Lisa C. Kelley, Faculty, Department of Geography, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Lisa C. Kelley

Assistant Professor
Office: Saunders 420
Telephone: 1 (808) 956-7016

Browse My Publications:


I’ve loved being outdoors since I was young, which led me to major in ecology in college. After college, I moved to Vietnam to work for TRAFFIC, a wildlife conservation organization. As I continued to work in Southeast Asia with RECOFTC (The Center for People and Forests), I became more and more interested in the social and political histories of forested and agrarian landscapes. These interests led me to the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley where my PhD work combined remote sensing and ethnographic research to reconstruct land use change along a smallholder cacao frontier in Sulawesi, Indonesia. In my current research, I apply this broadly geographical education to diverse questions surrounding agrarian livelihoods and land uses.


  • PhD, Environmental Science, Policy and Management, UC Berkeley, 2017
  • BA (high honors), Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, 2008


New datasets and processing platforms have revolutionized the study of land use and cover change in tropical landscapes, enabling global maps of forest cover loss at high spatio-temporal resolution. Without greater historical and socio-political contextualization, however, these data will be limited in their capacity to inform more equitable and effective policies. My research addresses this need by combining remote sensing with long-term, grounded field research. In current work, I am examining how smallholder coffee-producing households are adapting their land use strategies in response to ongoing drought and coffee leaf rust in northern Nicaragua. I am also beginning new research into the linkages between economic land concessions, transnational labor migration and land use and cover change in four sites in Indonesia.