David Cleary
Director, Global Agriculture, The Nature Conservancy

Doctorate in anthropology from Oxford University in 1988, on the social organization of informal sector mining camps in the Amazon, followed by research posts at the universities of Edinburgh, Cambridge and Harvard. He then returned to Brazil for four years to direct an EU-funded project assessing mercury contamination linked to gold mining in the Brazilian Amazon. Joined The Nature Conservancy in 1999, where he set up the Conservancy’s Amazon program. Subsequently based in Rio de Janeiro as director of conservation strategy for Latin America, leading work with the private sector, especially agribusiness, with a focus on eliminating deforestation from supply chains in the beef and soy industries. Returning to the USA in 2010, he took up a new position as the Conservancy’s director of global agriculture, where he has helped the organization develop a sustainable intensification approach to food security, and assisted corporate partners in thinking through land-use issues. He is responsible for supporting and coordinating the Conservancy’s work on agriculture in Africa, China and Latin America, with a strong focus on soil health, water issues and habitat conservation, while continuing to supervise the Conservancy’s work on deforestation. He is the author of several books and articles on development and environmental issues, but was also the first author of the Rough Guide to Brazil.  He moved to his native London in 2019.

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