DURHAM, N.C. -- Richard Mei, a rising star in the field of forest finance, will join the faculty at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment this year.
He will join the school’s faculty as professor of the practice of natural resources finance, effective July 1.
Mei is widely respected for his research and teaching on forestland investment and valuation, forest carbon-based climate solutions, and decision-making under uncertainty.
He has authored or co-authored more than 70 peer-reviewed articles, conference papers or book chapters, and is co-lead author of the upcoming book, “Forestland Investment: Valuation and Analysis,” which will be published by Routledge Press this July.
In addition to his research and teaching, he has more than 15 years of experience as a sustainable forestry and forestland investment consultant and co-founded Floria Consulting LLC in 2009. His clients range from private forestland investment firms to the United Nations.
He is currently on the faculty at the University of Georgia, where he is Hargreaves Professor of Forest Finance in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.
At the Nicholas School, Mei will lead the school’s Natural Resources Finance Initiative (NRFI), which was launched in 2018 to train professional master’s students in a broad array of financial skills critical to natural resource management and conservation today.
“In the 1980s, Duke alumni and faculty generated ideas that laid the foundation for today’s multibillion-dollar timberland investment industry,” said Jeffrey R. Vincent, Clarence F. Korstian Professor of Forest Economics and Management and co-chair of the Nicholas School’s Master of Forestry program.
“Richard’s expertise and experience will enable Duke to provide intellectual leadership once again as natural resource industries evolve to encompass new sources of value, in particular carbon sequestration to mitigate climate change,” Vincent said.
Mei’s principal duties at the Nicholas School will also include teaching and advising students in the Master of Environmental Management and Master of Forestry programs.
“Richard’s combination of academic excellence with industry experience makes him ideally qualified to lead NRFI and mentor our students,” Vincent said. “His years of experience working in forestland investment consulting give him the real-world acumen to teach students practical skills like resource valuation, risk assessment, and financial reporting, as well as how to structure conservation easements and investment portfolios, and optimize income opportunities through ecosystem services, tax credits, and other methods.”
As NRFI’s director, Mei will leverage his connections to develop workshops, guest lectures, and networking and internship opportunities that augment students’ coursework. He will also serve as a liaison between the school’s executive education program and leaders of natural resources sectors.
Mei earned his PhD in forest economics and finance from the University of Georgia in 2010 and joined its faculty the same year.
Prior to that, he earned a Master of Science in natural resource economics from Mississippi State University in 2007, a Master of Science in management science and engineering from Beijing Forestry University in 2005, and a Bachelor of Science in economics from Beijing Forestry University in 2002.
He earned Level 1 certification from the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute in 2019 and is currently a candidate for Level 2 certification.