Christopher Crawford

Postdoctoral Research Associate
STEP Ph.D. '22
Office Phone
311 Robertson Hall

I am an interdisciplinary conservation scientist studying how broad transitions in agricultural land use affect the environment. Some of my research interests include (1) land abandonment as a low-cost opportunity to restore biodiversity and sequester carbon on unused farms, and (2) biodiversity metrics and prioritization methods to minimize the environmental impact of agricultural expansion.

I defended my dissertation in the STEP program in Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs in May 2022, and earned a BS in ecology & evolutionary biology from the University of Michigan in 2012. Prior to graduate school, I worked at the California NGO Sustainable Conservation on collaborative projects to (1) stop the sale of invasive plants in horticulture and (2) reduce regulatory and financial barriers preventing river restoration in California’s Central Valley. Learn more at

Selected Publications

Crawford CL, Yin H, Radeloff VC, & Wilcove DS (2022). Rural land abandonment is too ephemeral to provide major benefits for biodiversity and climate. Science Advances, 8(21). 

Crawford CL, Estes LD, Searchinger TD, & Wilcove DS (2021). Consequences of underexplored variation in biodiversity indices used for land‐use prioritization. Ecological Applications, 31(7). 

Crawford CL, Volenec ZM, Sisanya M, Kibet R, & Rubenstein DI (2018). Behavioral and Ecological Implications of Bunched, Rotational Cattle Grazing in an East African Savanna Ecosystem. Rangeland Ecology & Management. 72(1).