Peter Kareiva, "Conservation’s Journey from Population Biology to Connecting People to Nature"

Thursday, October 30, 2014
4242 Young Hall, UCLA

On Thursday, October 30, 2014, JIFRESSE hosted a job talk by Peter Kareiva (The Nature Conservancy) entitled “Conservation’s Journey from Population Biology to Connecting People to Nature.” 

Description: Conservation science formed as an academic discipline in the mid-1980s with a focus on species demography and population genetics.   From these roots in population biology, the field has developed into a truly interdisciplinary enterprise that seeks to quantify the values nature offers to humanity and develop tools that can support decision making under complexity and uncertainty. My research has closely mirrored this trajectory – where once I was primarily interested in dispersal and meta-population dynamics, today I assemble and work with highly multidisciplinary teams to understand and communicate how natural ecosystems support human well-being,  as well as how to change both corporate and public behavior.  Despite the now more interdisciplinary nature of conservation science, we have failed to address obvious and fundamental environmental problems that one might call “too big to handle” (such as climate change and antibiotic resistance).  I am increasingly convinced that a diversity of thought leaders and viewpoints is necessary for making progress on these wicked problems.  Creating an infrastructure to nurture this diversity and innovation has been my vision for the last ten years at The Nature Conservancy.  I will trace the arc of my research efforts that have led me to this view of what is most needed now for the world’s most vexing environmental challenges – from owl and salmon population models, to analyses of coastal storm protection, to tradeoff frontiers between development and biodiversity, and analyses of polling data and communication approaches.