Rene Zamora Cristales is a Senior Associate for the Global Restoration Initiative of WRI's Food, Forest, and Water Program. He works directly for Initiative 20x20, a country-led effort aiming to bring 50 million hectares of degraded land in Latin America and the Caribbean into restoration by 2030. He is a co-author of the current World Resources Reports, The Road to Restoration, and Roots for Prosperity: the Economics and Finance of Restoring Land and lead author on The Sustainability Index for Landscape Restoration.

Rene’s previous work included developing economic optimization models and investment analysis for private companies in strategic, tactical, and operational forest planning. This included the design and implementation of different landscape management plans with multiple ecological and economic goals in Guatemala, Mozambique, Chile, and the US. He also worked as a lead researcher for the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance to assess the economics and sustainability of aviation biofuel production from forest harvest residues in the Pacific Northwest region, USA. He has served as researcher and professor for Universidad Rafael Landivar, Guatemala (Department of Forest Management), Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (Department of Forest Engineering). He is currently a courtesy Assistant Professor at Oregon State University (Department of Forest Engineering, Resources and Management).

Rene holds a B.S. degree in Forest Engineering from Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, a Master of Science degree in Forest Resources with an emphasis in Forest Economics and Wood Products from Universidad Austral de Chile and Doctoral degree (Ph.D.) in Forest Engineering from Oregon State University, USA with an emphasis in Operations Research. In 2019 the board of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) awarded René with the Global Outstanding Doctoral Research Award in recognition of his outstanding individual scientific achievements and to encourage further work within the fields of forest research.