Norm Christensen is Research Professor of Ecology and Founding Dean of Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment. He earned his undergraduate and masters degrees in biology at California State University and his doctorate at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Ecosystem change from both natural and human causes has been a central theme in Norm's career. His research includes studies of the causes and consequences of fire in grasslands, shrublands and forests, of the impacts of human land use and land abandonment on ecosystem change and species conservation, and of the influence of global warming patterns of ecosystem change.
Norm has worked on numerous national advisory committees, including the Interagency Taskforce on the Ecological Effects of the 1988 Yellowstone Fire, the Committee on Environmental Issues in Pacific Northwest Forest Management, the Ecological Society of America Committee on the Scientific Basis for Ecosystem Management, and the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board. He has served on the boards of The Conservation Fund, Resources for the Future, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the North Carolina Nature Conservancy. He is a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science and past President of the Ecological Society of America.