Smithsonian Global

Jefferson Hall

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Photo credit Jorge Aleman and S.Mattson.


Recent Publications


Long-Term Research

Jefferson Hall is a scientist researching the ecosystem services provided by tropical forests and how land use decisions can affect these forests.

Jefferson works in forest ecology for the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and is the Direcor of the Agua Salud project, which seeks to understand and quantify the ecological, social, and economic services provided by tropical forests in the Panama Canal Watershed.

His goal is to leverage Agua Salud’s research findings to improve land management across the tropics. His passion for studying naturally regenerating secondary and planted forests draws on his awareness that mature forests face increasing pressures from population growth and land conversion. 

As older forests are lost, people will need to rely on secondary forests to provide all of the same services and goods. Jefferson’s work is creating new possibilities for restoring and managing ecosystem services in these changing tropical forest landscapes. Jefferson received his Ph.D. in tropical forest ecology and silviculture from Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. 


Agua Salud   Active

The Agua Salud Project at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama studies how degraded landscapes can be efficiently transformed into productive secondary forests, timber plantations, natural water utilities or eco-friendly livestock ranches. Agua Salud continues a 100-year old partnership between Smithsonian and Panama. This collaborative relationship began in 1910, with the Panama Biological Survey.