Nalini Nadkarni

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Pioneering researcher and "queen of the forest canopy" Nalini Nadkarni shows host Majora Carter the wonders of the Olympic rain forest — from the treetops! And the two visit a correctional facility where Nalini’s innovative Moss Project employs a team of prisoners turned botanists.

What about the canopy?” Before Nalini Nadkarni raised the question, scientists pretty much focused on the ground. 

Dr. Nalini Nadkarni has discovered a whole ecosystem 30 to 200 feet up in the air. The so-called “queen of forest canopy research,” Nalini has spent decades climbing the trees of Costa Rica, Papua New Guinea, the Amazon, and the Pacific Northwest, exploring the world of animals and plants that live in the canopy and learning how this upper layer of the forest interacts with the world below it. Her work relates directly to three of the most pressing environmental issues of our time: maintenance of biodiversity, stability of world climate, and sustainability of forests.

Nalini boils it all down to this: “When we come to understand nature, we are touching the most deep and most important parts of ourself.”


The International Canopy Network brings together scientists, educators, and artists around the forest canopy.

International Canopy Network

Learn more about Nalini's work and research.

Dr. Nalini Nadkarni


A video featuring Nalini and the innovative program connecting prisoners with nature.

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Nalini's powerful talks on conserving the canopy and on her work in prisons.

See Nalini's TED talks