Christopher Dunn

Cornell University, Cornell Plantations []


Christopher Dunn was named the Elizabeth Newman Wilds Director of Cornell Plantations in April 2014. Prior to this appointment, he was Director of the Lyon Arboretum at the University of Hawai‘i. He previously served as Executive Director for Research at the Chicago Botanic Garden (where he managed one of the largest botanic garden research programs in the country) and as Director of Research at The Morton Arboretum. He received his undergraduate training at SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, Syracuse University, and his PhD at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. He then spent three years completing postdoctoral studies at the University of Georgia.


Dr. Dunn is a botanist and conservation ecologist who has considerable research experience studying the relationships between people and places, and human impacts on the landscape. More recently, he has been studying the intersection of biological and cultural conservation, particularly in the Pacific Rim. He led the effort to establish a Center for Biocultural Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa which has culminated in the Biocultural Initiative of the Pacific. He has served on various boards, including the American Public Gardens Association (for which he served as President), and is presently Vice Chair of Terralingua, an international nonprofit organization concerned about the future of the world’s biological, cultural, and linguistic diversity. Dr. Dunn is active in several international conservation organizations, including the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Botanic Gardens Conservation International. Currently, he holds adjunct faculty status at Northwestern University, the University of Illinois–Chicago, and in the Graduate Faculty in Botany at the University of Hawai‘i.