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John D. Liu

Filmmaker and Ecologist

Personal Information

In the 1980s and 1990s John D. Liu worked as a television producer and cameraman with CBS News, RAI and ZDF covering geo-political events including the rise of China from poverty and isolation and the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the mid-1990s the World Bank asked John to document the rehabilitation of the Loess Plateau. Since learning that it is possible to rehabilitate large-scale damaged ecosystems John has devoted his life to understanding and communicating about the potential and responsibility to restore degraded landscapes on a planetary scale. Since 2009 John has worked with Willem Ferwerda the Founder and CEO of the Commonland Foundation, which is catalyzing privately invested large-scale restoration in many parts of the world.

Since beginning to study ecology Mr. Liu has had a number of academic appointments. In 2003 John was given a visiting Fellowship with the Faculty of Applied Sciences and the Faculty of the Built Environment at the University of the West of England (UWE), in 2006 John was named the Rothamsted International Fellow for the Communication of Science at the Rothamsted Research Institute of the UK, in 2008.

From 2009 to 2012 Mr. Liu pursued graduate studies in Soil science and ecology at Reading University, in 2009 Mr. Liu was appointed Assistant Research Professor at George Mason University, from 2010 – 2013 he was a Senior Research Fellow with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and in 2013-2014, Mr. Liu was asked to collaborate with the Critical Zone Hydrology Group, Vrije University Amsterdam. In 2014, Mr. Liu was named a research fellow at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (NIOO/KNAW) and continues to study. Mr Liu is also Ecosystem Ambassador for the COMMONLAND FOUNDATION. https://commonland.com/en

In 2016, John began to write about ecosystem restoration camps on social media. In 2017, the Ecosystem Restoration Camps Foundation was registered in the Netherlands. Camps have already formed in Spain, Mexico and California, Partners in Senegal and the Gambia are preparing camps  and ecosystem restoration camps are expected to emerge in all continents in 2019.

John has produced, filmed, written, directed and presented numerous films on Environment and Ecology for the BBC, National Geographic, Discovery, PBS and other networks. John’s published works are collected and freely available at: https://knaw.academia.edu/JohnDLiu