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How to Make Conservation the People’s Choice

How to Make Conservation the People’s Choice

Monday, May 23, 2011

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

Presented by Science & the City


Join Science & the City as we host Peter Kareiva for a talk about his new book, Conservation Science: Balancing the Needs of People and Nature and for a lecture on how to move conservation from a special interest to the people's choice.

As chief scientist and science director at the Nature Conservancy, Dr. Kareiva holds the views that: 1) conservation commonly employs strategies without adequate critical self-scrutiny, and minimal evaluation of what really works, or what might be unintended consequences of good ideas, and 2) Conservation will fail unless it is better connected to people.  

Dr. Kareiva is involved in several projects aimed at asking whether conservation strategies are indeed delivering what they promise to deliver: Are easements well-designed? Does land acquisition create leverage or simply drive up prices making future conservation purchases more difficult? Do projects that claim to improve the environment and help poverty alleviation actually do so? Can protected areas hope to succeed in the face of ever-growing pressure from nearby urbanization?

He says the obvious connection between conservation and people comes from the benefits nature provides people - everything from clean water and flood control, to fiber from forests, and fish from aquatic ecosystems. The scientific and practical challenge lies in developing credible tools that allow routine consideration of nature's assets (or ecosystem services) in a way that informs the choices we make everyday at the scale of local communities and regions, all the way up to nations and global agreements. This line of inquiry is being conducted as part of a pioneering collaboration between WWF, Stanford University and The Nature Conservancy in the form of the Natural Capital Project.

Reception and book signing to follow.


Peter Kareiva, PhD

The Nature Conservancy

Peter Kareiva, PhD, is chief scientist and science director at the Nature Conservancy. He joined TNC after 20 years as a university professor and 3 years working on salmon conservation for NOAA Fisheries. His past publications and research have concerned such diverse fields as mathematical biology, fisheries science, insect ecology, risk analysis, genetically engineered organisms, agricultural ecology, population viability analysis, behavioral ecology, landscape ecology, and global climate change. He maintains connections with several universities, and still advises students, as well as teaching courses on occasion.

Dr. Kareiva's responsibilities at TNC include reporting to the Board of Directors on the state of science in TNC, mentoring TNC scientists, identifying opportunities and shortcomings that warrant science attention if TNC is to fulfill its mission, advising leadership on emerging conservation challenges, and serving as one of several external spokespeople for TNC science. In addition to conducting research, Peter believes that general communications and writing are essential in science.

His new book, co-authored with Dr. Michelle Marvier of Santa Clara University, is Conservation Science: Balancing the Needs of People and Nature.

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