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Laura López-Hoffman, PhD
Assistant Research Professor of Environmental Policy, Udall Center
Assistant Professor, School of Natural Natural Resources and the Environment
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Laura López-Hoffman is an assistant professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, and an assistant research professor at the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the University of Arizona. She is also an affiliated faculty member of the UA James E. Rogers College of Law.
López-Hoffman obtained a PhD from Stanford University in Biological Sciences and a BA from Princeton University. Prior to coming to the University of Arizona, she was an NSF post-doctoral fellow at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
López-Hoffman started her career as a tropical ecologist. As an undergraduate student, she researched sustainable timber harvesting in the Brazilian Amazon. For her graduate school research, she spent years slogging through mangrove swamps in the South Pacific and South America.
Today, the objective of her research is to contribute to the development of environmental policies and institutions that protect ecosystems and sustain human well-being. She uses interdisciplinary and comparative research approaches to integrate natural science and policy.
Much of López-Hoffman’s work focuses how the ecosystem services approach can improve natural resource governance. With Darius Semmens and Jay Diffendorfer at the U.S. Geological Survey, she co-leads the USGS John Wesley Powell Center for Synthesis and Analysis working group, “Animal Migration and Spatial Subsidies: Establishing a Framework for Conservation Markets.” The goal of the group is to study how migratory species facilitate the sharing of ecosystem services between Canada, the United States, and Mexico, and to develop new approaches to protect migratory species.
The other main facet of her research focuses on improving public participation and transparency in environmental decision-making. With Marc Miller (Dean, UA James E Rogers College of Law) she is developing computation tools to evaluate how well critical dimensions of environmental decision-making -- including water, air, ecosystem function and environmental justice -- are addressed in environmental impact assessments, mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and similar federal and state laws.
López-Hoffman is the lead editor with Emily McGovern, Karl Flessa and Robert Varady of a book entitled, Conservation of Shared Environments: Learning from the United States and Mexico (link). Published in January 2010, the book was the first volume in the Edge: Environmental Science, Law, and Policy book series (initiated at the University of Arizona Press and now managed by the University of Chicago Press).