Tag: conservation science

Great Summer Reads: Paul Sabin’s The Bet

Looking for a good read for the 4th of July weekend? How about a great look at one of conservation’s famous debates? Marty Downs reviews Paul Sabin’s The Bet, an account of the wager between ecologist Paul Ehrlich and economist Julian Simon.

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Accelerating the Pace of Conservation Science

A paper co-authored by the Nature Conservancy’s chief scientist reflects how much conservation science has changed in the six-decade history of the Conservancy — a lot.

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Green is Good: Science-Based Conservation in the 21st Century

What does it mean for The Nature Conservancy to be “science-based” today? To always be casting a wider net for better solutions supported by evidence, write Mark Tercek and Peter Kareiva.

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Leech Logic and the Need for Conservation Baselines

For 2,000 years people thought leeches cured just about any ailment. Silly? Blogger Craig Leisher argues that conservationists often take a similar anecdote-based approach, which is why the field desperately needs solid baseline data.

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Is Natural History Still Relevant for Conservation Science?

As conservation science increasingly draws from sophisticated models and genomics, does natural history still have relevance? Benjamin Kilham, a dyslexic who has made significant contributions to bear research, builds a powerful case for field observation in his book, “Out on a Limb.”

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Cool Green Science: Year in Review 2013

Thanks for making Cool Green Science one of the world’s most-read conservation science blogs — in just its first year! Here’s a look back at our most popular stories from 2013.

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For Scientists: SNAP Request for Proposals

Science for Nature and People (SNAP), a new scientific collaboration launched by the Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, is requesting proposals for SNAP Working Groups that will be initiated before the end of 2013.

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The Cooler: 5 Lessons for Live Animal Cams

What makes for a great animal live cam feature? Of course you need some compelling animals — but that’s just one key ingredient in the recipe. You need science, community and a willingness to let people project their imaginations onto the critters, too.

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The Cooler: Conservation’s Identity Crisis

Teenagers go through it, mid-lifers too — the angst of figuring out who you are. In recent years even conservationists have been grappling with it. What does conservation mean in a world that will soon have 9 billion people?

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Conservation Future: Announcing the 2013 NatureNet Fellows

Nine young scientists — with specialties ranging from energy infrastructure to urban ecology, Kenyan pastoral techniques to nanotechnology — inaugurate a program designed to help kick-start conservation toward addressing the challenges facing people and nature in the 21st century.

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‘Let’s Get Back to Ecology’: A New Interview with Peter Kareiva

Nature Conservancy Chief Scientist Peter Kareiva recently gave an interview to Biodiverse Perspectives, a blog written by more than 100 graduate students in biodiversity science around the world. It’s an excellent Q&A, with one of the best distillations yet of Kareiva’s thinking on conservation’s focus on biodiversity versus the benefits of a broader focus on ecology.

Read the full interview here. But here’s a quote to whet your appetite:

“I have what some think is a heretical view of biodiversity.  Look – I do want to prevent extinctions.  But I think what should be a reasonable concern for biodiversity has turned into a numerological and narrow counting of species, and has led to an over-emphasis on research aimed at rationalizing why biodiversity should matter to the general public.  Ecology matters to the general public because ecology is about water, pests and pestilence, recreation, food, resilience and so forth. Perturbations to ecosystems in the form of massive pollution, land conversion, harvest, species loss can all distort ecology.  But focusing so narrowly on producing graphs that on the horizontal axis display number of species and on the vertical axis report some dependent ecological function (that is distantly related to human well-being) strikes me as not worth so much research.  Let’s get back to ecology – understanding how systems work, what controls dynamics, the role of particular species as opposed to the number of species, to what extent do ecosystems compensate for species losses, what factors contribute to resilience, whether there really are thresholds – all those are terrific research questions.  Counting species, and trying to produce what is, as far as I can tell, usually very weak evidence for the relationship between biodiversity per se and ecological function is off-track.

“Early on in my job at TNC I presented to business leaders some of the empirical data plots from classic biodiversity and ecological function studies. These are studies we all interpret as strong evidence for the importance of biodiversity. I can tell you unequivocally when they saw the actual data they were totally unimpressed and unconvinced. It caused me to look more objectively at the data.”

As always, let us know what you think in the comments.

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Forest Dilemmas

Too many deer. Logging one tree to save another. Beavers versus old growth. Welcome to forest conservation in the Anthropocene. Beginning Monday, July 21, join us for a provocative 5-part series exploring the full complexity facing forest conservation in the eastern United States.

What is Cool Green Science?

noun 1. Blog where Nature Conservancy scientists, science writers and external experts discuss and debate how conservation can meet the challenges of a 9 billion + planet.

2. Blog with astonishing photos, videos and dispatches of Nature Conservancy science in the field.

3. Home of Weird Nature, The Cooler, Quick Study, Traveling Naturalist and other amazing features.

Cool Green Science is managed by Matt Miller, the Conservancy's deputy director for science communications, and edited by Bob Lalasz, its director of science communications. Email us your feedback.

Innovative Science

Investing in Seagrass
Marine scientists and fishers alike know that grass beds are valuable as nursery habitat. A new Conservancy-funded study puts a number to it.

Drones Aid Bird Conservation
How can California conservationists accurately count thousands of cranes? Enter a new tool in bird monitoring: the drone.

Creating a Climate-Smart Agriculture
Can farmers globally both adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change? A new paper answers with a definitive yes. But it won't be easy.

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