Close this search box.

IBS Associations

Interim Director, Center for the Governance of Natural Resources

Environment and Society Program

Research Interests

social movements, forest governance, community engagement

Brief Biography

Colleen Scanlan Lyons is an environmental anthropologist with decades of experience building and strengthening international networks and bridging social, economic, and environmental interests to promote forest conservation and sustainable development. The mission of her work is to connect social-environmental leaders in the global North and South to promote tropical forest conservation with tangible benefits for people and place.

As Project Director with the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force—the world’s largest subnational governmental network for forest conservation and low emissions development—Colleen works closely with governments, conservation practitioners, Indigenous and local community level leaders, NGOs and the international donor community.

Colleen is also an Associate Research Professor with the Environment and Society Program at the University of Colorado’s (CU) Institute of Behavioral Science (IBS), and has recently begun serving as the Director of IBS’s Center for the Governance of Natural Resources. At CU, she teaches graduate courses on stakeholder engagement, a field course on integrated conservation and development in Brazil’s Amazon and Atlantic Forests (which unites students and professors from CU and two Brazilian universities), mentors students, and conducts research on people and conservation, social-environmental leadership, and environmental governance.

She has just completed a book on social movements in the global biodiversity hotspot of Southern Bahia, Brazil: Running After Paradise: Hope, Survival, and Activism in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest (University of Arizona Press, 2022).

Colleen’s husband, Jeff, and her children Max (24), Ella (21) and Maya (18), inspire, support, and bring joy to her life each and every day. Learn more about Colleen here.