Dr. Emilio F. Moran

Emilio F. Moran
  • Hannah Distinguished Professor
  • Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences
  • Center for Global Change and Earth Observations
  • Manly Miles Building
  • 1405 S. Harrison Rd, Room 218
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • 517-884-1236


Latin America, Brazil, Ecological Anthropology; Research Methods; Tropical Ecology and Resource Management, Land Use and Land Cover Change, and Demography.


Emilio Moran is a world-renowned and dauntingly pedigreed social scientist who, when driving through the lush hills of Brazil, will burst into an enthusiastic and detailed explanation of soil structure.

Welcome to the scientific whiplash that has become his hallmark.

He is a social anthropologist who regularly charges into other disciplines. He has studied and published in tropical agriculture, social science, ecology, economics, and, most recently, earth observations from satellites.

Moran’s true discipline is asking the right questions and merging human and environmental sciences to get a holistic understanding of some of the world’s most crucial problems—climate change, land use—and a project he pioneered some 30 years ago: determining the potential of the humid tropics for intensive agriculture. In the process, he has studied soils, agricultural production, deforestation, reforestation, and how humans make decisions about all these things.

Moran joined MSU’s Department of Geography in early January as Visiting Hannah Professor. He is the university’s 11th member of the National Academy of Sciences. At MSU, Moran will contribute to the new Center for Global Change Science as well as the Center for Global Change and Earth Observations


For more than three decades, MSU’s Emilio Moran has been on the front lines of rainforest conservation efforts in Brazil. Integrating social and natural sciences, he is working to find solutions that balance economic growth with protecting and preserving the environment.