Heather Tallis

Heather Tallis, Global Managing Director and Lead Scientist for Strategy Innovation, is the first female lead scientist in the history of The Nature Conservancy, where she founded and directs the organization’s Human Dimensions Program (HDP), an initiative to bring human well-being considerations into conservation practice from the planning stage forward. HDP advances the use of ecological, social and economic sciences in conservation and natural resource decision-making. Heather’s current scientific inquiries focus on developing transferable analytical approaches for using information about nature’s benefits in specific policy contexts and for measuring the impacts of conservation management decisions on human well-being.

Heather has developed, planned and executed many innovative research programs at the Conservancy. Her recent initiatives include:

* Using data and publicly available test scores to explore the connection between nature views and elementary school test scores.
* Analyzing available data in the United States to identify which individual choices can have the biggest impact on water scarcity in drought-prone regions.
* Expanding the definition of poverty beyond income, and moving beyond arbitrary poverty lines in the US and developing countries, to better inform economic and conservation programs.
* Exploring landscape-level connections between wildlife, livestock, tourism, income, nutrition and tick-borne disease in Northern Kenya.
* Incorporating ecosystem services in national planning.

Before joining the Conservancy in 2013, Heather was lead scientist at the Natural Capital Project, where she led the development of a pioneering software application (InVEST) that reveals the ecosystem service costs and benefits of land and water use decisions. At the Natural Capital Project, Heather also helped develop a new free software tool — RIOS — which uses biophysical, ecological and social data to help policymakers and others maximize the feasibility and effectiveness of watershed investments. RIOS will be used to design 40 new water funds in Latin America and Africa.

Beyond model development, Heather has worked with governments, corporations and non-government groups to use science about nature’s benefits to inform environmental impact assessment, national accounting, land use planning, payment for ecosystem service design, and monitoring. She has guided research with diverse stakeholders across Latin America as well as in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Tanzania and the United States. On the international stage, she holds leadership and expert advisory roles with the World Bank and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

She received an M.S. in chemical oceanography from the University of California, Santa Cruz, an M.S. in marine ecology from the University of Otago in New Zealand and a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Washington. Heather is co-editor of the book, Natural Capital: The Theory and Practice of Mapping Ecosystem Services, released by Oxford University Press in 2011.


Human Dimensions

National Academies of Sciences. (2016). Effective Monitoring to Evaluate Ecological Restoration in the Gulf of Mexico.The National Academies Press, Washington DC.

Tallis, H., Polasky, S., Biske, R., DeGeus, D., Dell, R., Doane, M., Downes, L., Goldstein, J., Hodgman, T., Johnson, K., Luby, I., Pennington, D., Reuter, M., Segerson, K., Stark, I., Stark, J., Vollmer-Sanders, C. & Weaver, S.K. (2016). Financing Change: Five bold ways to revive the Dead Zone and rebuild soils. The University of Minnesota, St. Paul, and The Nature Conservancy, Washington, D.C.

Tallis, H., et al. (2016). Mitigation for the people: an ecosystem services framework. In: Handbook on biodiversity and ecosystem services in impact assessment (ed. Geneletti, D.). Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK, pp. 397–427.

Díaz, S., et al. (2015). The IPBES Conceptual Framework — connecting nature and people. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 14, 1–16.

Mandle, L., Tallis, H., Sotomayor, L. & Vogl, A.L. (2015). Who loses? Tracking ecosystem service redistribution from road development and mitigation in the Peruvian Amazon. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 13, 309–315.

Selomane, O., Reyers, B., Biggs, R., Tallis, H. & Polasky, S. (2015). Towards integrated social–ecological sustainability indicators: exploring the contribution and gaps in existing global data.Ecological Economics, 118, 140–146.

Tallis, H., et al. (2015). Mitigation for one & all: an integrated framework for mitigation of development impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 55, 21–34.

Williams, J.R., Masuda, Y.J. & Tallis, H. (2015). A measure whose time has come: formalizing time poverty. Social Indicators Research, 1–19.

Tallis, H., Lubchenco, J. & 238 others. (2014). Working together: a call for inclusive conservation. Nature, 515, 27–28.

Terrado, M., Acuña, V., Ennaanay, D., Tallis, H. & Sabater, S. (2014). Impact of climate extremes on hydrological ecosystem services in a heavily humanized Mediterranean basin.Ecological Indicators, 37, Part A, 199–209.

Fox, H.E., et al. (2009). Why do we fly? Ecologists’ sins of emission. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 7, 294–296.

Fischer, J., et al. (2008). Should agricultural policies encourage land sparing or wildlife-friendly farming? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 6, 380–385.


Ecosystem Services

Olander, L.P., Johnston, R.J., Tallis, H., Kagan, J., Maguire, L.A., Polasky, S., Urban, D., Boyd, J., Wainger, L. & Palmer, M. (2018). Benefit relevant indicators: Ecosystem services measures that link ecological and social outcomes. Ecological Indicators, 85, 1262–1272.

Allan, B.F., Tallis, H., Chaplin-Kramer, R., Huckett, S., Kowal, V.A., Musengezi, J., Okanga, S., Ostfeld, R.S., Schieltz, J., Warui, C.M., Wood, S.A. & Keesing, F. (2017). Can integrating wildlife and livestock enhance ecosystem services in central Kenya? Front Ecol Environ. doi: 10.1002/fee.1501

Balvanera, P., Quijas, S., Karp, D.S., Ash, N., Bennett, E.M., Boumans, R., Brown, C., Chan, K.M.A., Chaplin-Kramer, R., Halpern, B.S., Honey-Rosés, J., Kim, C.-K., Cramer, W., Martínez-Harms, M.J., Mooney, H., Mwampamba, T., Nel, J., Polasky, S., Reyers, B., Roman, J., Turner, W., Scholes, R.J., Tallis, H., Thonicke, K., Villa, F., Walpole, M. & Walz, A. (2017). Ecosystem Services. In: The GEO Handbook on Biodiversity Observation Networks. Springer, Cham, pp. 39–78.

Goldstein, J.H., Tallis, H., Cole, A., Schill, S., Martin, E., Heiner, M., Paiz, M.-C., Aldous, A., Apse, C. & Nickel, B. (2017). Spatial planning for a green economy: National-level hydrologic ecosystem services priority areas for Gabon. PLOS ONE, 12, e0179008.

Tallis, H. (2017). Energy and ecosystem services in Latin America. In: Energy Sprawl Solutions (eds. Kiesecker, J.M. & Naugle, D.E.). Island Press, Washington, D.C., pp. 89–100.

Grimm, N.B., Groffman, P., Staudinger, M. & Tallis, H. (2016). Climate change impacts on ecosystems and ecosystem services in the United States: process and prospects for sustained assessment. Climatic Change, 1–13.

Mandle, L., Douglass, J., Lozano, J.S., Sharp, R.P., Vogl, A.L., Denu, D., Walschburger, T. & Tallis, H. (2016). OPAL: An open-source software tool for integrating biodiversity and ecosystem services into impact assessment and mitigation decisions. Environmental Modelling & Software, 84, 121–133.

Mandle, L. & Tallis, H. (2016). Spatial Ecosystem Service Analysis for Environmental Impact Assessment of Projects. In: Handbook on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Impact Assessment. p. 15.

Tallis, H., Kennedy, C.M., Ruckelshaus, M., Goldstein, J. & Kiesecker, J.M. (2016). Mitigation for the people: an ecosystem services framework. In: Handbook on biodiversity and ecosystem services in impact assessment (ed. Geneletti, D.). Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK, pp. 397–427.

Guerry, A.D., et al. (2015). Natural capital and ecosystem services informing decisions: from promise to practice.PNAS, 112, 7348–7355.

Karp, D.S., Tallis, H., et al. (2015). National indicators for observing ecosystem service change. Global Environmental Change, 35, 12–21.

Olander, L., et al. (2015).Best practices for integrating ecosystem services into federal decision making.

Polasky, S., Tallis, H. & Reyers, B. (2015). Setting the bar: standards for ecosystem services. PNAS, 112, 7356–7361.

Ruckelshaus, M., et al. (2015). Notes from the field: lessons learned from using ecosystem service approaches to inform real-world decisions. Ecological Economics, 115, 11–21.

Bhagabati, N.K., et al. (2014). Ecosystem services reinforce Sumatran tiger conservation in land use plans. Biological Conservation, 169, 147–156.

Mooney, H. & Tallis, H. (2014). Fauna in decline: global assessments. Science, 345, 885.

Nelson, E.J., et al. (2013). Climate change’s impact on key ecosystem services and the human well-being they support in the US. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 11, 483–893.

Guerry, A.D., et al. (2012). Modeling benefits from nature: using ecosystem services to inform coastal and marine spatial planning.International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 8, 107–121.

Kim, C.-K., et al. (2012). Catching the right wave: evaluating wave energy resources and potential compatibility with existing marine and coastal uses. PLoS ONE, 7, e47598.

Reyers, B., Polasky, S., Tallis, H., Mooney, H.A. & Larigauderie, A. (2012). Finding common ground for biodiversity and ecosystem services. BioScience, 62, 503–507.

Tallis, H., et al. (2012).New metrics for managing and sustaining the ocean’s bounty. Marine Policy, 36, 303–306.

Tallis, H., et al. (2012). A global system for monitoring ecosystem service change. BioScience, 62, 977–986.

Tallis, H., Polasky, S., Lozano, J.S. & Wolny, S. (2012). Inclusive wealth accounting for regulating ecosystem services. In: Inclusive Wealth Report 2012: measuring progress toward sustainability. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 195–214.

Lester, S.E., et al. (2010). Science in support of ecosystem-based management for the US West Coast and beyond.Biological Conservation, 143, 576–587.

Tallis, H., et al. (2010). The many faces of ecosystem-based management: making the process work today in real places. Marine Policy, 34, 340–348.

Goldman, R.L. & Tallis, H. (2009). A critical analysis of ecosystem services as a tool in conservation projects. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1162, 63–78.

Nelson, E., et al. (2009). Modeling multiple ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation, commodity production, and tradeoffs at landscape scales. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 7, 4–11.

Tallis, H. (2009). Kelp and rivers subsidize rocky intertidal communities in the Pacific Northwest (USA). MEPS, 389, 85–96.

Tallis, H., Goldman, R., Uhl, M. & Brosi, B. (2009). Integrating conservation and development in the field: implementing ecosystem service projects. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 7, 12–20.

Tallis, H.M., Ruesink, J.L., Dumbauld, B., Hacker, S. & Wisehart, L.M. (2009). Oysters and aquaculture practices affect eelgrass density and productivity in a Pacific Northwest estuary.Journal of Shellfish Research, 28, 251–261.

Tallis, H. & Polasky, S. (2009). Mapping and valuing ecosystem services as an approach for conservation and natural-resource management. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1162, 265–283.

Goldman, R.L., Tallis, H., Kareiva, P. & Daily, G.C. (2008). Field evidence that ecosystem service projects support biodiversity and diversify options. PNAS, 105, 9445–9448.

Richardson, N.F., et al. (2008). Bacterial abundance and aerobic microbial activity across natural and oyster aquaculture habitats during summer conditions in a northeastern Pacific estuary. Hydrobiologia, 596, 269–278.

Tallis, H., Ferdaña, Z. & Gray, E. (2008). Linking terrestrial and marine conservation planning and threats analysis. Conservation Biology, 22, 120–130.

Tallis, H., Kareiva, P., Marvier, M. & Chang, A. (2008). An ecosystem services framework to support both practical conservation and economic development. PNAS, 105, 9457–9464.

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