The University of Arizona

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

AIMING FOR A DIFFERENT IMPACT FACTOR: THE NATURE CONSERVANCY’S APPROACH TO APPLIED SCIENCE

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Speaker:  Gita Bodner, The Nature Conservancy
 
Date: Wednesday, February 28th, 2018
 
Time: 3:00-4:00 pm
 
Location: ENR2, S107
 
ABSTRACT: As one of the world’s largest environmental nonprofits, The Nature Conservancy prides itself on over 60 years of using science to help sustain ecosystems across the globe. Most TNC-based science is part of multi-disciplinary efforts to develop effective conservation strategies, and to increase investments into nature-based solutions that meet human and ecosystem needs. But what does that science look like, and how do TNC scientists operate? How do our science endeavors interact with policymakers, academic researchers, local landowners, and other stakeholders? How do we set priorities, in a world with ever-increasing needs?

This talk will use examples from Arizona grasslands and rivers to illustrate TNC’s approach to tackling scientific inquiries that influence human choices in ecologically important places. These projects show how place-based work can impact large areas, by improving understanding of system dynamics, revealing ecosystem service tradeoffs, and modeling new approaches to community problem solving. The talk will also touch on the complementarity of academic institutions, public agencies, and non-profit “boundary organizations” like TNC. This work illustrates concepts of “translational ecology,” where science is driven by the desire to maintain health of lands and waters that humans and wildlife depend on; and where scientists work directly with stakeholders—land managers, resource users, regulators, other researchers, etc.—to craft meaningful questions, seek answers, and apply insights on the ground.
 
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