Todd Gartner is the Director of Cities4Forests and WRI’s Natural Infrastructure Initiative, where he leads a multidisciplinary team with a mission to conserve, better manage, and restore forests, urban green infrastructure, and other ecosystems. Todd is responsible for these Initiatives' overall leadership, delivery, partnerships, and fundraising.

Cities4Forests provides technical support and unlocks finance for 90+ cities from around the world to invest in their inner forests (e.g., city trees, urban parks, and green infrastructure), nearby forests (e.g., watersheds), and faraway forests (especially tropical forests). Todd leads a network of experts and partners who provide cities with technical assistance to enhance local policies, conduct knowledge exchange and peer-to-peer learning, access financing for project implementation, develop robust monitoring and evaluation approaches, and raise awareness of the value of nature among city governments and associated stakeholders.

Todd also leads WRI’s Natural Infrastructure Initiative, including the US Lands Program, working to scale up nature-based solutions for water, climate, and disaster risk mitigation through project development, economic analysis, and financing strategies. His team works closely with key decision-makers, including utilities, land managers, corporations, communities, investors, and local and national governments, to finance green infrastructure, pilot innovative projects, and replicate successful approaches.

These initiatives help governments, companies, and civil society manage their natural resources to deliver crucial benefits such as poverty reduction, economic growth, rural employment and livelihoods, and disaster resilience.

Todd serves on WRI’s Ross Center for Sustainable Cities’ Executive Team, the Food, Land, and Water Leadership Team, and the US Country Office Leadership Team.

Examples of his work include:

  • The Forest Resilience Bond, a public-private partnership that enables private capital to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire and enhance water resources by financing much-needed forest restoration, including $40 million+ secured to restore over 85,000 acres across the Tahoe and El Dorado National Forests.
  • Co-leading WRI’s African Climate Resilient Cities Initiative focuses on improving vulnerable urban communities’ capacity to adapt to climate change and protect biodiversity. Through adopting and implementing gender-responsive nature-based solutions, the project directly responds to the needs identified by eleven cities across Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya, DRC, ROC, and S. Africa to increase their resilience to a range of water-related risks and extreme heat. The Initiative will enable cities to access technical assistance and financing to implement NBS and green-gray infrastructure at the urban and watershed scale. · Todd has played a vital role in several financial and economic analyses of nature-based solutions as substitutes or complements to built infrastructure systems. These include an economic analysis that evaluated forest restoration's potential role and return on investment (ROI) in São Paulo's water supply and similar assessments in Rio De Janeiro and Vitoria, Brazil; Colorado, California, and Maine in the United States; and Bogota, Colombia.
  • Todd has worked with CERES, Alliance for Global Water Adaptation, and CDP to develop The Climate Bonds Initiative’s Water Infrastructure Standard for built and natural systems. Over $8 billion of Green Bonds have been issued under the Criteria, providing investors with a verifiable, science-based screening process to evaluate bond investments, bringing climate mitigation, vulnerability assessment, and adaptation planning to the fixed-income investment space for water infrastructure. Todd supported Little Rock, Arkansas to issue a $31.8 million green bond, certified under the criteria – the first of its kind to acquire and protect forests specifically to support clean drinking water for over 500,000 consumers.
  • Under Todd’s leadership, the Cities4Forests team works closely with the IADB, EIB, AFDB, and other policy makers and development partners to evaluate green infrastructure from a technical, environmental, social and economic perspective. His analyses seek to mainstream solutions that unite green and gray infrastructure for disaster risk management, water security and improved livelihoods. Partnership with the World Bank, contributed to the World Bank increasing its NBS projects by 20% in its disaster risk management portfolio, unlocking almost $2 billion for integrated green and gray infrastructure.
  • In San Francisco, Todd’s team at WRI are working with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commissions to develop a “Joint Benefits Authority”, an innovative governance and financing mechanism that provides a new way for municipal governments and service providers to partner with local communities to scale up green infrastructure.

Todd is the author of several WRI and external publications and is frequently quoted in the media. Todd is involved in helping watershed stakeholders, governments, and land managers build successful natural infrastructure programs through developing and sharing WRI methods, data, and case studies, and providing workshops, trainings, and one-on-one advisory services.

Previous work included developing and running the Conservation Incentives and Ecosystem Markets program at the American Forest Foundation, field forestry work in New England, fire ecology and eco-tourism research in Botswana and India, business consulting for the USDA Forest Service and several years as a corporate financial consultant.

Todd earned his Master’s of Forestry degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a B.S. in Finance from University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business. He is a Doris Duke Conservation Fellow, Switzer Environmental Fellow, Environmental Leadership Program Fellow, and Property and Environmental Research Center Fellow.

Todd is based in Durango, Colorado with his family and is an avid hiker, paddle boarder, snowboarder, dog lover, and Baltimore Ravens fan.