Honorary Chair OCEANS 2024

Professor Koh Lian Pin is Associate Vice President and Chief Sustainability Scientist at the National University of Singapore. He oversees and champions sustainability-related research at the University through a whole-of-university strategy that bridges academia, policy, industry and civil society. Prof Koh is presently also the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Professor of Conservation, Vice Dean (Research) at the Faculty of Science, Director of the Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions, and Director of the Tropical Marine Science Institute.

Bringing 18 years of international research experience in the field of sustainability and environmental science, Prof. Koh returned to Singapore in 2020 under the National Research Foundation’s Returning Singaporean Scientists. He has worked in institutions across Switzerland, Australia, and the United States. He was formerly a Swiss National Science Foundation Professor at ETH Zurich, the Chair of Applied Ecology and Conservation at the University of Adelaide, and Vice President of Science Partnerships and Innovation at Conservation International. He was also a Nominated Member of Parliament in the 14th Parliament of Singapore.

Prof. Koh is one of the most highly cited conservation scientists in Asia, a TED-Global speaker, Founding Director of ConservationDrones.org, and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.

Academic Qualifications

Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University

B.Sc. (1st Class Honours) and M.Sc. in Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore

Research areas

Conservation science, technology and policy; nature-based climate solutions; applied ecology; sustainability science

Research interests

My research focuses on developing policy-relevant science and science-based decision support tools to help reconcile humanity’s needs with environmental protection. I am particularly interested in environmental issues in the developing tropics, a region where population growth is most rapid, yet the people are poorest, and where biodiversity is the richest, yet most threatened globally.

Selected publications

  1. TV Sarira, Y Zeng, R Neugarten, R Chaplin-Kramer, LP Koh. 2022. Co-benefits of forest carbon projects in Southeast Asia. Nature Sustainability.
  1. LP Koh, et al. 2021. Carbon prospecting in tropical forests for climate change mitigation. Nature Communications 12:1271.
  2. LP Koh, et al. 2021. The value of China’s ban on wildlife trade and consumption. Nature Sustainability 4:2-4.
  3. Y Zeng, et al., LP Koh. 2020. Economic and social constraints of reforestation for climate mitigation in Southeast Asia. Nature Climate Change 10:842-844.
  4. L Mair, LP Koh, et al. 2021. A metric for spatially-explicit contributions to science-based species targets. Nature Ecology and Evolution 5:836-844.
  5. A Goldstein, LP Koh, et al. 2020. Protecting irrecoverable carbon in Earth’s ecosystems. Nature Climate Change 10:287–295.
  6. E Meijaard, LP Koh, et al. 2020. The environmental impacts of palm oil in context. Nature Plants 6:1418-1426.
  7. L Gibson, LP Koh, et al. 2011. Primary forests are irreplaceable for sustaining tropical biodiversity. Nature 478:378-381.
  8. KS Bawa, LP Koh, et al. 2010. China, India, and the Environment. Science 327:1457-1459.
  9. LP Koh, DS Wilcove. 2007. Cashing in palm oil for conservation. Nature 448:993-994.
  10. LP Koh, et al. 2004. Species co-extinctions and the biodiversity crisis. Science 305:1632-1634.

Feature and publications in popular media

  1. Begum, S. (2022). Singapore should prepare itself to capture opportunities in green economy: PAP MPs. The Straits Times, Singapore. 07 Jan 2022.
  2. Ng, K.G. (2021). Focus on quality and not just quantity of green spaces in making land use decisions: Conservation scientist. The Straits Times, Singapore. 22 June 2021.
  3. Tan, A. (2021). Call to tackle climate crisis and biodiversity loss together. The Straits Times, Singapore. 12 June 2021.
  4. Baharudin, H. (2021). Implement nature-based solutions to achieve climate goals: Panellists. The Straits Times, Singapore. 26 May 2021.
  5. Tan, A. (2020). Tapping nature in fight against climate change. The Straits Times, Singapore. 21 March 2020.

Conference and presentations

  1. AVPN, Investing in Nature-Based Solutions to Address Climate Change, Southeast Asia Social Investment Summit 2021, 27 Oct 2021.
  2. Ecosperity, Asia’s Nature-based Climate Solutions, Ecosperity Week 2021, 29 Sept 2021.
  3. The Straits Times, How carbon credits can help save tropical forests (Part 2), Green Pulse Podcast, 19 July 2021.
  4. The Straits Times, Carbon offsets: Are they credit-able? (Part 1), Green Pulse Podcast, 05 July 2021.
  5. ArtScience Museum, Promises and Pitfalls of Nature-based Climate Solutions, Singapore, 26 January 2021.