Aaron Lien

Senior Researcher

alien@email.arizona.edu | curriculum vitae

Aaron Lien is a Senior Researcher at the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy and a PhD student in the Arid Lands Resource Sciences Graduate Interdisciplinary Program at the University of Arizona.

He has previously held positions at the University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center, the Pinchot Institute for Conservation, and the Nation Council for Science and the Environment. Aaron’s interests are focused on mechanisms to encourage private land conservation in the context of landscape-scale ecological systems, especially through the use of incentive-based payment for ecosystem services approaches. This interest is grounded in years of experience working to establish payment for ecosystem services programs in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Aaron managed the development and start-up of the Common Waters Fund in the Upper Delaware River watershed, a payment for watershed services program. He was also a member of the team that developed the Bay Bank ecosystem marketplace for the Chesapeake Bay watershed, focusing on habitat and forest conservation markets

Aaron’s PhD research will focus on the potential for use of a payment for ecosystem services approach to conserve and restore jaguar (Panthera onca) habitat in southern Arizona and New Mexico (project link). Effective conservation of jaguar habitat poses a number of challenges including social acceptance, conflicts with human land uses, and the need for very large landscapes. Aaron’s research will evaluate if a payment for ecosystem services approach can increase acceptance of jaguar and jaguar habitat by rural landowners. He will also investigate potential program structures and approaches to prioritize conservation dollars across the landscape to increase the effectiveness of conservation efforts.

Aaron has authored and co-authored protocols for forest conservation and habitat conservation markets and several papers on state and regional water policy in Arizona.

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