Amy Vedder


Photo of Amy Vedder


Tel: 203-436-5276

Faculty Support
Julie Cohen, 203 432-8467

Mailing Address
Yale School of Forestry &
Environmental Studies
195 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511



PhD in Zoology, Univ Wisconsin-Madison MSc, Univ Wisconsin-Madison B.A. in Biology, Swarthmore College


Dr. Amy Vedder worked as a practitioner of international wildlife and wild lands conservation for 35 years before coming to Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in 2013.   She undertook a variety of roles, having conducted ecological research, conceived and directed comprehensive projects and continent-wide programs, and advised governments and non-governmental organizations on conservation strategies and policies.   This range of experience provides Dr. Vedder with a strong appreciation for interdisciplinary science, yet also the essential importance of reconciling local, national and international interests in conservation initiatives.


Amy Vedder’s early research focused on wildlife ecology, with a minor in vegetation ecology.  Her ecological studies of mountain gorillas and Angolan colobus, combined with the socio-economic work of her colleague Dr. Bill Weber, led to their launch of pioneering ecotourism and community outreach programs in Rwanda and Burundi to help conserve multiple montane forests and their highly endangered and endemic fauna.


Dr. Vedder has since served as program director for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Africa Program (directing field projects in 21 countries), Biodiversity unit (serving as the representative to the Global Environment Facility and U.S. Agency for International Development), and Living Landscapes Program (designing and promoting project strategies, monitoring, and technical support across the globe).   More recently she served as the Senior Technical Advisor for the GEF/UNDP, advising the Government of Rwanda on strengthening their national parks, and then Senior Vice President for Conservation at The Wilderness Society, concentrating on conserving the wilds of the U.S.  Major subjects of focus during her management internationally and nationally include issues of local participation and governance, recognition of conservation values (monetized and non-monetized), landscape approaches, large-impact development (oil and gas, logging), and the politics of wilderness designation.   


Dr. Vedder is a co-editor of African Rain Forest Ecology and Conservation (Yale Univ Press) and co-author of In the Kingdom of Gorillas (Simon & Schuster), in addition to authoring scientific articles and speaking to academic and public audiences.  She first served at Yale FES as a Dorothy McCluskey Fellow, currently teaches two spring term conservation-in-practice seminars with Dr. Weber, and with him co-leads a conservation study tour in Rwanda each May.