Michael Jacobson


I am a professor of Forest Resources in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at Penn State. I teach forest economics, global agricultural systems, agroforestry and international forestry. Research and extension programs include forest finance and taxation, agroforestry, bioenergy, invasive species, and land restoration. I have over 30 years of international experience mainly in Africa. I am a Global Fellow at Penn State, an extraordinary professor at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, and Director of the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Initiative in Africa. https://wefnexus.org/

My MIASA research topic title is “Characterizing Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Systems in Large-Scale Foreign Acquisitions in Africa”. Specifically, I will look at the impact of LSLAs and their business models on rural community transformation through the lens of the WEF nexus. I plan to build on already ongoing activities in Ethiopia, Liberia, South Africa, and Zambia and find new ones based on the interests of this Fellowship group. Methods include characterizing the WEF systems through comparative analysis across communities with and without LSLAs. Outputs I’d like to see are better community governance, institutional arrangements and policy decisions on the allocation and use of these vital WEF resources, followed by research papers and continuing funding for engagement in these regions.

Senior Fellow IFG 3, February - May 2020
Penn State University