Incubator » Our Team

Core Incubator Staff


Key Regional Partner Staff



Jacob Olander
Director, Katoomba Group Ecosystem Services Incubator
Email - jolander(at)

Jacob has lived and worked in Latin America for 20 years developing initiatives creating economic benefits for communities, businesses and organizations engaged in biodiversity conservation. He has been active in forest-based climate change policy and project development for nearly 15 years.  Co-founder, with Marta Echavarria, of EcoDecisión, a Latin American firm which is a recognized regional leader in conservation finance, carbon and payment for ecosystem services.  Extensive and effective experience working with diverse clients and stakeholders including civil society organizations, community groups, private sector, multilateral institutions and national governments. Based in Quito, Ecuador, Jacob manages the Ecosystem Services Incubator of the Tropical Americas Katoomba Group.
Phil Covell
Business Analyst, Katoomba Group’s Ecosystem Services Incubator
Tel. - 202-446-1977
Email - pcovell(at)

Phil joined Forest Trends’ Katoomba Group, bringing over 20 years of experience in the development and financing of environmental enterprises in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.  He has been a Budget Manager at the US Peace Corps, a founding Director of fund manager Triodos PV Partners, Executive Director of Enersol Associates, Inc., and Chief Financial Officer of Soluz, Inc.  He holds a Bachelor's of International Studies from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, VT, and an MBA from the University of California, Davis.

Joerg Seifert-Granzin
Senior Technical Advisor Ecosystem Services, Katoomba Group's Ecosystem Services Incubator
Tel. - +591-77388280 or +49-151-54691254
Email - jseifert(at)
Joerg is a senior economist specialized in spatiotemporal analysis and valuation of environmental services. He has more than 15 years of experience in economic research on developing countries. Currently, he is advising different activities reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) of Forest Trends-Katoomba Group. Having been recruited as an integrated expert by the German Development Cooperation (GTZ), Mr. Seifert-Granzin coordinated the scientific and technical development of remote sensing, biomass measurement, and econometric modeling tools facilitating the implementation of national and subnational REDDs schemes in Bolivia and Cameroon.  Apart, he supervised subnational adaptation activities in the Bolivian lowlands. As FAN Bolivia’s Coordinator of Noel Kempff Mercado Climate Action Project he guided the certification process, revised the methodologies applied and edited the Project Design Document. Together with FAN’s environmental services’ team he conducted research on hydrological services and designed projects to conserve them.
Rebecca Ashley Asare
Coordinator, West Africa Katoomba Incubator for Ecosystem Services

Tel.: +233-243-709369
Email: rasare(at)

Rebecca is the Coordinator of the West Africa Katoomba Incubator.  She joined the Forest Trends team in August 2009, brining ten years of research and work experience on agroforestry, community-based natural resource management, and conservation in Africa.  Prior to joining the Incubator, Rebecca completed her doctoral thesis on the biophysical and social dynamics driving cocoa farm establishment and shade management in Ghana.   She has conducted policy and social research with the World Agroforestry Centre on agroforestry in buffer zones across the continent, and worked with WWF on a community conservation project in Cote d’Ivoire.  Rebecca served as a rural water and sanitation specialist with the U.S. Peace Corps in Cote d’Ivoire.  She holds a B.A. in Political Science from Colgate University, in Hamilton, NY.  She received her Master’s in Environmental Science from Yale University, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and earned a Ph.D. in Social Ecology from Yale University, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

Michael Richards
Naural Resources Economist
Tel. - +44 1993 779133; Email - mrichards(at)

Michael is a natural resources economist with over 30 years research and development experience in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Currently based in the UK, he is working primarily in support of the Katoomba Group work in West and East Africa, and on the development of social impact assessment methods for multiple-benefit carbon projects. Previous experience includes 8 years as a Research Fellow with the UK Overseas Development Institute, and long-term assignments in Ghana, Honduras, Malawi, Mexico and Sri Lanka working in smallholder agriculture, forestry and rural development. He has worked extensively on policy, institutional and methodology issues around payments for ecoystem services, participatory forest management and economic incentives for sustainable forestry management (SFM). He holds a PhD from the University of Glamorgan in Wales, an MSc in Agricultural Economics from University of London, and a BA in Land Economy from University of Cambridge.
David Tepper
Executive Management Team Member, Forest Trends
Email - dtepper(at)
David Tepper is a member of the Executive management team for Forest Trends. David started his career at Merrill Lynch where he spent twelve years working on corporate finance and acquisition transactions in Europe and the US.  He now is one of the leading investors in the carbon markets and was responsible for the carbon finance team that managed over $1billion for Climate Change Capital from 2005 to 2007 and during that time invested over $800m in carbon reduction projects. Over the last few years he has been focused on using carbon finance to accelerate land restoration, conservation and sustainable land use around the world. David is an expert on structuring private sector finance with emerging climate change regulatory and voluntary markets. He advises governments, multi-laterals project developers, and private investors on the design of terrestrial carbon finance opportunities. David is developing public private sector mechanisms and financial architecture in the emerging REDD markets and is also the Managing Partner of The Earth Partners, a North American-based ecological developer, using carbon finance to facilitate landscape-level restoration.  The Earth Partners has developed a soil quantification methodology and has been testing the method and its applications on low carbon farming and land restoration projects at the landscape level on a number of projects around the world. David also advises billionaire family offices on investment opportunities in sustainable land use and carbon markets.

Frank Hicks
Manager, Africa, The Katoomba Incubator

Frank Hicks is Manager for Africa of the Katoomba Group Incubator Initiative at Forest Trends. In this role, Frank is responsible for leading and strengthening the Incubator projects in East and West Africa and for developing a strategy for growth and coordination with other partner organizations’ initiatives in the region. Frank also works as a consultant for Bio-Logical Capital. Prior to working with Bio-Logical Capital, Frank was Director of the Business Development Facility at Forest Trends. He also was Director of the Sustainable Agriculture Program at Rainforest Alliance, and Vice President with Organic Commodity Products, an organic chocolate company based in San José, Costa Rica. Frank has also worked as Program Manager for TechnoServe in Ghana. He was the regional representative based in the Philippines for the Biodiversity Conservation Network and worked as a Program Officer with the Ford Foundation based in Nigeria and New York City. He is currently a board member of Root Capital  and a former board member of the Nature Conservancy’s EcoEnterprises Fund and a former advisor to Ecoagriculture Partners. He is also a founder of SourceTrace Systems, a company that develops software applications for remote micro-finance and agricultural supply chain transactions. Frank earned a master’s degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, with a focus on international development, and a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in Human Biology.

Gena Gammie
Program Associate, Katoomba Incubator

Gena is a Program Associate with the Katoomba Incubator and also works closely with Forest Trends’ emerging portfolio of freshwater-focused projects and analyses. Gena holds an MSc in Environmental Policy & Regulation from the London School of Economics, where she did her dissertation on stakeholder engagement for sustainable watershed management. Prior to joining Forest Trends, Gena conducted regional, federal, and international climate policy analysis at ICLEI USA - Local Governments for Sustainability. Her experience also includes work in London supporting McKinsey & Company’s Sustainability and Resource Productivity practice, where she helped to communicate the firm’s work in such areas as carbon economics and sustainable biofuels. She received her BA in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University in 2009.

The Incubator works with strategic local partners supported in stable, ongoing relationships to develop regional capacity. These currently include Nature Conservation Research Centre (West Africa), Instituto de Conservação e Desenvolvimento Sustentável do Amazonas - IDESAM (Brazil) and EcoDecisión (Andean region), with staff working in close collaboration with the Incubator on project development.

Nature Conservation Research Center (West Africa)
John Mason
Founder & Executive Director, Nature Conservation Research Center (NCRC)
Tel: (233)21-231765
Email - jjmason999(at)
John J. Mason, a Canadian citizen, is Founder and Executive Director of the Nature Conservation Research Centre (NCRC) - the leading conservation NGO in West Africa.  Having been born and raised in Nigeria, Mason has been based in Ghana for 25 years and is regarded as one of the leading voices for local participation in conservation initiatives in West Africa. An advocate of local ownership of biodiversity conservation processes, he has worked with communities, traditional leadership, governments and civil society in Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone to develop conservation initiatives that are owned and managed by forest communities.  He pioneered the development of the highly successful Community Protected Areas model which is being adapted to address the challenges of delivering community benefits under PES and REDD initiatives. He is in demand as a speaker at international conferences and a frequent instructor at specialist workshops.  He is a member of the IUCN African Elephant Specialist Group and regularly provides expert advice to various international development organizations and governments in Africa.  He holds three degrees from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, University of Waterloo and University of Guelph in Canada.
James Agyei-Ohemeng
West Africa Katoomba Incubator, Technical Officer, NCRC
Phone: +233244721985 or +233265187550
Email: jaohemeng(at)
James Agyei-Ohemeng joined the West Africa Katoomba Incubator in July 2009 as the Technical Officer.  He is a biology graduate from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, and a trained Wildlife Ecologist from the College of African Wildlife Management, in Mweka, Tanzania, where he specialized in habitat and range improvement.  James has worked extensively in most of Ghana's Wildlife protected areas as a Park Manager.  He also taught Wildlife Management at the College of Renewable Natural Resources in Ghana, and has been part of several scientific missions on wildlife studies in Ghana's protected areas.  Prior to joining the Incubator, James worked as the Regional Coordinator of the Rural Environmental Empowerment Project (REEP), a project supported by the European Union in 5 districts of the Brong Ahafo Region, Ghana.  He also worked with the Nature Conservation Research Centre (NCRC) in Ghana, where he specialized in community development and external relations.

Winston Adams Asante
West Africa Katoomba Incubator, Forest Soil Carbon Sampling Officer, NCRC
Phone: +233243143375
Email: winstonasante(at)

Winston Adams Asante joined the West Africa Katoomba Incubator at the start of 2010.  As part of the Incubator’s Ghana Carbon Map Project, he serves as the Forest and Soil Carbon Sampling Officer.   Winston is also a doctoral candidate at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana where he has submitted his thesis on soil disturbance and forest recovery following logging in Ghana. Winston has worked extensively on the Quantification, Understanding and Prediction of Carbon Cycle and Other GHG Gases in Sub-Saharan Africa (CARBOAFICA) project in the moist tropical forests of Ghana.  He consulted for IUCN-Burkina Faso on carbon estimation for CDM project development, and he has worked as a facilitator with Conservation Foundation, in partnership with CARE International- Ghana, on cocoa agroforestry projects to promote shaded cocoa farming.

Instituto de Conservação e Desenvolvimento Sustentável do Amazonas - IDESAM (Brazil)

Mariano Cenamo
Executive Director, General Coordinator of the Climate Change Program, IDESAM
Project Coordinator, Katoomba Group Incubator in Brazil
E-mail: mariano(at)
Phone: +55 92 3642 5698

Mariano is a forester at the University of Sao Paulo (ESALQ/USP), and has large experience on working with forest carbon projects over the last ten years. In 2005 Mariano founded the NGO IDESAM, in the city of Manaus. Since then, he has been involved in many projects and initiatives related to REDD and forest conservation, providing consultancy and support to institutions like the World Bank, Government of Amazonas, Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS), Katoomba Group, AVINA, IPAM, TNC, and others. Mariano has been an active participant in the UNFCCC meetings since 2000, and has large experience on working with project design and implementation in both energy and forest carbon projects.  As special advisor of the Secretary for Environment and Sustainable Development of the Amazonas State, from 2005 to 2008, Mariano had an important role on the construction of the Amazonas State Policy for Climate Change (PEMC-AM), which has brought the Amazonas State into a leading position worldwide in terms of climate change mitigation and forest conservation. Recently Mariano has coordinated the construction of the Project Design Document (PDD) of the Juma REDD Project, and its validation under the Climate Community and Biodiversity Standards (CCB) – which was the first REDD project implemented in the Brazil, and the first in the world to get the CCB “Gold Status” on its validation.
Mariana Nogueira Pavan
Program Coordinator: Climate Change Program, IDESAM
Project Developer: Katoomba Group Incubator/ IDESAM Partnership
Email: mn.pavan(at)

Mariana graduated in Forest Engineering at the University of São Paulo (ESALQ/USP), and has been working at IDESAM since 2007, mainly on the climate change program. Mariana has strong experience on research and project design and development for climate change mitigation and payment for ecosystem services (PES), focusing on CDM and REDD, specifically in relation to policy design and international negotiations, as well as capacity building and training – where she’s been coordinating several courses, trainings and conferences.  For the past two years Mariana has been participating in the UNFCCC COPs and other related meetings and workshops, both nationally and internationally, presenting IDESAM’s activities and projects.  Mariana had also an important role on the development and validation of the Juma Project, working as executive project officer.
Pedro Gandolfo Soares
Project Assistant – Climate Change Program, IDESAM
Email: pedro.soares(at)

Pedro Gandolfo Soares is an undergraduate student at University of São Paulo (ESALQ/USP), and permanent project assistant at IDESAM. Since 2005 Pedro has been working actively with climate changes issues, focused on the Clean Development Mechanism, feasibility studies of forestry carbon projects and mechanisms related to the voluntary carbon markets, also participating on projects related to payment for environmental services (PES) especially at basins located at state of São Paulo. Recently, Pedro has started working with IDESAM in the construction of innovative methodologies and technical concepts related to REDD Projects at the Brazilian Amazon. Pedro has also been participating in discussions of PES strategies applied to settlements and protected areas at the State of Amazonas.

Gabriel Cardoso Carrero
Research Coordinator – Climate Change, IDESAM

Project Developer/ Co-Coordinator: Katoomba Group Incubator/ IDESAM Partnership
Email: gabriel.carrero(at)

Gabriel is a BSc in Biology (Federal University of Santa Catarina-UFSC) with a gDip in Environmental Management in Forest Ecosystems (Federal University of Lavras-UFLA) and Masters in Ecology (National Institute for Research in the Amazon-INPA). Gabriel will be the main focal point in the KG Incubator/ IDESAM partnership. Working with IDESAM since 2007, Gabriel has a strong focus on scientific research related to deforestation dynamics in the Amazon and forest carbon accounting and monitoring, but also has deep experience working with projects and policy design and development. Gabriel participates in several projects regarding Forest and Climate Change issues, mostly with REDD and Payment for Environmental Services. Among these projects, he had a very important participation on the Juma RED Project, and is working on the development of a new project integrating REDD and A/R in the Apuí region – southern Amazonas.

EcoDecisión (Andean region)

Marta Echavarría
Project Director, EcoDecisión
Email: mechavarria[at]

Marta has worked in the design, negotiation and development of financial and institutional mechanisms for watershed conservation and protection. She has also led the development of environmental management programs with various agroindustrial sectors in Colombia, Guatemala and Ecuador. Marta is part of the Advisory Committee of the Ecosystem Marketplace since 2008 and the Steering Committee of the Tropical America Katoomba Group since 2006. She was selected Rainer Arnhold Fellow by the Mulago Foundation In 2007 and a Senior Fellow by Ashoka Foundation in 2006. She was a member of the Board of Fundación Natura in Ecuador from 2004-2008. Marta holds a Master´s in Development Studies and a B.A. in Environment Studies from Brown University.

Margaret Stern
Independent Consultant, EcoDecisión

Margaret Stern is a tropical forest ecologist with a Ph.D. (1992) in Evolution and Ecology from the University of California, Davis.  She is a US citizen, resident in Ecuador, with 27 years experience studying tropical ecosystems and conducting applied research on topics related to environmental conservation and management of natural resources, particularly in Andean and Amazonian countries.  Dr. Stern is an independent consultant based near Quito and has carried out field studies and project assessments for the public and private sector in Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador.  She has published on the social and environmental impacts of illegal mahogany logging in Ecuador and Peru, and is a recognized specialist on the ecology of American bamboos.  Her recent research includes territorial  mapping and land use planning with indigenous and colonist communities, forest resource management (timber and NTFPs), experimental estimation of carbon biomass in bamboo plantations, restoration of landslide sites (central Andes) and coastal (Ecuador) forested ecosystems.