Spencer Phillips is a natural resource economist with more than 20 years’ experience helping people, communities, and institutions understand and attain the benefits of improved land stewardship. He seeks science-based policy and market solutions that foster positive, sustainable connections between community, economic, and ecosystem health. His current research portfolio focuses on the assessment ecosystem service value, especially as impacted by climate change, public land and resource management, and water quality improvement, and on the economic development implications of land stewardship. He brings a collaborative, participatory approach to research projects. His particular strength is in working with clients and stakeholders to understand the ecological-economic and policy interactions, and then to design and execute high-leverage, strategic research to guide and advance policy and development solutions.
Phillips is adjunct faculty at the University of Virginia, where he lectures in microeconomics, ecological economics, natural resource policy, and spatial analysis for public policy, and in Goucher College’s graduate programs in Environmental Studies and Cultural Sustainability. He has previously served the cause of conservation in a variety of research and organizational leadership roles at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, The Wilderness Society, Northwoods Stewardship Center, and the Northeast Wilderness Trust. He holds a B.A. in economics from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Applied Economics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and he is the first recipient of the Edward Ames Award for Scholarship and Conservation Advocacy.
Backpacking on a snowy Mt. Rogers in 1983 re-connected Spencer to wildlands and sparked his passion for exploring the intersections of wilderness with human spiritual and economic development. Whenever possible, he continues that exploration by skiing, hunting, canoeing, fly-fishing and hiking.