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Jim Tolisano

Part-time Faculty
429 - 1 Wash Pl

Office Hours
Monday 12:00-2:00

B.A., History, University of Wisconsin
M.S., Forest Ecology/Natural Resources Management, University of Arizona, Tucson

Jim Tolisano’s teaching and professional interests are in the interface between conservation biology, ecological anthropology, and sustainable finance. His teaching and publications explore the cultural and social factors that establish our relationship to nature, and the influence of these choices on how we use and protect natural areas and biodiversity. Tolisano is the Executive Director of Innovations4Conservation ( and a Principal in Innovations in Conservation LLC ( He also serves on the Advisory Team for the Center for Sustainable Business in the NYU Stern School of Business. He has more than 30 years of professional experience in the design and implementation of natural resource and biodiversity conservation projects. He has worked in more than 50 countries and held a wide variety of professional positions that integrate applied work in nature conservation planning and management; forest and wildlife management; field biology; ecological monitoring; science communications; and environmental education. Tolisano has been leading the development of conservation finance strategies with The Ocean Foundation; A conservation trust fund for the Okavango river basin in Angola-Namibia-Botswana; and wildlife conservation funding for a coalition of tribal nations in the western U.S. From 2006-2012, Tolisano served as the Director of the Kinship Conservation Fellows, a ground-breaking one-month international environmental leadership program that integrates management skills with business and economic tools (  

Teaching and Research Interests

conservation biology; the design and management of parks and wild areas; forest ecology and restoration; human-wildlife relationships; economic and cultural valuations of nature and environmental services 

Recent News


Jim Tolisano co-wrote the commentaries “Communities, Conservation, and Development in the Age of Covid-19: Time for Rethinking Approaches,” and “From Threat to Solution: Rethinking the role of communities in nature conservation” published in Mongabay during the fall of 2020. He also wrote “Telling the Story of Nature: the Artist as 21st Century Naturalist,” published in Minding Nature, Vol. 12, No. 3.

Tolisano’s article “Telling the Story of Nature: the Artist as 21st Century Naturalist” was included in the fall issue of Minding Nature.

Jim Tolisano was named the Principal Advisor to the Okavango River Basin Commission (OKACOM) to guide the development of a tri-national fund to support sustainable development and nature conservation in the Cubango-Okavango river basin linking Angola, Namibia, and Botswana.

Tolisano’s article, “From Threat to Solution: Rethinking the role of communities in nature conservation” was featured in the fall 2019 issue of Mongabay.

Jim Tolisano