDD+ Under Current Capabilities: An Example for Panama, Environmental Research Letters, 6: 024005.
    - With A Perspective on this paper published in 2011 Environ. Res. Lett. 6 021002, by Dr. Gregory Asner, Carnegie Institute;
    Web press coverage:
  • Pelletier, J., Kirby, K. R. & Potvin, C. (2010) Significance of Carbon Stock Uncertainties on Emissions Reductions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries. Forest Policy and Economics, 12 (7): 497-504.
  • Oestreicher, J. S., Benessaiah, K., Ruiz-Jaen, M. C., Sloan, S., Turner, K., Pelletier, J., Guay, B., Clark, K. E., Roche, D. G., Meiners, M. & Potvin, C. (2009) Avoiding Deforestation in Panamanian Protected Areas: An Analysis of Protection Effectiveness and Implications for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. Global Environmental Change, 19: 279-291.

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Johanne Pelletier