Maron E. Greenleaf

Academic Appointments

Assistant Professor
Affiliate of Ecology, Evolution, Environment & Society (EEES) PhD Program

I am a sociocultural anthropologist, political ecologist, and legal scholar studying intersections of the environment and economy. I examine how people interact with, understand, and govern the worlds around them and the kinds of economic and cultural values this engenders. In particular, I examine efforts to create “green economies” and the political practices, aspirations, and forms of inclusion and exclusion they create.

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Rural landscapes are a particular focus of my work, particularly forests and mines. I'm currently completing a research project that examines the cultural and political dynamics of enlisting capitalism to address climate change. It is an ethnography of forest protection and forest carbon valuation in the Brazilian Amazon—a landscape that is environmentally and culturally vital, threatened by deforestation and violence, and pioneering this form of climate mitigation (known as REDD+). Critical scholarship has documented the sociopolitical effects of carbon’s extraction via fossil fuels. In this project, I ask what happens culturally, politically, and socially when the aim is instead to keep carbon in the earth and the trees that grow from it. I'm currently developing a new project on reforestation and the Trillion Trees Initiative.

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Silsby 413A
HB 6047
B.A. Yale University
J.D. NYU School of Law
Ph. D. Stanford University

Selected Publications

Greenleaf, Maron. 2021. “Beneficiaries of Forest Carbon: Precarious Inclusion in the Brazilian Amazon.” American Anthropologist.

Mendoza, Marcos, Maron Greenleaf, and Eric Thomas. 2021 “Green Distributive Politics:  Legitimizing Green Capitalism and Environmental Protection in Latin America.” Geoforum.

Greenleaf, Maron. “Forest urbanism: Urban forest life and rural forest death in the Brazilian Amazon.” In Fire Storm: Critical Approaches to Forest Death and Life, Hot Spot essay series for Society Cultural Anthropology, edited by David Gilbert and Maron Greenleaf

Greenleaf, Maron. 2020. “Rubber and Carbon: Opportunity Costs, Incentives and Ecosystem Services in Acre, Brazil.” Development and Change.

Greenleaf, Maron. 2020. “The Value of the Untenured Forest: Land Rights, Green Labor, and Forest Carbon in the Brazilian Amazon.” Journal of Peasant Studies

Works in progress

Greenleaf, Maron. Forest Lost: Valuing Carbon in the Brazilian Amazon. (Book manuscript)

Selected other writing

Greenleaf, Maron. 2019. "California Polluters May Soon Be Able to Buy Carbon ‘Offsets’ from the Amazon—is that Ethical?” The Conversation, September 26, 2019. 

Greenleaf, Maron and Amelia Moore. 2016. "2015 Rappaport Student Prize Winner Maron Greenleaf Interviewed by Amelia Moore.” Anthropology News.