Michael Verdone is a Senior Associate at BBC Research & Consulting and a Ph.D. economist with work experience at the intersections of development, economics, and the environment. He enjoys using economic tools and theory to work with NGOs, governments, academic institutions, and other partners to find creative and collaborative solutions to pressing environmental and development problems. Dr. Verdone has spent almost a decade studying issues related to the economics of restoring forests, including leading detailed studies in several countries in West and East Africa.
Ph.D. in Natural Resource Economics, Colorado State University, 2015
Master’s in Economics, University of Colorado at Denver, 2006-2007
Senior Associate, BBC Research & Consulting, Denver, Colorado. March 2016-present.
- Dr. Verdone works in BBC’s water, energy, and natural resource practice area, which analyzes the development, use and regulation of natural resources for government and industry over the past four decades. BBC’s work ranges from examining the socioeconomic impacts of new resource developments to creating sophisticated demand models for some of the largest water providers in the Western US. BBC also works with nonprofits like the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, World Resources Institute, and USAID to support the design and evaluation of conservation plans and projects.
Graduate Fellow, Center for Collaborative Conservation, Fort Collins, Colorado. August 2014-August 2015.
- The primary goal of the fellowship was to demonstrate how economic could be used in a multi-discipline, collaborative manner to engage with communities and stakeholders in the process of restoring degraded and deforested landscapes. The fellowship award of $4,000 was used to support the restoration activities of two grassroots efforts in Uganda. Dr. Verdone produced two reports, one described the collaborative process used to highlight restoration opportunities in Uganda and the second documented economic methodologies that can be used to support collaborative conservation efforts.
Program Officer, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Geneva, Switzerland & Washington, D.C. June 2011-June 2015.
- Lead economist on projects in Ghana, Rwanda, and Uganda to estimate the environmental and economic impacts of forest restoration projects. Developed a method to estimate the climate and economic impacts of achieving the Bonn Challenge, a global effort to restore 350 million hectares of degraded land. The work helped secure commitments from several countries to restore more than 60 million hectares of degraded land. Some of the results were reported by the Guardian newspaper and published in the book “Creating a Sustainable and Desirable Future.”
Ph.D. Candidate/Research Assistant, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. August 2008-June 2011.
- Developed a combination of methodologies including numerical optimization, Monte Carol analysis, cost-benefit analysis, and game-theory modeling, to explore the economics of restoring degraded land. Word was published in several peer-reviewed journal articles and has been used by scholars in the fields of economics and restoration ecology.
Research Consultant, Navigant Consulting, Chicago, Illinois. January 2008-August 2008.
- Conducted statistical and econometric analyses of large data sets using SAS programming language to support expert witnesses in legal depositions of labor discrimination disputes, class-action lawsuits, and economic disputes from wrongful death.
Skills and Expertise
- Environmental economics
- Sustainable development
- Environmental policy
- Data and policy analysis
- Spatial optimization
- Capacity building
Verdone, M. A., Seidl, A. 2017. Time, Space, Place and the Bonn Challenge Global Forest Restoration Target. Restoration Ecology, 25, 903-911.
Verdone, M. A., Seidl, A. 2016. How Do the Risk Preferences of Smallholder Farmers Affect the Attractiveness of Restoration Activities? Evidence from Four Areas of Rwanda. Journal of Development and Agricultural Economics, 8(9), 200-214.
Gourevitch, J. D., Howthorne, P. L., Keeler, B. L., Beatty, C. R., Greve, M., Verdone, M.A. 2016. Optimizing investment in national-scale forest landscape restoration in Uganda to maximize multiple benefits. Environmental Research Letters, 11(11).
Christin, Z. L., Bagstad, K. J., Verdone, M.A. 2016. A Decision Framework for Identifying Models to Estimate Forest Ecosystem Services Gains from Restoration. Forest Ecosystems, 3(3).
Verdone, M.A. 2015. A Cost-Benefit Framework for Analyzing Forest Landscape Restoration Decisions. Gland. Switzerland: IUCN.
Baig, S., Rizvi, A. R., Verdone, M.A. 2015. Ecosystems Based Adaptation: Knowledge Gaps in Making an Economic Case for Investing in Nature Based Solutions for Climate Change. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN.
Ministry of Natural Resources – Rwanda. 2015. Forest Landscape Restoration Opportunity Assessment for Rwanda. MINIRENA (Rwanda), IUCN, WRI. Viii + 51pp.
Maginnis, S., Laestadius, L., Verdone, M. A., et al. 2014. A guide to the Restoration Opportunity Assessment Methodology: Assessing forest landscape restoration opportunities at the national and sub-national level. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. 125pp.