Diego Herrera



Areas of expertise:
Environmental economics, forest and wetland conservation, impact evaluation

Diego Herrera is an environmental economist with interests in forest protection policies, impact evaluation and conservation finance. Diego supports the Climate and Energy and Ecosystems programs providing economic analysis to mobilize finance for reducing tropical deforestation in Brazil and other countries, as well as supporting wetland restoration efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.


Diego’s research interests focus on the evaluation of conservation policies’ environmental and socioeconomic impacts, to inform both conservation and development planning. Prior to joining EDF, Diego held a postdoctoral research position at the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, University of Vermont, where he studied the human health impacts of forest conservation in priority watersheds across 49 developing countries. Diego’s doctoral dissertation work at Duke University was on the evaluation of Brazilian Amazon protected areas’ local deforestation spillovers as well as their underlying mechanisms, focusing on human migrations and the expansion of road networks.


Herrera, D., Pfaff, A. and Robalino, J. 2019. “Impacts of Protected Areas Vary with the Level of Government: Comparing Avoided Deforestation Across Agencies in the Brazilian Amazon.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,  201802877. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1802877116.

Naidoo, R., Gerkey, D., Hole, D., Pfaff, A., Ellis, A., Golden, C., Herrera, D., Johnson, K., Mulligan, M., Ricketts, T., Fisher, B., 2019. “Evaluating the Impacts of Protected Areas on Human Well-Being Across the Developing World”. Science Advances. 5: eaav3006. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aav3006

Fisher, B., Herrera, D., et al. 2019.  “Can Nature Deliver on Sustainable Development Goals?”. The Lancet Planetary Health. Volume 3, Issue 3,  e112-e113. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(18)30281-X

Herrera, D., Cunniff, S., DuPont, C., Cohen, B., Gangi, D., Kar, D., Peyronnin Snider, N., Rojas, V., Wyerman, J., Norriss, J., Moutenot, M. 2019. Designing an Environmental Impact Bond for Wetland Restoration in Louisiana. Ecosystem Services. Volume 35, 260-276. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212041618302882?dgcid=author 

Herrera, D., Ellis, A., Fisher, B., Golden, C. Johnson, K., Mulligan, M., Pfaff, A., Treuer, T., and Ricketts, T. 2017. “Watershed Condition Predicts Children’s Health across 35 Developing Countries”. Nature Communications 8: 811. doi:10.1038/s41467-017-00775-2

Sonter, L., Herrera, D., Barret, D., Galfor, G., Moran, C., Soares-Filho, B. 2017. “Mining drives extensive deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon”. Nature Communications 8:1013. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00557-w

Sills, E., Herrera, D., Kirkpatrick, J., Brandão, A Jr., Dickson, R., Hall, S., et al. 2015. “Estimating the Impacts of Local Policy Innovation: The Synthetic Control Method Applied to Tropical Deforestation”. PLoS ONE 10(7): e0132590. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0132590

Pfaff, A., Robalino, J., Herrera, D. and Sandoval, C. 2015. “’Protected Areas’ Impacts on Brazilian Amazon Deforestation: Examining Conservation-Development Interactions To Inform Planning”. PLoS ONE 10(7): e0129460. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0129460

Pfaff, A., Robalino, J., Sandoval, C. and Herrera, D. 2015. “Protected Area Types, Strategies, and Impacts in Brazil’s Amazon: Public Protected Area Strategies Do Not Yield a Consistent Ranking of Protected Area Types by Impact”. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences 370(1681).

Pfaff, A., Robalino, J., Lima, E., Sandoval, C., and Herrera, D. 2013. “Governance, Location and Avoided Deforestation from Protected Areas: Greater Restrictions can Have Lower Impact, Due to Differences in Location”. World Development 55:7-20.