Lisa Schulte Moore

Dr. Lisa Schulte Moore

  • Professor, Natural Resource Ecology and Management
  • Principal Investigator, Landscape Ecology and Ecosystem Management Lab
  • Co-Director, Bioeconomy Institute
  • Director, C-CHANGE


Contact Info

617 Bissel Rd., 1140 Biorenewables Research Lab

Dr. Lisa Schulte Moore is a professor in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management and co-director of the Bioeconomy Institute at Iowa State University. She conducts research and teaches in the areas of agriculture, ecology, forestry and human-landscape interactions. Her research addresses the integration of continuous living cover into agricultural landscapes to support new markets and to meet societal goals for clean water, healthy soils, abundant wildlife and inspiring recreational opportunities. She works to return more of the value from agricultural supply chains to rural communities and the land, and develops relationships and institutional capacity so diverse groups of people can more effectively work together. 

Dr. Schulte Moore is co-founder of the Science-based Trials of Rowcrops Integrated with Prairie Strips (STRIPS) project, which developed the prairie strips conservation practice. She is also lead developer of People in Ecosystems/ Watershed Integration (PEWI), a simple web-based educational game designed to help people understand human impacts on the environment and improve the management of natural resources. She directs C-CHANGE, an Iowa State University Presidential Interdisciplinary Research Initiative and USDA-NIFA Sustainable Agricultural Systems project.

Dr. Schulte Moore has published more than 100 scientific and educational articles. Her honors include the Iowa State University Early Career Award in Teaching (2007), Teaching Award of Merit from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (2007), Stanford University Leopold Leadership Fellow (2013), Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow (2014), University of Minnesota Duluth Academy of Science and Engineering Inductee (2017), Business Record/ISU Ivy College of Business innovationENTREPRENEUR Award (2020), Ecological Society of America Fellow (2021), MacArthur Fellow (2021), and Citation for Leadership and Achievement from the Council of Scientific Society Presidents (2022). Along with her colleagues on the STRIPS team, she received the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Science Team Award in 2018 and the Soil and Water Conservation Society's Conservation Innovation Award in 2020 for their development of prairie strips. In 2022, the C-CHANGE team was awarded ISU's Interdisciplinary team research award, and ISU Carbon team received the ISU College of Agriculture and Life Science Dean's Citation Award for their work on behalf of the state of Iowa. She is on the editorial board for the scientific journal BioScience, a member of Ecological Society of America’s Rapid Response Team, and on the board of directors for the Wright Foundation for Sustainability and Innovation. She formerly served on the boards of directors for Iowa Wildlife Federation and Practical Farmers of Iowa, the board of trustees for The Nature Conservancy's Iowa Chapter, and the science advisory board for the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. Her work has been covered by the BBC, Corn and Soybean Digest, National Geographic, National Public Radio, New York Times, Successful Farming, and The Washington Post among other farm and general interest media outlets.

She has been on the faculty at Iowa State University since 2003. She worked as a post-doctoral associate with the U.S. Forest Service from 2002 to 2003. She earned a B.S. in biology at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, an M.S. in biology at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and Ph.D. in forestry in 2002 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Regarding her approach to work, Schulte Moore states: "I am a scientist. I work to find solutions to tough problems at the intersection agriculture and our environment. We all need to eat, but we also need a livable climate, clean water, abundant wildlife, and places of wonder. We all need to do a better job of supporting the people in agriculture to meet these multiple goals. I am employed by a public land-grant university, so I serve all of society, but firstly Iowans. I'm neither "wizard" or "prophet", per Charles Mann's description of dueling scientists, but more of a jazz artist who likes to play in big bands that produce rich, vibrant sounds. I don't fit in neat, tidy boxes.

  • On collaboration: Everyone deserves respect. I don't make assumptions about people's intentions but take them at "face value." I work with people who are honest about the challenges our society faces and focused on finding solutions to them. I work with people who are in it for the long haul.
  • On teaching and mentoring: I teach ecology. That has always been my primary career goal. I recognize everyone has knowledge to share. I thus make a point to listen before speaking. I try to meet people where they are and learn together from there. I use this approach one-on-one, in small groups, and in larger venues.
  • On science: I work in teams to collect more, better data. We curate it. We honestly interpret it. If the data don't seem fit theory, we collect more, better data to see if the answer changes. If not, we're honest about it. 
  • On solutions: I look to nature for inspiration: I foster diversity, cultivate redundancy, and enable change.
    • On diversity: I nurture people, crop, livestock, market, and landscape diversity.
    • On redundancy: In nature, there's always more than one way to solve a problem. I work to expand the options available to students, land managers, and policy makers.
    • On change: I support adaptation, continuous improvement processes, and the leadership of the next generation.
  • On science communication: I speak from the data, but recognize its limits. I speak to people's hearts as well as their heads. I try to help people see the path. I ask, "what is the next best step?"

Dr. Schulte Moore receives a high volume of email and is not able to respond to all of them. Consider checking the following websites for information about her initiatives and projects, and for additional contacts.

If you are looking to schedule Dr. Schulte Moore for a keynote or academic speaking engagement, please contact BEI Deputy Director Dana Schweitzer (

Schulte Moore lives in Ames, Iowa, with her husband, Peter Moore, and two sons. They also spend time at their family farm near Strum, Wis.