James (Jim) Lyons joined Defenders of Wildlife as senior director for renewable energy in June 2010. He leads a project aimed at promoting wildlife-friendly and environmentally responsible renewable energy development on public lands.
Since 2004, Jim has been a lecturer and research scholar at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where he was a professor from 2001 to 2003.
From 2006 through 2009, Jim was vice president for policy and communications at Oxfam America, an international development and humanitarian organization. While at Oxfam, Jim built the organization’s policy and communications division and led its policy, advocacy and communications campaigns as well as its private sector engagement. He was also vice president of the organization’s advocacy arm, the Oxfam America Action Fund. Prior to that, Jim was the executive director of the Casey Trees Endowment Fund, a Washington, DC-based non-profit organization committed to restoring the tree canopy of the nation’s capital.
Jim also served as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment for eight years during the Clinton administration – where he helped to guide the management of our nation’s forests and the development of national conservation programs. He led efforts to resolve the conflict in the Pacific Northwest over the future of old-growth forests and the northern spotted owl, helped to shape the Clinton Roadless Rule protecting national forest roadless areas from new development, and redirected management of the Tongass National Forest. In addition, Jim coordinated efforts to develop a national strategy for addressing wildfires and led development of new rules to guide forest planning and management. Jim co-chaired the development of President Clinton’s national clean water strategy and was also a member of the U.S. delegation negotiating the international climate change treaty, the Kyoto Protocol.
From 1987 to 1993, Jim staffed the House Committee on Agriculture and guided the policy and legislative activities affecting forestry and natural resources, conservation and environmental issues. He led development of the conservation and forestry titles of the 1990 farm bill – creating the forest legacy, wetlands reserve, and farm and ranchland protection programs. In 2002, Jim helped shape the first farm bill energy title.
Jim holds a Bachelor of Science (with Honors) in natural resource administration from Rutgers University and a Master of Forestry from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.