Mattias Klum




Photograph by Mattias Klum

Photo: Mattias Klum

Photograph by Peter Degerfeldt

Noted photographer, filmmaker and international conservationist Mattias Klum was named a National Geographic Fellow in 2010. In this role he supports ongoing National Geographic Mission Programs conservation efforts such as Mission Blue, Freshwater Initiative, and Great Energy Challenge, focusing his efforts on critical biodiversity and conservation issues.

The Fellows Program was created to encourage the flow of ideas between National Geographic and field experts. Fellows provide expert consultation on National Geographic projects, education and outreach, and environmental and public policy. The Fellows represent a variety of professions.

Klum was born in Uppsala, Sweden, in 1968. Since 1986, he has been a full-time freelance photographer and his work has appeared in many publications worldwide, including National Geographic, Wildlife Conservation, Audubon, Geo, Terre Sauvage, Stern, Der Spiegel and The New York Times. He has photographed multiple stories for National Geographic magazine, notably a 30-page feature “Borneo’s Moment of Truth” in November 2008.

Throughout his career, Klum has specialized in portraying and interpreting threatened environments, species and cultures, and he has received numerous awards for his work. In 2003, Klum and his wife and business partner, Monika, co-founded the company Tierra Grande with the mission of promoting sustainability through a diverse range of media and communications projects and public-awareness campaigns. Today, Klum is increasingly involved in establishing multidisciplinary platforms within the framework of network organizations such as Tällberg Forum, Stockholm Resilience Centre, and Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum.

Having dedicated more than 20 years to covering the unique flora and fauna of Borneo and deforestation-related challenges, he recently joined WWF’s Heart of Borneo Initiative to promote conservation and sustainable development in the region, and will release a book and TV documentary in 2011. Klum is also currently working on a new film, The Coral Eden, as part of the Project Oceans initiative of The United Postcode Lotteries in collaboration with WWF, Greenpeace and the Marine Stewardship Council. Project Oceans aims to end overfishing and protect endangered species by increasing the supply of MSC-certified seafood and establishing more marine protected areas around the globe. Other ongoing programs include the Baltic Sea Media Project and Expedition Sweden.

Klum is represented by the National Geographic Speakers Bureau and National Geographic Image Collection. His company, Tierra Grande, is working to expand National Geographic Speakers Bureau lectures into European territories. Klum’s photos are featured in exhibitions presented at international galleries and museums, and at major events such as Shanghai World EXPO 2010 and COP15 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

Klum’s advocacy on behalf of biodiversity earned him a medal from the King of Sweden and designation as a 2008 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He is a member of the board of trustees of WWF Sweden and a fellow of The Linnean Society of London.

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Inside National Geographic Magazine

  • mattias-klum-borneo.jpg

    Borneo's Moment of Truth

    The majestic forests are vanishing in smoke and sawdust, but there's still hope for the island's fabled biodiversity—if the palm oil rush can be slowed.


  • mattias-klum-butterfly.jpg

    Darwin's First Clues

    He was inspired by fossils of armadillos and sloths.


  • Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands top ten threatened forests picture

    Ten Most Threatened Forests Named

    From California to Cambodia—see which forest hot spots are in trouble around the world, according to a new report.

  • klum-seal.jpg


    Photographer Mattias Klum caught a close-up of this sea lion when the pup approached him and nibbled on his camera gear.


In Their Words

As a photographer, filmmaker and conservationist I try to use sincere storytelling and multi-disciplinary platforms to affect positive change in the world.

—Mattias Klum



  • <p>Photo: Iridescent moth</p>

    Moth Wings

    A moth's wings appear iridescent when photographed close-up in the Danum Valley Conservation Area in Sabah, Malaysia.


  • klum-lion-upside-down.jpg

    Face-Off with a Lion

    Photographer Mattias Klum experiences a face-to-face encounter with a lioness... a little too close for comfort.

Road to Rio+20


  • Image: Front cover of The Human Quest

    The Human Quest

    In their visually stunning book, Klum and co-author Rockstrom challenge humanity to prosper within planetary boundaries.

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  • Photo: Michael Lombardi diving

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