Lian Pin Koh

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Lian Pin Koh
Lian Pin Koh.jpg
Lian Pin Koh in May 2015
Alma materPrinceton University (Ph.D.), National University of Singapore (B.Sc., M.Sc.)
OrganizationConservation International
Known forConservation biology, TED talk
AwardsWorld Economic Forum Young Global Leader 2013

Lian Pin Koh (born 1976 in Singapore) is a conservation biologist based in the United States. He works for Conservation International as Principal (Vice President), Science Partnerships and Innovation.

Koh is also an Adjunct Professor and Chair of Applied Ecology and Conservation at the University of Adelaide, and Founding Director of

Throughout his career, Koh has received multiple awards including the Australian Research Council Future Fellowship, the Swiss National Science Foundation Professorship, and was also named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader in 2013.


Koh was awarded a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology by Princeton University in 2008[1]. Following that, he received Post-Doctoral training at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Switzerland (ETH Zurich). In 2011, Koh was appointed an Assistant Professor by the Swiss National Science Foundation.[2]

In 2014, he was recruited by the University of Adelaide in Australia to take on the position of Associate Professor of Applied Ecology & Conservation. He was subsequently awarded the prestigious Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (Level II).[3], and was promoted to full Professor in 2017[4]. Koh helped set up and served as Director of two University research centers: the Centre for Applied Conservation Science, and the Unmanned Research Aircraft Facility.

In 2018, Koh left academia and joined Conservation International.


Koh is an applied ecologist whose notable scientific contributions include the study of species co-extinctions[5] and modeling the environmental impacts of industrial agriculture across the tropics.[6]

His research focuses on developing the Science and Science-based decision support tools to help reconcile society’s growing consumptive needs with environmental protection[7]. He addresses this challenge through field studies[8] and experiments[9], computer simulations and modelling[10], as well as by co-opting emerging technologies for use in environmental research and applications[11][12].

Geographically his research is focused on the developing tropics where population growth is most rapid, the people are poorest, and biodiversity is richest and yet most threatened globally.

Koh has partnered with nongovernmental organisations, policymakers, industry players, social scientists, environmental economists, computer engineers and software developers. He has co-authored scientific publications with more than 100 colleagues from over 20 nations, and from top research institutions, including Harvard University, Princeton University, Yale University, Stanford University, Cambridge University, ETH Zurich, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.


Koh has published over 115 articles[13] in journals, including Nature[14], Science[15], and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA[16].

His research has received over 12,000 citations by his peers (with an h-index of >50)[17]. Koh’s work has real and significant impacts in both academia and civil society. He was bestowed the honor of a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2013, for “... his record of professional accomplishments, commitment to society and potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world through his inspiring leadership”. Koh joins other leaders across the realms of politics, business, and the arts, including actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Koh is a pioneer in the use of low-cost drone technology for environmental applications[18]. He is Founding Director of, a non-profit organisation that seeks to introduce drone technology to scientists and conservationists worldwide. has received numerous awards and media coverage (>650,000 visits to its website)[19].

Koh was a speaker at the 2013 TED-Global conference in Edinburgh, where he spoke on the positive use of drones[20]. His TED talk has been viewed over 600,000 times by a global audience.


Koh is a regular plenary speaker at numerous international meetings, including the WWF Fuller Symposium in Washington D.C. in 2012[21], the Clinton Global Initiative University in Florida in 2013[22], and the Intergovernmental Eye on Earth Summit in Abu Dhabi in 2015[23].

He is passionate about the communication of Science to the public, as evidenced by numerous and regular features on his work by international media, including the New York Times[24], Smithsonian Magazine[25], Scientific American[26], NewScientist[27], the Telegraph[28], among others.


Since leaving Singapore in 2004, Koh has lived in Princeton (New Jersey), Zurich (Switzerland), Adelaide (Australia), and Seattle (Washington).


  1. ^ "Meet the Team".
  2. ^ "Swissplantscience: Home".
  3. ^ "Future Fellowships". 27 February 2014.
  4. ^ "Lian Pin Koh | Researcher Profiles".
  5. ^ Koh, L. P. (10 September 2004). "Species Coextinctions and the Biodiversity Crisis". Science. 305 (5690): 1632–1634. doi:10.1126/science.1101101.
  6. ^ Koh, Lian Pin; Wilcove, David S. (30 August 2007). "Cashing in palm oil for conservation". Nature. 448 (7157): 993–994. doi:10.1038/448993a.
  7. ^ Koh, L. P.; Ghazoul, J. (28 May 2010). "Spatially explicit scenario analysis for reconciling agricultural expansion, forest protection, and carbon conservation in Indonesia". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 107 (24): 11140–11144. doi:10.1073/pnas.1000530107. PMC 2890708.
  8. ^ Koh, Lian Pin (August 2008). "Can oil palm plantations be made more hospitable for forest butterflies and birds?". Journal of Applied Ecology. 45 (4): 1002–1009. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2664.2008.01491.x.
  9. ^ Koh, Lian Pin (June 2008). "BIRDS DEFEND OIL PALMS FROM HERBIVOROUS INSECTS". Ecological Applications. 18 (4): 821–825. doi:10.1890/07-1650.1.
  10. ^ KOH, LIAN PIN; GHAZOUL, JABOURY (5 March 2010). "A Matrix-Calibrated Species-Area Model for Predicting Biodiversity Losses Due to Land-Use Change". Conservation Biology. 24 (4): 994–1001. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01464.x.
  11. ^ "".
  12. ^ van Andel, Alexander C.; Wich, Serge A.; Boesch, Christophe; Koh, Lian Pin; Robbins, Martha M.; Kelly, Joseph; Kuehl, Hjalmar S. (October 2015). "Locating chimpanzee nests and identifying fruiting trees with an unmanned aerial vehicle". American Journal of Primatology. 77 (10): 1122–1134. doi:10.1002/ajp.22446.
  13. ^ "Lian Pin Koh - Google Scholar Citations".
  14. ^ Gibson, Luke; Lee, Tien Ming; Koh, Lian Pin; Brook, Barry W.; Gardner, Toby A.; Barlow, Jos; Peres, Carlos A.; Bradshaw, Corey J. A.; Laurance, William F.; Lovejoy, Thomas E.; Sodhi, Navjot S. (18 December 2013). "Corrigendum: Primary forests are irreplaceable for sustaining tropical biodiversity". Nature. 505 (7485): 710–710. doi:10.1038/nature12933.
  15. ^ Bawa, K. S.; Koh, L. P.; Lee, T. M.; Liu, J.; Ramakrishnan, P. S.; Yu, D. W.; Zhang, Y.-p.; Raven, P. H. (18 March 2010). "China, India, and the Environment". Science. 327 (5972): 1457–1459. doi:10.1126/science.1185164.
  16. ^ Phelps, J.; Carrasco, L. R.; Webb, E. L.; Koh, L. P.; Pascual, U. (15 April 2013). "Agricultural intensification escalates future conservation costs". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 110 (19): 7601–7606. doi:10.1073/pnas.1220070110. PMC 3651457.
  17. ^ "Lian Pin Koh - Google Scholar Citations".
  18. ^ Koh, Lian Pin. "A drone's-eye view of conservation".
  19. ^ "".
  20. ^ Koh, Lian Pin. "A drone's-eye view of conservation".
  21. ^ "Speakers | Pages | WWF". World Wildlife Fund.
  22. ^ "CGI University 2015 - Agenda Day 2". Clinton Foundation.
  23. ^ "Eye on Earth Summit 2015 to be held under royal patronage of The President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan | Eye On Earth".
  24. ^ Gorman, James (21 July 2014). "Drones on a Different Mission". The New York Times.
  25. ^ Siber, Kate. "The One Use of Drones Everyone Can Agree on, Except for Poachers". Smithsonian.
  26. ^ Platt, John R. "Eye in the Sky: Drones Help Conserve Sumatran Orangutans and Other Wildlife". Scientific American Blog Network.
  27. ^ "Tropical forests axed in favour of palm oil". New Scientist.
  28. ^ Wood, By Ian. "Palm oil boycott will not protect rainforests".