Karen D Holl
  • Pronouns she, her, her, hers, herself
  • Title
    • Professor
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Environmental Studies Department
  • Affiliations Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department, Latin American & Latino Studies, Dolores Huerta Research Center for the Americas
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Fax
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Nat Sci 2 Main Building, Rm 457
  • Office Hours Tues 2-3, Wed 3-4 - signup at
  • Mail Stop Environmental Studies
  • Mailing Address
    • 461 Natural Science 2
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise Ecology, Conservation, Plant Sciences, Natural History, Natural Resource Management, Land Management, Restoration Ecology

Summary of Expertise

Restoration Ecology, tropical ecology, grassland ecology

Biography, Education and Training

B.S. Biology with distinction, Stanford University 

Ph.D. Biology, Virginia Polytechnic and State University

DOE Distinguished Global Change Post-Doctoral Fellow, Stanford University


Honors, Awards and Grants

2017 – 2022 Griswold Endowed Chair UC Santa Cruz (rotating)

2020 Martin Chemers Award for Outstanding Research, Social Sciences Division, UC Santa Cruz

2017 Co-winner of the Theodore Sperry Award for innovative restoration research, Society for Ecological Restoration.

2016 Elected Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences

2008 Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow

2002 – 2008 Pepper-Giberson Endowed Chair UC Santa Cruz (rotating)

Selected Publications

Holl KD. 2020. Primer of Ecological Restoration. Island Press, Washington, DC.

Holl KD, JL Reid, RJ Cole, F Oviedo-Brenes, JA Rosales, and RA Zahawi. 2020. Applied nucleation facilitates tropical forest recovery: Lessons learned from a 15-year study. Journal of Applied Ecology 57: 2349-2361.

Holl KD and PHS Brancalion. 2020. Tree planting is not a simple solution. Science 368:580-581.

Brancalion PHS. and KD Holl. 2020. Guidance for successful tree planting initiatives. Journal of Applied Ecology 57:2316-2328

Brancalion PHS, P Meli, JRC Tymus, FEB Lenti, RM Benini, APM Silva, I Isernhagen, and KD Holl. 2019. What makes ecosystem restoration expensive? A systematic cost assessment of projects in Brazil. Biological Conservation 240:108274.

Calle A, and KD Holl. 2019. Riparian forest recovery following a decade of cattle exclusion in the Colombian Andes. Forest Ecology and Management 452:117563.

Holl KD, JL Reid, F Oviedo-Brenes, AJ Kulikowski, and RA Zahawi. 2018. Rules of thumb for predicting tropical forest recovery. Applied Vegetation Science 21:669-677.

Jones HP, PC Jones, EB Barbier, RC Blackburn, JM Rey Benayas, KD Holl, M McCrackin, P Meli, D Montoya, and D Moreno-Mateos. 2018. Restoration and repair of Earth's damaged ecosystems. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 285:20172577

Holl KD, JL Reid, JM Chaves-Fallas, F Oviedo-Brenes, and RA Zahawi. 2017. Local tropical forest restoration strategies affect tree recruitment more strongly than does landscape forest cover. Journal of Applied Ecology 54:1091-1099.

Holl KD. 2017. Restoring tropical forests from the bottom up. Science 355:455-456.

Holl KD. 2017. Research directions in tropical forest restoration. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 102:237-250

Holl KD and RA Zahawi. 2014. Factors explaining variability in woody above-ground biomass accumulation in restored tropical forest. Forest Ecology & Management 319:36-43.

Holl KD, VM Stout, JL Reid and RA Zahawi. 2013. Testing heterogeneity-diversity relationships in tropical forest restoration. Oecologia 173:569–578.

Reid JL and KD Holl. 2013. Arrival ≠ survival. Restoration Ecology 21:153-155.

Corbin JD, and KD Holl. 2012. Applied nucleation as a forest restoration strategy. Forest Ecology and Management 265:37-46.

Holl KD RA Zahawi, RJ Cole, R Ostertag, and S Cordell. 2011. Planting seedlings in tree islands versus plantations as a large-scale tropical forest restoration strategy. Restoration Ecology 19:470-479.

Hayes GF and KD Holl. 2011. Manipulating disturbance regimes and seeding to restore mesic Mediterranean grasslands. Applied Vegetation Science 14:304-315

Holl KD and TM Aide. 2011. When and where to actively restore ecosystems? Forest

      Ecology & Management 261:1588-1563.

McClain CD, KD Holl, and DM Wood. 2011. Successional models as guides for restoration of riparian forest understory. Restoration Ecology 19:280-289.

Holl KD, and GF Hayes. 2006. Challenges to introducing and managing disturbance regimes for Holocarpha macradenia, an endangered annual grassland forb. Conservation Biology 20:1121-1131.

Holl KD and EE Crone. 2004. Local vs. landscape factors affecting restoration of riparian

      understorey plants. Journal of Applied Ecology 41:922-933.

Holl KD, EE Crone, and CB Schultz. 2003. Landscape restoration: Moving from generalities to methodologies. Bioscience 53:491-502.

Holl KD. 2002. Effect of shrubs on tree seedling establishment in abandoned tropical pasture. Journal of Ecology 90:179-187.

Holl KD. 2002. Long-term vegetation recovery on reclaimed coal surface mines in the eastern USA. Journal of Applied Ecology 39:960-970.

Holl KD, ME Loik, EHV Lin, and IA Samuels. 2000. Tropical montane forest restoration in Costa Rica: Overcoming barriers to dispersal and establishment. Restoration Ecology 8:339-349.

Holl KD and RD Howarth. 2000. Paying for restoration. Restoration Ecology 8:260-267

Holl KD. 1999. Factors limiting tropical moist forest regeneration in agricultural land: seed rain, seed germination, microclimate and soil. Biotropica 31:229-242.

Holl KD. 1998. Do bird perching structures elevate seed rain and seedling establishment in abandoned tropical pasture? Restoration Ecology 6:253-261.

Holl KD. 1996. The effect of coal surface mine reclamation on diurnal lepidopteran conservation. Journal of Applied Ecology 33:225-236.