Pam Matson's research focuses on the consequences of agricultural intensification, land use change, and nitrogen deposition for ecosystems and the atmosphere, and on sustainable development issues in developing regions. Working mostly in the tropics, she and her colleagues have identified the negative consequences of deforestation and intensive agriculture for the global and local atmosphere, freshwater, and marine systems, and are working to develop new approaches that reduce those impacts while maintaining human livelihoods and well-being. She also works on the vulnerability of food and water systems to climate change.