Seth Spawn-Lee

Credentials: Postdoc 2023 - Present

Phone: spawn @

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Agroecology; Land use and conservation; Natural Climate Solutions and climate change mitigation; Geographies of carbon stocks and fluxes; Agriculture, bioenergy, and conservation policy; Satellite remote sensing; Geospatial Big Data

Current Projects

  • Food, energy, and water sustainability of the Upper Mississippi River Basin
  • Climate change mitigation opportunities of the U.S. Conservation Reserve Program
  • Improving representation of carbon stocks and fluxes in Integrative Assessment Models.

Selected Publications

Lark, T.J., N.P. Hendricks, A. Smith, N. Pates, S.A. Spawn-Lee, M. Bougie, E.G. Booth, C.J. Kucharik, H.K. Gibbs. Environmental outcomes of the US Renewable Fuel Standard. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2022) doi: 10.1073/pnas.2101084119
Sun, Z., L. Scherer, A. Tukker, S.A. Spawn-Lee, M. Bruckner, H.K. Gibbs, P. Behrens. Dietary change in high-income nations alone can lead to substantial double climate dividend. Nature Food (2022) doi: 10.1038/s43016-021-00431-5
Noon M.L. A. Goldstein, J.C. Ledezma, P.R. Roehrdanz, S.C. Cook-Patton, S.A. Spawn-Lee, T.M. Wright, M. Gonzalez-Roglich, D.G. Hole, J. Rockstrom, W.R. Turner. Mapping the irrecoverable carbon in Earth’s ecosystems. Nature Sustainability (2022) doi: 10.1038/s41893-021-00803-6
Spawn-Lee, S.A., T.J. Lark, H.K. Gibbs, R.A. Houghton, C.J. Kucharik, C. Malins, R.E.O. Pelton, G.P. Robertson. Comment on ‘Carbon intensity of corn ethanol in the United States: state of the science’. Environmental Research Letters (2021) doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/ac2e35
Pelton, R.E.O., S.A. Spawn-Lee, T.J. Lark, T. Kim, N. Springer, P. Hawthorne, D.K. Ray, J. Schmitt. Land use leverage points to reduce GHG emissions in US agricultural supply chains. Environmental Research Letters (2021) doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/ac2775
Drever, C.R., S.C. Cook-Patton, F. Akhter, … S.A. Spawn et alNatural climate solutions for Canada. Science Advances (2021) doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abd6034
Lark, T.J., S.A. Spawn, M. Bougie, H.K. Gibbs. Cropland expansion in the United States produces marginal yields at high costs to wildlife. Nature Communications (2020) doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-18045-z
Spawn, S.A., C.C. Sullivan, T.J. Lark, H.K. Gibbs. Harmonized global maps of above and belowground biomass carbon density in the year 2010. Scientific Data (2020) doi: 10.1038/s41597-020-0444-4
Goldstein, A. W.R. Turner, S.A. Spawn, K.J. Anderson-Teixeira, S. Cook-Patton, J. Fargion, H.K. Gibbs, B. Griscom, J.H. Hewson, J.F. Howard, J.C. Ledezma, S. Page, L. Pin Koh, J. Rockstrom, J. Sanderman, D.G. Hole. Protecting irrecoverable carbon in Earth’s ecosystems. Nature Climate Change (2020) doi: 10.1038/s41558-020-0738-8
Spawn, S.A., T.J. Lark, H.K. Gibbs. Carbon emissions from cropland expansion in the United States. Environmental Research Letters (2019) doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/ab0399
Fargione, J.E., S. Bassett, T. Boucher, S.D. Bridham, R.T. Conant ,…, S.A. Spawn et al. Natural climate solutions for the United States. Science Advances (2018) doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aat1869
Spawn, S.A., S.T. Dunn, G.J. Fiske, S.M. Natali, J.D. Schade, N. Zimov. Summer methane ebullition from a headwater catchment in Northeastern Siberia. Inland Waters. (2015) doi:10.5268/iw-5.3.845

Personal Interests

During the thaw, I’m often found road cycling or paddling—I like to do both fairly fast and far. During the freeze, I’m oft spotted skating the Madison lakes and ponds and watching [Wild] hockey. Through it all, I enjoy tinkering in both the kitchen and the workshop. All of these activities are enhanced by good company and an Americana soundtrack.

Contact Information

435 Birge Hall
430 Lincoln Drive
Madison, WI 53706

e-mail: spawn @