Media Coverage & Publicity
The Natural Capital Project is at the forefront of the movement to align economic forces with conservation. Over the years we have been featured in numerous pieces in the local, national, and international news. Here you will find a selection of recent news articles as well as our latest press releases. For the most up-to date information, you may wish to subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
NatCap symposium: Influencing outcomes for people and nature by Marie Donahue
UMN Institute on the Environment, May 14, 2015
by Marie Donahue
In March, the Natural Capital Project, a partnership among the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment, Stanford University's Woods Institute of the Environment, The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund that works to develop ecosystem services concepts, tools and science that influence decision making and lead to better outcomes for humans and nature, hosted a Natural Capital Symposium at Stanford. The three-day event provided a platform for a broad audience to learn new and existing tools, network among fellow researchers and practitioners, and share and discuss ongoing ecosystem services research and projects.
Scientists: Base payments for ecosystem services on scientific evidence by Thomas Hubert
Forests News, April 28, 2015
by Thomas Hubert
BOGOR, Indonesia-In an opinion article in Science magazine more than 45 scientists asked policymakers and environmental agencies to "get the science right when paying for nature's services".
Return of the fish wars: Hatchery pits environmentalists against tribe by E. Tammy Kim
Al Jazeera America, April 22, 2015
by E. Tammy Kim
LOWER ELWHA KLALLAM RESERVATION, Wash. — The Elwha, like so many coastal Natives, are salmon people. Their history of dugout canoes and hundred-pound chinook is inseparable from the glacial river that shares their name.
Clean lakes draw more people, and more money, Flickr photos show by Jen Davison
College of The Environment, University of Washington, April 21, 2015
by Jen Davison
One of the joys of going on vacation in today's world is sharing our photos on social media. Whether we post them ourselves, or enjoy photos shared from someone else's sun-soaked, lakeside vacation, now these pictures are being used for more than evoking slight pangs of envy. Scientists from the University of Washington and other institutions are using geotagged images to better understand why people choose to visit one body of water over another, how water health might play into that decision, and how much individuals might be willing to pay to keep their lakes clean.
The benefits of getting your kids exploring outside by New Day NW Producers
KING 5, April 9, 2015
by New Day NW Producers
With available technology for kids to spend hours and hours in front a screen a day, it can be hard to encourage children to get out side and play. Jodie Toft, a Marine Ecologist with The Nature Conservancy in Washington explains why it is important to help children find fun in nature and tips on how to accomplish that. Jodie creates fun ideas to engage children outside of all ages and encourages individuals to utilize the resources provided by The Nature Conservancy.
Social media fueled research could help protect the environment by Allison Kronberg
Minnesota Daily, April 7, 2015
by Allison Kronberg
From an Instagram photo of an awe-inspiring hike through the Rocky Mountains to a tweet recommending a peaceful camping spot by the Boundary Waters, social media outlets have become popular ways for many outdoor enthusiasts to share their stories.
7 things we learned about social media & environment by Anya Moucha
University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment, April 1, 2015
by Anya Moucha
This week Brent Hecht, an assistant professor in the College of Science and Engineering, and Spencer Wood, senior scientist with the Natural Capital Project at Stanford University, joined Frontiers in the Environment to discuss how social media can be used to inform the causes and consequences of environmental change.
Climate change: The debate now is about how we adapt by Josh Lawler & Mary Ruckelshaus
The Seattle Times, March 23, 2015
by Josh Lawler & Mary Ruckelshaus
THE science is clear: The climate is changing and human activity is the major contributor. Rather than debating the existence and causes of climate change, as the state Senate recently did, the question before Washington's residents and, importantly, our Legislature is what are we going to do about it?
Kenya launches Africa's first water fund to combat shortages by Katy Migiro
Reuters, March 20, 2015
by Katy Migiro
NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Kenya launched Africa's first water fund on Friday, a public-private partnership aimed at raising $15 million to provide clean water to 9.3 million people by protecting the basin of the country's longest river.
Water Fund to benefit conservation by Alberto Leny
Sci Dev Net, March 20, 2015
by Alberto Leny
A new project that aims to deliver sustained water supply to over 9.3 million people while conserving the environment has been launched today in Kenya.
Get the science right to value nature
PHYS.ORG, March 13, 2015
An international group of scientists, industry representatives and policymakers wants to set guidelines for the science behind valuing nature.
Peter Kareiva on "What's Good for Nature is Good for Business" by Bob Lalasz
Cool Green Science, March 11, 2015
by Bob Lalasz
Capitalism eats nature for breakfast — that's received wisdom among environmentalists. It's wisdom that's also increasingly being challenged these days — most recently during a lively debate last month in London sponsored by Intelligence Squared in partnership with The Nature Conservancy.
During the event, Conservancy Chief Scientist Peter Kareiva argued that economic growth, high finance and the corporate bottom line are not only compatible with healthy nature, but essential to it.
Livelihood outcomes of payment for ecosystem services in Ecuadorian highland Andean grasslands by Leah Bremer & Kathleen A. Farley
Landscapes for People, Food and Nature, February 16, 2015
by Leah Bremer & Kathleen A. Farley
In Latin America and around the world, payment for ecosystem services (PES) programs represents a growing approach to conservation. In many cases, these programs aim to tackle social and environmental goals at the same time through, for example, improving the livelihoods of farmers while also encouraging more sustainable land-use practices. Ecuador's SocioBosque program, a national-scale program that pays rural farmers and communities to conserve their forest or native highland grasslands (páramos) is a good example of a PES program. In this case, SocioBosque and its nested SocioPáramo program (focused on highland Andean grasslands) strive to protect biodiversity, ensure ample and clean water, store carbon, and reduce poverty among participant farmers and rural communities.
Unraveling the complex web of global food trade
PHYS.ORG, February 11, 2015
Growing global trade is critically important for providing food when and where it's needed—but it makes it harder to link the benefits of food and the environmental burden of its production. A study published this week in the journal BioScience by an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment proposes to extend the way we characterize global food trade to include nutritional value and resource consumption alongside more conventional measures of trade's value.
Cleaner Lakes Are Social Media Stars by Elizabeth Preston
Discover Magazine, February 6, 2015
by Elizabeth Preston
Minnesota is the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," at least 13 of which are named Clear. But some of these lakes are clearer and cleaner than others. Does that matter to the tourists who visit them? Researchers found an easy way to answer this question by taking a deep dive into Flickr.
The Allure of Clean Lakes
Conservation Magazine, February 5, 2015
How much is water quality worth to society? It's a hard question to answer, at least without undertaking expensive surveys. Now researchers have turned to the enormous cache of public photos on Flickr to find out how much people value lakes with clear water. The team found that people visited clearer lakes more frequently and were willing to travel farther to reach them.
Online photos provide evidence for the value of clean water
University of Minnesota Discover, February 3, 2015
New study shows lakes with greater water quality receive more visits and users are willing to travel further to reach them
Loss of honey bees and other pollinators could mean malnutrition for millions around the world by Adelyn Baxter
PBS Newshour, January 28, 2015
by Adelyn Baxter
New research from scientists at the University of Vermont and Harvard University demonstrates the devastating impact the continued loss of pollinators like honey bees could have on millions of people in the developing world.
A Hidden Hunger: How Bee Decline Can Hurt Humans Too by Brian Stallard
Nature World News, January 26, 2015
by Brian Stallard
You've likely heard of the global decline in pollinators, a trend sparked by invasive parasites, climate change, and infamously harmful pesticides. Now a new study has revealed why more people should be trying to 'save the bees.' Their decline is hurting humans too, leaving a good number of developing countries at risk of malnutrition.
Research shows loss of pollinators increases risk of malnutrition and disease by Joshua E. Brown
PHYS.ORG, January 26, 2015
by Joshua E. Brown
A new study shows that more than half the people in some developing countries could become newly at risk for malnutrition if crop-pollinating animals—like bees—continue to decline.
Should we put a price on nature? by Ben Goldfarb
High Country News, January 19, 2015
by Ben Goldfarb
The west coast of Vancouver Island boasts the kind of wild shoreline that could swallow a kayaker for weeks. Crenellated with fjords and stippled with islands, it's a place where old-growth stands of Doug-fir yield to rocky beaches, where black bears stalk the tidelines, and where, each March, some 20,000 gray whales cruise by en route to the Bering Sea. Yet even in this natural outpost, human enterprises clash: Cargo freighters and commercial fishermen spar over shipping lanes and fishing grounds; salmon- farmers and kayak guides struggle for control of coastal waters; -logging, mining and resort-building threaten seagrass beds.
Can cities lead the way in maximizing nature's value? by Glenn Prickett
GreenBiz, January 13, 2015
by Glenn Prickett
The idea of valuing nature's services to people is not new. In 1937, Franklin Delano Roosevelt referred to natural resources as our "permanent capital," a budget that the country was spending down faster than it could replenish. Certainly FDR was not the first to see the critical link between sustaining nature's resources and our continued growth.
OPAL software aims to restore ecosystems by Michael Ansaldo
GreenBiz, January 5, 2015
by Michael Ansaldo
It's projected that $57 trillion will be spent on new infrastructure projects by 2030, much of it in developing countries. Because such projects can damage or destroy critical environmental services, nearly 200 countries as well as many financial institutions - including International Finance Corporation and Equator Principals Financial Institutions, which provide more than 70 percent of international project finance debt in developing economies - now require developers to assess and mitigate any environmental costs. The trouble is the current offset approach too often results in restoration efforts taking place far from where the ecosystem was damaged.
Stanford scientist examines ways to put stormwater to use in big cities
Stanford News Service, December 12, 2014
Stanford researchers plan to use data from St. Paul, Minnesota, to determine the value of stormwater, and apply these lessons to water projects in Brazil and Ethiopia.
Affecting change on the ground: an interview with Anne Guerry of the Natural Capital Project by Josh Lawler
Leopold Leadership 3.0, December 8, 2014
by Josh Lawler
Moving science out of the ivory tower, off the pages of journals, and into the hands of conservation practitioners, regional planners, and corporate decision makers is not something most environmental scientists learned how to do in grad school. However, it is exactly what the scientists at the Natural Capital Project do day in and day out.
Stanford collaboration helps governments offset damage caused by development projects by Rob Jordan
Stanford Report, December 4, 2014
by Rob Jordan
A powerful new software program provides more effective accounting of the impacts of development projects and offers possible remedies to the ecological damage they cause.
Global pollinator decline may lead to human malnutrition
Science for Environment Policy, November 27, 2014
The worldwide decline of pollinators could increase cases of vitamin and micronutrient deficiencies in humans, new research suggests. For instance, pollination is needed for the crops that produce half of all plant-derived vitamin A across much of south-east Asia. Furthermore, areas which depend most on pollination for micronutrient supply tend to be poorer and already at higher risk of deficiencies.
Risk and Results in Belize by Katie Arkema and Amy Rosenthal
WWF Science Driven Blog, November 19, 2014
by Katie Arkema and Amy Rosenthal
What do looking both ways to cross the street, buying insurance, and marine conservation have in common? Answer: They are all strategies for reducing risks. And we do such things because they help to achieve better results — crossing safely, avoiding bankruptcy, and preserving the coastal habitats that manatees, turtles, and people all depend on.
Using science to open way to 'blue economy'
PHYS.ORG, November 18, 2014
Today, scientists at the Natural Capital Project share new science and open source software that can calculate risk to coastal and marine ecosystems. These novel tools, described in the journal Environmental Research Letters, were used to design the first integrated coastal zone management plan for the Caribbean country of Belize.
A Scientist's Call for Civility
And Diversity in Conservation by Diane Toomey
Environment 360, November 13, 2014
by Diane Toomey
The ongoing debate over how to value the natural world has become rancorous and counterproductive, says marine biologist Jane Lubchenco. It is time, she tells Yale Environment 360, for the dispute to end and for conservation efforts to become more diverse.
Celebrating 10 years of environmental solutions at Stanford by Rob Jordan
Stanford Report, November 10, 2014
by Rob Jordan
With its Nov. 11 symposium, the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment marks a decade of interdisciplinary breakthroughs at Stanford with panels on innovation, collaboration and the future of environmental solutions.
Open letter to journal Nature calls out polarized debate in conservation
Indiana Student Daily, November 9, 2014
Two-hundred forty leading conservationists wrote a letter published in Thursday's edition of Nature , an international weekly journal of science. These conservationists argued that the influence of conservation is being hurt by the field's lack of inclusiveness, according to an IU news release.
Lack of diversity is impeding effective conservation action, say experts by Suzanne Goldenberg
The Guardian, November 7, 2014
by Suzanne Goldenberg
Nearly 250 experts, including Jane Lubchenco, have signed a letter saying infighting and exclusion of women and minorities within the conservation movement is preventing effective action worldwide
Incorporate more voices to loosen conservation gridlock, scientists urge by Sandra Hines
UW Today, November 5, 2014
by Sandra Hines
More diverse voices could help break a deadlock gripping the conservation community, according to a commentary in the Nov. 6 issue of the journal Nature and a petition with 238 co-signatories – including a dozen from the University of Washington.
Leading conservationists call for a "unified and diverse conservation ethic" by Tim Stephens
UC Santa Cruz NewsCenter, November 5, 2014
by Tim Stephens
A new petition published in the journal Nature today from 240 leading conservationists, including UC Santa Cruz faculty, argues that conservation's impact on the world is being hindered by the field's lack of inclusiveness—particularly of the many different values people hold for nature, and of the viewpoints of women and diverse ethnicities and cultures.
Why Conservation Should Embrace a Diversity of People & Values by Heather Tallis
Cool Green Science, November 5, 2014
by Heather Tallis
The fields of nature conservation science and practice have spent the last few years in a bit of an identity crisis. Conflict has been growing around which values should sit at the core of the field, and which kinds of actions should be used to secure a thriving planet.
Pandas and agricultural best practices at IonE by Monique Dubos
UMN Institute on the Environment News, October 28, 2014
by Monique Dubos
There's a panda at the Institute on the Environment — a World Wildlife Fund "panda," that is. Derric Pennington, a senior conservation scientist with WWF and part of Natural Capital Project–WWF, has taken up residency here and is collaborating with IonE on several research projects, including one with The Coca-Cola Company and the Luc Hoffman Institute to assess just how effective sustainability certification standards are at improving our environmental footprint.
Games: A Win for Conservation by Amy Rosenthal and Gregory Verutes
Science Driven, October 13, 2014
by Amy Rosenthal and Gregory Verutes
Natural capital is everywhere. It's the fresh air we breathe, the clean water we drink, the beautiful coral reefs we visit that protect coastal communities from storms and support fisheries around the world. Some of these benefits that our lands, waters and biodiversity provide are not fully appreciated, often because they don't have a price tag like products in a store. Yet without them our well-being, even our survival, would be threatened.
Nature as Normal: Our Lead Scientist's Research Agenda by Heather Tallis
Cool Green Science, October 8, 2014
by Heather Tallis
When do you think about nature? Is it when you wake up? When you turn on the faucet? When you drop your kid off for school? When you pick the investment portfolio for your retirement, or give to a charity that helps the poor? Of course not. We don't think about nature as part of our everyday lives. Some people say that's what's wrong with the world today — people are too disconnected from nature.
Decline of bees and other pollinators could worsen global malnutrition by Jennifer Balmer
Science, October 8, 2014
by Jennifer Balmer
Although bees, butterflies, and other winged creatures serve as natural pollinators for many of the world's plants, they contribute only modestly to the world's agricultural production—accounting for between 5% and 10% of the production of food crops. However, such natural pollinators may play a disproportionately large role in human nutrition and health, according to a new study.
WWF spotlights the tech that is conserving the planet by Lyndsey Gilpin
TechRepublic, October 8, 2014
by Lyndsey Gilpin
Jon Hoekstra, chief scientist of WWF, discussed how new technologies are playing a central role in global conservation efforts at SXSWEco on Wednesday.
FACT SHEET: Building community resilience by strengthening America's natural resources and supporting green infrastructure
The White House Council on Environmental Quality, October 8, 2014
President Obama has made it clear that we have a moral obligation to our children and future generations to leave behind a planet that is not polluted and damaged. That is why, as part of his effort to combat climate change, the President launched a Climate Action Plan last year to cut carbon pollution, prepare communities for the impacts of climate change, and lead international efforts to address this global challenge
Should Pollinator Research Focus on Regions with Malnutrition?
Conservation, September 19, 2014
Pollinators + plants = food. Right? The domesticated honeybee, along with a handful of wild bee species, is in decline. But 75 percent of the 115 major crop species grown around the world rely on pollinators to give us that food. This equation is woefully out of balance.
Mosquitoes, Heat & Floods: The Challenges of Monitoring Water Funds by Dan Auerbach & Leah Bremer
Cool Green Science, September 18, 2014
by Dan Auerbach & Leah Bremer
Amidst all the talk of "big data" – vast amounts of information that defy traditional analysis – you might think data are getting cheap and easy to come by these days. But that would be a mistake, especially when it comes to monitoring conservation measures. Take water funds. Water funds are collaborative efforts to secure ample clean water through careful watershed management – things like protecting native vegetation, supporting smart grazing practices, or thinning overgrown forests to reduce catastrophic wildfire risk.
Global importance of pollinators underestimated
PHYS.ORG, September 17, 2014
Declines in populations of pollinators, such as bees and wasps, may be a key threat to nutrition in some of the most poorly fed parts of the globe, according to new research.
Stanford research links malnutrition and pollination by Liz Rauer
Stanford Report, September 17, 2014
by Liz Rauer
Researchers with the Natural Capital Project discover micronutrient deficiencies are three times as likely to occur in areas dependent upon pollinating insects.
Diversify Your Species: New Paper from NatureNet Fellow Danny Karp by Cara Byington
Cool Green Science, September 15, 2014
by Cara Byington
First, the depressing news: humanity is driving half of all life on Earth to extinction, mainly through land conversion for agriculture. Now, the encouraging news: a recent study published in Science suggests that farmers have the power to prevent a lot of these extinctions—and the loss of millions of years of evolutionary history (called phylogenetic diversity) that these species represent—simply by adopting changes in their practices like crop diversification and maintaining habitat near their fields.
Diversified farming practices might preserve evolutionary diversity of wildlife, say Stanford and Berkeley biologists by Bjorn Carey
Stanford Report, September 11, 2014
by Bjorn Carey
A long-term study in Costa Rica has revealed that habitat destruction significantly reduces the incidence of evolutionarily distinct species. The research suggests alternative land-use practices that sustain farming and biodiversity.
Expanding Existing Farmland Would Benefit Climate by Bobby Magill
Climate Central, August 14, 2014
by Bobby Magill
With worldwide food production expected to double by 2050, it's almost inevitable that agriculture is going to have to expand in a warming world with a growing population. A new study suggests that if new farmland is created carefully, billions of tons of carbon emissions could be saved.
Feeding everyone with a minimum of carbon emissions by John Timmer
Ars Technica, August 11, 2014
by John Timmer
Agriculture has an enormous footprint—by some estimates, it accounts for more than 90 percent of humanity's water use. One of the other areas where its footprint is felt is in carbon emissions. Converting land to agriculture disrupts the existing soil ecosystem, releasing carbon stored there into the atmosphere; a large fraction of humanity's collective carbon emissions fall under the category of "land use change."
Strategically focusing agricultural expansion could save 6 billion metric tons of carbon
University of Minnesota Discover, August 11, 2014
Selectively clearing lands with high production potential offers opportunity to save $1 trillion in climate change mitigation costs over "business as usual" growth
How to boost food production but not emissions? Researchers identify key ways by Noelle Swan
The Christian Science Monitor, July 18, 2014
by Noelle Swan
The international agricultural system already produces a hefty share of the world's greenhouse gases, making expansion of food production a delicate balancing act. But it might not be as hard as it seems, researchers say.
How can we feed billions more people? by Victoria Bekiempis
Newsweek, July 17, 2014
by Victoria Bekiempis
One out of every eight people in the world goes hungry. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, which calculated this figure, has also reported that 852 million of these 870 million hungry people live in developing countries. Worse, the world population will likely balloon from its present 7.1 billion to 9.6 billion by 2050. Scientists say this will be coupled with a projected doubling in demand for crops by that same year.
Sizing Down Food Waste: What's the worst thing to toss? by Michaeleen Doucleff
NPR, July 17, 2014
by Michaeleen Doucleff
Sometimes I feel like a broken record at home: "Let's eat the leftovers for dinner, so they don't go to waste," But inevitably, Sunday night's pasta and meatballs get tossed out of the refrigerator to make way for Friday night's pizza. Now scientists at the University of Minnesota offer up another reason to put those leftover meatballs in the tummy instead of the garbage: There are hidden calories in the beef that go to waste when you toss it.
Food used to fatten animals could feed 3 billion by John Roach
NBC News, July 17, 2014
by John Roach
If all the food used to fatten up cows, chickens and pigs went straight to people instead, it would feed several billion more people than the food does today, according to a new study. "We've taken 10,000 years to get to the point of growing as much food as we are doing now," said Paul West, a food expert at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. "In the next four decades or so we have to figure out how to double that …. Another thing that is simultaneously occurring is that agriculture has the biggest effect on our environment." Fortunately for meat lovers, completely forgoing burgers, wings, and bacon won't be necessary. But, when weather or disease lays waste to a lot of food, crops traditionally grown for animal feed could serve as a safety valve in times of need, West said. These and a handful of other targeted strategies could provide enough new calories to meet the basic needs for more than 3 billion people, West and colleagues conclude in their paper published Thursday in the journal Science.
Take Nothing but Pictures by Hugh Biggar
Stanford Magazine, July/August, 2014
by Hugh Biggar
Sightseeing shutterbugs plus social media provide a snapshot of global tourism.
Crop switch could cost millions in water contamination by Mark Steil
MPR News, July 10, 2014
by Mark Steil
The number of southeastern Minnesota household wells that are contaminated with potentially dangerous nitrates could increase by nearly 50 percent in coming years, a University of Minnesota study shows.
Deforestation intensifying in Indonesia's carbon-rich wetlands as country faces intense fire season by Elizabeth Harball
Climatewire, June 30, 2014
by Elizabeth Harball
Trees in Indonesia are disappearing at twice the rate reported by the nation's government, according to a new analysis of deforestation rates. The data also suggests that the nation's 2011 regulations to halt deforestation were largely ineffective, the study authors say.
Resilience by design: water funds for multifunctional landscapes by Becky Chaplin-Kramer
CGIAR Agriculture and Ecosystems Blog, June 6, 2014
by Becky Chaplin-Kramer
Since the Green Revolution, we've been relying heavily on a strategy to control variability in agricultural systems, as we strive to minimize agricultural nuisances such as soil infertility, pest impacts, and inadequate precipitation through the use of chemicals and irrigation. This has won us some major successes in increasing yields, but at high cost to the many other benefits provided in and by agricultural landscapes.
The physics of ocean undertow: Small forces make a big difference in beach erosion
Phys.org, May 13, 2014
People standing on a beach often feel the water tugging the sand away from under their feet. This is the undertow, the current that pulls water back into the ocean after a wave breaks on the beach.
Large storms produce strong undertows that can strip beaches of sand. By predicting how undertows interact with shorelines, researchers can build sand dunes and engineer other soft solutions to create more robust and sustainable beaches.
Go Minnesota NatCap! by Bonnie Keeler
Eye on Earth, May 2, 2014
by Bonnie Keeler
Policy makers, land managers, and other stakeholders confront a dizzying array of environmental decisions. How do we best manage our natural resources? Where should we invest in conservation? Do we need stricter regulation of development or industry? The Natural Capital Project, a core program of the Institute on the Environment, develops innovative tools and approaches to inform these important questions.
Stanford researchers rethink 'natural' habitat for wildlife by Rob Jordan
Stanford News, April 16, 2014
by Rob Jordan
Protecting wildlife while feeding a world population predicted to reach 9 billion by 2050 will require a holistic approach to conservation that considers human-altered landscapes such as farmland, according to Stanford researchers.
What happens when there are 9 billion mouths to feed Interview by Kai Ryssdal
Marketplace, April 16, 2014
Interview by Kai Ryssdal
As it stands right now, the world has a little over 7 billion people. Come 2050, however, that "7" will look more like a "9," and those 2 billion extra mouths could mean disaster for the planet's already-strained resources. Jonathan Foley wrote the cover story for the May issue of National Geographic magazine, kicking off an eight-month series on food and sustainability. In his words: "We've got to get more value out of agriculture.We need to figure out how to feed a growing and more prosperous world, but we also have to figure out how to make it more sustainable."
Feeding 9 Billion: A five step plan to feed the world by Jon Foley. Photographs by George Steinmetz and Jim Richardson
National Geographic Magazine, April 2014
by Jon Foley. Photographs by George Steinmetz and Jim Richardson
It doesn't have to be factory farms versus small, organic ones. There's another way. When we think about threats to the environment, we tend to picture cars and smokestacks, not dinner. But the truth is, our need for food poses one of the biggest dangers to the planet.
Networking Nature: How Technology Is Transforming Conservation by Jon Hoekstra
Foreign Affairs, March/April 2014
by Jon Hoekstra
Conservation is for the first time beginning to operate at the pace and on the scale necessary to keep up with, and even get ahead of, the planet's most intractable environmental challenges. New technologies have given conservationists abilities that would have seemed like super powers just a few years ago. We can now monitor entire ecosystems -- think of the Amazon rainforest -- in nearly real time, using remote sensors to map their three-dimensional structures; satellite communications to follow elusive creatures, such as the jaguar and the puma; and smartphones to report illegal logging.
Heinz Award honor 5 for innovative work by Joyce Gannon
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 25, 2014
by Joyce Gannon
The winners of this year's Heinz Awards range from a best-selling fiction author who also teaches medicine at Stanford University, to a 31-year-old entrepreneur who uses technology to train workers in remote and impoverished locations.
A Leading Analyst of Global Food Solutions Gets a Deserved Honor by Andrew C. Revkin
New York Times - Dot Earth Blog, February 25, 2014
by Andrew C. Revkin
I can't find an unjustified line in the Heinz Award citation for Jonathan Foley, the director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. An excerpt is below, along with links to background on the four other winners of this annual prize, which honors the memory of Senator John Heinz and is given to people improving the human condition and environment through work in areas ranging from poverty alleviation to the arts and sciences.
Mapping Nature's Value: How do Belize's coastal ecosystems touch human lives?
World Wildlife Magazine, Spring 2014
Can understanding lobster fisheries, tourism and coastal defense help Belize chart a smarter course?
Preserving nature isn't about aesthetics. It's about necessity. by Jonathan Foley
Ensia, January 15th, 2014
by Jonathan Foley
Some "post-environmentalists" want to embrace the bold new world of the Anthropocene — but can we afford to let the Holocene go?
Efforts to curb unbridled growth that's killing the planet by Carolyn Lochhead
San Francisco Chronicle, January 4th, 2014
by Carolyn Lochhead
Fresh-faced tech millionaires snap up glitzy new condos in San Francisco. Across America, construction is up and unemployment is down. Consumers are buying. The economy is growing. Yet instead of applause, voices from across the political spectrum - Berkeley activists and Beltway conservatives, Pope Francis and even some corporate CEOs - offer a critique of economic growth and its harm to the well-being of humans and the planet.
How we can use nature to fend off flooding in Puget Sound by Michael S. Stevens and Mary Ruckelshaus
Seattle Times Op-ed, December 12th, 2013
by Michael S. Stevens and Mary Ruckelshaus
Something is happening in our river valleys, on fertile farmlands and along our shorelines. Record floods and tides make clear that something has changed. "We're sitting here on the pointy end of the pineapple express," says Jay Gordon, a third-generation farmer on the Chehalis River and executive director of the Washington State Dairy Federation. "The climate-change theory that we're going to see more rain and more floods — it's not a theory. We're living it."
How Important Is A Bee? by Robert Krulwich
NPR - Krulwich Wonders, December 6th, 2013
by Robert Krulwich
This is an alarming story, not because it ends badly. It's alarming because it ends well. It shouldn't have, but it did, and biologists (and especially conservationists) now have a puzzle to ponder. The story begins in central China, in an apple-growing region called Maoxian County, near the city of Chengdu. In the mid-1990s, the bees that regularly showed up there every spring suddenly didn't. Apple farmers, obviously, need bees. Bees dust their way through blossoms, moving from flower to flower, pollinating, which helps produce apples in September. What happened to the bees?
Gaza Need Not Be a Sewer Op-Ed by NatCap Visiting Scholar ALON TAL and YOUSEF ABU-MAYLA
The New York Times, December 2nd, 2013
Op-Ed by NatCap Visiting Scholar ALON TAL and YOUSEF ABU-MAYLA
For two decades, Palestinian and Israeli environmentalists set aside their differences to call for urgent measures to address the impending water crisis in the Gaza Strip. These calls went unheeded. The price of inaction, protracted conflict and unsustainable policies is being paid today by the 1.7 million residents of Gaza, who face catastrophic conditions thanks to the collapse of Gaza's sewage system.
Moving Beyond GDP by Sean McElwee
Huffington Post, November 26th, 2013
by Sean McElwee
The 2007 economic crisis and the lingering stagnation it wrought has lead economists, philosophers and policymakers to a profound rethinking of how we measure economic performance and social progress. As Joseph E. Stiglitz, Amartya Sen and Jean-Paul Fitoussi write in the forward to their book, Mismeasuring Our Lives, during the run-up to the 2007 crisis, "the seemingly strong performance of some countries prior to the crisis (as predicted by GDP) was not sustainable and was based on "bubble" prices that exaggerated profits and output."
The world's new megacities must be the drivers of the 'smart' water revolution by Giulio Boccaletti
The Guardian, December 12th, 2013
by Giulio Boccaletti
As cities grow to tens of millions strong, accelerated urbanisation coupled with concerns for water security is energising the "smart" water tech market
Who Is Conservation For? by Paul Voosen
The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 10th, 2013
by Paul Voosen
Once, Gretchen Daily only had eyes for the rain forest. Eighteen years ago, as a young scientist on the rise, Daily arrived at a renowned research station in the hills of Costa Rica armed with nearly 100 shellacked plywood platforms. As a student at Stanford University, studying under the famed biologist Paul Ehrlich, she had seen how large birds, defying expectations, seemed to thrive on small bits of forest spackled in the area's coffee plantations, when theory predicted their demise. On her return, she planned to spread her feeding platforms in staggered densities to test that observation; local kids promised to monitor the mesitas.
Innovation Earth: Green Bus To The Rescue by Jennifer Grayson
Huffington Post, October 22nd, 2013
by Jennifer Grayson
Next Tuesday, it will have been one year since the monstrous Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast, killing 117 people in the U.S., destroying thousands of homes and wreaking $65 billion in damage. And while this year's hurricane season has been thankfully quiet so far, it does have some now questioning global warming's role in all of this; that is, whether climate change will actually increase, or decrease, the likelihood of Superstorm Sandy-type storms.
Vacation pics mined for vital data: Who went where, when? by Devin Coldewey
NBC News, October 18th, 2013
by Devin Coldewey
Those pictures of Yellowstone you uploaded to Flickr are doing more than delighting your friends and family — big data scientists are mining the photo website for data that reveals visitation patterns of natural attractions.
Scientists Making Good Use of Those Vacation Photos You Posted Online by Elizabeth Rauer
Stanford News, October 18th, 2013
by Elizabeth Rauer
Scientists use social media – vacation photos from Flickr – to study how people use natural areas for tourism and recreation.
Overpopulation Is Still the Problem by NatCap Visiting Scholar Alon Tal
Huffington Post, September 27th, 2013
by NatCap Visiting Scholar Alon Tal
Overpopulation remains the leading driver of hunger, desertification, species depletion and a range of social maladies across the planet. Recently, a spate of op-ed essays have filled the pages of some of world's top newspapers and blogs -- from the Guardian to the New York Times -- challenged this view, declaring that overpopulations is not, nor has ever been, a problem. To make progress in the most recent round of the age-old debate between technological optimists and Malthusian realists, it's important to establish criteria and characterize consequences.
Pest-eating birds mean money for coffee growers, Stanford biologists find by Bjorn Carey
Stanford News, September 3rd, 2013
by Bjorn Carey
This is the first time scientists have assigned a monetary value to the pest-control benefits rainforest can provide to agriculture. Their study could provide the framework for pest management that helps both farmers and biodiversity.
The Triple Bottom Line and the Wealth of Nations by Andrew Burger
USA Today, September 16th, 2013
by Andrew Burger
While there are thousands of organizations working to solve the world's problems, the ways these groups operate and measure success differ markedly. Perhaps these differences could be overcome if local public interest and community development groups were to use similar metrics, tools and methodologies to support their efforts and realize their aims?
Is Conservation Extinct? by Hillary Rosner
Ensia, July 22nd, 2013
by Hillary Rosner
Conservationists are used to justifying their work. Since the movement first took shape in the 1800s, they've provided a litany of contemporary arguments for conserving the natural world, from economic (protecting forests for wood) to spiritual (preserving places that stir the soul) to scientific (safeguarding biological systems). But lately they've been wrestling internally with another fundamental question about their task: not why we should save nature, but what exactly we should save and how we should save it. Against a backdrop of growing global resource demand and climate change — as well as emerging technologies, such as synthetic biology — that are wreaking philosophical havoc, finding the answers is urgent.
China's clean-water program benefits people and the environment, Stanford research shows by Bjorn Carey
USA Today, July 14th, 2013
by Bjorn Carey
Rice farming near Beijing has contaminated and tapped the city's drinking water supply. For the past four years, China has been paying farmers to grow corn instead of rice, an effort that Stanford research shows is paying off for people and the environment.
Dunes, reefs protect U.S. coasts from climate change by Wendy Koch
USA Today, July 14th, 2013
by Wendy Koch
Rising sea levels and extreme weather put 16% of U.S. coastlines at "high-hazard" risk and the number of threatened residents could double if natural habitats -- sand dunes, coral reefs, sea grasses, mangroves -- aren't protected, Stanford University researchers say in a study today.
An Eco-Friendly Solution to Coastal Hazards by Eliana Dockterman
TIME, July 15th, 2013
by Eliana Dockterman
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, a study suggests that conservation can protect potential storm victims. Unfortunately for America's coastal cities, Superstorm Sandy was not an aberration. The storm that left so many Northeasterners stranded in flooded homes without electricity was just the first of many to be expected as sea levels continue to rise due to climate change. Cities are constructing plans to protect themselves from future storms—Mayor Michael Bloomberg released his strategy for New York City to the tune of $20 billion this month—scientists, engineers and politicians are seeking out innovative ways to protect our coastlines. A new study suggests that conservation of our ecosystems may be the answer.
New Map Shows Where Nature Protects U.S. Coast by Brian Handwek
National Geographic, July 14th, 2013
by Brian Handwek
Real estate is all about location, and coastal reefs and wetlands now look like especially attractive neighbors. Americans looking to buy seaside property would do well to study the first-ever nationwide map showing how and where natural habitats like reefs and vegetation best protect coastal residents from rising seas and catastrophic storms like last year's Hurricane Sandy.
Natural defences can sharply limit coastal damage by Virginia Gewin
NATURE News, July 14th, 2013
by Virginia Gewin
Reefs, dunes and marshes are key to protecting lives and property against storm surges and long-term sea-level rise. Coastal forests, coral reefs, sand dunes and wetlands are just a few of the natural habitats that protect two-thirds of of the US coastline from hazards such as hurricane storm surges — shielding not only high-value properties in New York and California but also the poor in Texas and the elderly in Florida.
Saving coastal habitats may help cut cost of storm damage by David Perlman
San Francisco Chronicle, July 14th, 2013
by David Perlman
Floods and violent storms along America's coasts will cost billions in lost homes and threaten countless people as sea levels continue rising, but saving natural barriers like sand dunes, coastal bluffs and even kelp forests could cut those losses by half, a Stanford-based study maintains.
When it comes to protecting people and property from rising sea levels and catastrophic storms, it turns out that nature can often provide a better solution than an expensive engineering project.
Unexpected ally against future hurricanes: nature? by Liz Fuller-Wright
The Christian Science Monitor, July 15th, 2013
by Liz Fuller-Wright
Mother Nature might provide the best defense against rising sea levels and ever-larger hurricane storm surges, says a new study published in this week's "Nature: Climate Change."
Losing natural buffers could double the number of people exposed to hurricanes by Evan Lehmann
ClimateWire, July 15th, 2013
by Evan Lehmann
If the United States lost its shield of natural coastal defenses, about twice as many Americans would be exposed to dangerous storm surges and other hurricane threats, according to new research. Protective buffers like mangroves, wetlands and oyster beds currently buffer about 67 percent of the nation's seashores from ocean forces like wind and waves. If they disappear, more than a million additional people and billions of dollars in property value will be vulnerable to damage, says a paper published yesterday in the journal Nature Climate Change.
New Study: Coastal Nature Reduces Risk from Storm Impacts for 1.3 Million U.S. Residents by Evan Lehmann
TNC Cool Green Science, July 15th, 2013
by Evan Lehmann
Katrina, Sandy, Andrew: iconic names….and indelible examples of how nature can kill and destroy. But could nature actually help reduce our risk from…nature? Specifically: could sand dunes, oyster and coral reefs, sea grasses and other coastal natural habitats blunt the effects of coastal storms — like surges and flooding? Could they even reduce the risk of fatalities and property loss from such storms? They already are — for at least 1.3 million people and billions in property value along the U.S. coastline, according to a new study just published in the journal Nature Climate Change. Neglecting those habitats, the study adds, could double the number of U.S. residents at "high hazard risk" from storms — including hundreds of thousands of poor and elderly.
Reefs and Dunes Play Critical Roles in safeguarding Lives in US Coastal Regions by Bruce Totolos
French Tribune, July 15th, 2013
by Bruce Totolos
When rising sea levels and excessive weather conditions have already put 16% of U. S. coastlines at "high-hazard" risk; in a recent study carried out by researchers of Stanford University it has been found that if natural habitats like sand dunes, sea grasses, coral reefs, and mangroves aren't protected, it would threatened twice the number of residents here.
The Best Defense Against Catastrophic Storms: Mother Nature by Elizabeth Rauer
Stanford News, July 15th, 2013
by Elizabeth Rauer
Natural habitats such as dunes and reefs are critical to protecting millions of U.S. residents and billions of dollars in property from coastal storms, according to a new study by scientists with the Natural Capital Project at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, offers the first comprehensive map of the entire U.S. coastline that shows where and how much protection communities get from natural habitats such as sand dunes, coral reefs, sea grasses and mangroves.
Diverse Introspectives: A Conversation with Peter Kareiva by Hillary Burgess
BioDiverse Perspectives, May 14th, 2013
by Hillary Burgess
On May 7th, fellow UW grad student Halley Froelich and I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Peter Kareiva, chief scientist and director of science for The Nature Conservancy for our inaugural installment of Diverse Introspectives: Interviews from Visiting Scholars and Seminar Speakers. Dr. Kareiva joined The Nature Conservancy in 2002, where his projects focus on the interplay of human land-use and biodiversity, resilience in the face of global change, and marine conservation. His academic achievements include over 100 publications spanning a broad range of topics and membership to The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is known for a willingness to challenge paradigms and encourages members of our field to think critically about the purpose of our science and how to communicate it to the public. These themes ran through our conversation as we discussed the pitfalls of a single-minded focus on biodiversity, his hopes for the future of our field, strategies for advocacy, and the promise of citizen science.
Resource Strain Pushes Coca-Cola, Dow to Put Price Tags on Nature by Avery Fellow
Bloomberg News, May 9, 2013
by Avery Fellow
Twenty-four companies agreed at the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012 to develop a methodology for natural capital accounting.To determine the value of natural resources, partnerships like the Natural Capital Project have developed accounting methods, said Mary Ruckelshaus, the project's managing director. Dow, Coca-Cola, and other companies use these methods to make decisions about natural capital.
Tapped Out: How Will Cities Secure Their Water Future? by Brian Richter
National Geographic, May 8, 2013
by Brian Richter
Today, global demands for food, energy, and shelter are putting unprecedented pressure on the resources of the planet. Water is at the heart of this crisis. In fact, more than half of the world's cities are already experiencing water shortages on a recurring basis – based on findings from a study that I published, along with 13 of my colleagues, this week in the Water Policy journal. These water-stressed cities are finding it extremely difficult and expensive to secure the additional water supplies needed to support their growth.
Why and How Conservation Needs to Tackle Human Well-Being: A Q&A with Heather Tallis by Bob Lalasz
Science Chronicles | Conservation Gateway, May 2013
by Bob Lalasz
Can conservation make a decisive and systematic contribution to solving social problems and improving the lives of people — especially the world's poor? Finding out is Heather Tallis's job: As a new lead scientist at The Nature Conservancy in charge of the Conservancy's new Human Dimensions Program, it's her task to bring "people metrics" to assess the impact of the Conservancy's work on the ground on people. She's also charged with integrating innovative economics and social science into the organization's field work in a way that builds conservation methods and tools that can benefit everyone.
True Natural Capital by Nick Conger
On Balance | WWF Blog, April 30th, 2013
by Nick Conger
Scanning the busy agenda for this week's Fortune Brainstorm Green, I'm struck by the opening and closing sessions of the first day. Focusing these highly visible sessions on the economics of conservation is telling. Indeed, how businesses, financial institutions and governments account for nature as a material asset has become the hottest sustainability topic of 2013.
Wild Pollinators Are Critical to Keeping Our Picnic Baskets Full by Christina Kennedy, Senior Scientist of The Nature Conservancy's Development by Design program
Huffington Post Green Blog, April 18th, 2013
by Christina Kennedy, Senior Scientist of The Nature Conservancy's Development by Design program
Bees may seem like uninvited guests at your picnic -- but before you shoo them away from the fruit salad, think twice, as they play a critical role in making your picnic possible.
Dialogues on the Environment: Q&A With Gretchen Daily by Mark Tercek, President & CEO of The Nature Conservancy
Huffington Post Green Blog, April 17, 2013
by Mark Tercek, President & CEO of The Nature Conservancy
Since joining The Nature Conservancy, and over the course of writing Nature's Fortune: How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature, I've been fortunate to benefit from the perspectives and advice of many leaders of the environmental community. To continue the conversation on the ideas in Nature's Fortune, I recently spoke with leading conservationists, CEOs, scientists, academics and activists about the environmental movement -- what's working well, what we could do better and what they see as the biggest challenges and opportunities ahead.
Q&A: Gretchen Daily, ecologist, on quantifying nature's value by Laura Shin
SmartPlanet, April 1st, 2013
by Laura Shin
Most of us think of nature as being free, or priceless. Yet, recent disasters like Superstorm Sandy show just how valuable nature is, such as for protecting coastal communities from inundation. Can we quantify nature's value in ways that help us make important decisions?
If Money Talks, Maybe It's Time to Give Ecosystems a Voice by Alex Johnson
Earth Island Journal, March 28, 2013
by Alex Johnson
As traditional conservation methods fail to staunch biodiversity loss, some conservationists are embracing the idea of "ecosystems services"
Conservation in the Anthropocene - Beyond Solitude and Fragility by Peter Kareiva, Michelle Marvier, and Robert Lalasz
Breakthrough.org Winter 2012
by Peter Kareiva, Michelle Marvier, and Robert Lalasz
y its own measures, conservation is failing. Biodiversity on Earth continues its rapid decline.1 We continue to lose forests in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.2 There are so few wild tigers and apes that they will be lost forever if current trends continue.3 Simply put, we are losing many more special places and species than we're saving.
Scientists See Big Impacts on U.S. Ecosystems from Global Warming by ANDREW C. REVKIN
Dot Earth - New York Times December 19, 2012
by ANDREW C. REVKIN
A new analysis by dozens of scientists provides a useful update on measured and anticipated impacts of human-driven climate change on ecosystems from western forests to coastal waters. The report, "Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity, Ecosystems, and Ecosystem Services," is one of a suite of studies feeding into what will be the third National Climate Assessment, an overarching analysis of impacts on everything from transportation systems to public health.
Global warming likely to result in net loss of biodiversity by Bob Berwyn
Summit Voice December 19, 2012
by Bob Berwyn
A major new report suggests that climate change will probably result in a net loss in global biodiversity, as plants and animal species shift their geographic ranges and the timing of their life events — such as flowering, laying eggs or migrating — at faster rates than researchers documented just a few years ago.
Gretchen Daily: What Is Nature Worth? by Mary Hoff
Ensia December 3rd, 2012
by Mary Hoff
What is nature worth? From one perspective, it's priceless. From another, it's not only valuable, but value-able as well. Stanford University conservation biologist Gretchen Daily, who gave wings to the concept of ecosystem services in the 1990s, is working around the world to help policymakers recognize the economic worth of the benefits nature provides.
Standardized Science for Secure Water by Heather Tallis and Adrian Vogl
Science Chronicles August 6th, 2012
by Heather Tallis and Adrian Vogl
Water funds are taking off like a wildfire in Latin America. But like a wildfire, they run the risk of burning too hot and too fast to help the ecology (and the people) in the system. The rapid expansion of water funds in latitudes south has presented some challenges for The Nature Conservancy and its partners, which are trying to make the most of a potentially great tool for bringing nature's value into the real economy.
Are There Too Many People on the Planet? by Peter Kareiva
Science Chronicles August 6th, 2012
by Peter Kareiva
Before you read any further, please answer the question in the headline. Even better, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org giving me your answer and why you answered the question, however you did. Finished? Now read on. I am guessing that a lot of you answered yes. Now let's think this through:
Wonders of a Hopeful World - #7 Water Funds in Latin America Featuring Heather Tallis and Jon Foley
Momentum Fall, 2012
Featuring Heather Tallis and Jon Foley
Global survey reveals routes to boosting crop yields Featuring Nathaniel Mueller and Jon Foley
Nature NewsAugust 29th, 2012
Featuring Nathaniel Mueller and Jon Foley
With 9 billion people expected to be alive in 2050, researchers are running out of time to develop new ways to feed them sustainably. But an analysis published today in Nature suggests that strategies already exist that could shrink the 'yield gap' — which they define as the difference between attainable and actual yields of food crops. Assembling the most comprehensive global data set of crop yields and fertilizer use yet produced, the study authors show that yield increases of 45–70% are possible for most crops through improved nutrient management and increased use of irrigation.
Valuation of natural capital awarded 2012 Volvo Environment Prize Featuring Gretchen Daily
Press release - AB Volvo - September 9th, 2012
Featuring Gretchen Daily
Gretchen Daily, professor at Stanford University in California and one of the world's foremost experts on the valuation of natural capital is awarded the 2012 Volvo Environment Prize. She is convinced that the only way to create long-term welfare is to quantify the value of ecosystems.
China Leads March for Green Economy Featuring Gretchen Daily and Peter Kareiva
New Scientist - by Sara Reardon - June 16, 2012
Featuring Gretchen Daily and Peter Kareiva
When appeals to an environmental conscience cannot motivate governments to conserve their natural resources, a swift kick in the wallet may. That's the idea behind a strategy expected to be discussed at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development next week. Gaining traction are projects to quantify the value of "services" provided to us by oceans, forests and other ecosystems, determine the economic hit to a nation once they run out, and then paying would-be consumers to conserve those assets. And, with characteristic pragmatism, China is leading the experiment.
Acounting for Nature's Benefits: The Dollar Value of Ecosystem Services
Environmental Health Perspectives - by David C. Holtzman - April, 2012. Featuring NatCap, InVEST, as well as Gretchen Daily, Peter Kareiva, Taylor Ricketts, and Emily McKenzie of the Natural Capital Project.
Healthy ecosystems provide us with fertile soil, clean water, timber, and food. They reduce the spread of diseases. The protect against flooding. World-wide, they regulate atmospheric concentrations of oxygen and carbon dioxide. They moderate climate. Without these and other "ecosystem services" we'd all perish.
Myth-busting scientist pushes greens past reliance on 'horror stories'
Greenwire - by Paul Voosen - April 3, 2012
Featuring Peter Kareiva, one of the founders and Directors of the Natural Capital Project
Peter Kareiva had come to answer for his truths.
Settling at the head of a long table ringed by young researchers new to the policy world, Kareiva, chief scientist of the Nature Conservancy, the world's largest environmental organization, cracked open a beer. After a long day mentoring at the group's headquarters, an eight-story box nestled in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, he was ready for some sparring.
The scientists had read Kareiva's recent essay, which takes environmentalists to task. The data couldn't bear out their piety, he wrote. Nature is often resilient, not fragile. There is no wilderness unspoiled by man. Thoreau was a townie. Conservation, by many measures, is failing. If it is to survive, it has to change.
OnEarth - by Bruce Barcott - March 21, 2012
Featuring Mary Ruckelshaus, Managing Director of the Natural Capital Project
Environmental policy is something of a family business for Mary Ruckelshaus. Her father, the attorney William Ruckelshaus, became the first administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, when she was in fourth grade, and returned for a second term in the mid-1980s. "We had a lot of great dinner table discussions," she recalls, but her own interest was in science more than legal policy. A Ph.D. in biology led her to Seattle, where she worked on salmon and orca recovery for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In 2010 she became managing director of the Natural Capital Project, an environmental think tank based at Stanford University. Advancing ideas developed by co-founder Gretchen Daily in her groundbreaking books Nature's Services and The New Economy of Nature, the project's team of biologists, economists, data analysts, and legal scholars collaborates with governments and NGOs to fairly value ecosystem services
Belize move to finalize integrated coastal zone management plan
Amandala - by Adele Trapp - January 20th, 2012
Featuring NatCap's Marine InVEST software
The Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI) is working on an Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan for Belize, which spans 9 zones, and it hopes to complete the plan by March 2012. It wants the public to be involved in another wave of consultations and is extending an invitation for the public to attend a series of community meetings before the plan is finally taken to Government for final vetting.
Using Science to Open Way to "Blue Economy"
STANFORD, CA - Today, scientists at the Natural Capital Project share new science and open source software that can calculate risk to coastal and marine ecosystems. These novel tools, described in the journal Environmental Research Letters, were used to design the first integrated coastal zone management plan for the Caribbean country of Belize.
Could More Diversity Break Conservation's Polarizing Debate?
STANFORD, CA - A new letter published in the journal Nature today from 240 leading conservationists argues that conservation's impact on the world is being hindered by the field's lack of inclusiveness - particularly of the many different values people hold for nature, and of the viewpoints of women and diverse ethnicities and cultures.
UN recognition for disaster resilience apps
NEW YORK, 23 September 2014 – Software developers from around the world were recognized today at the UN Climate Summit for their ingenuity in devising life-saving apps for use in reducing the impact of extreme weather events on cities and coastal communities.
WLE Innovation Fund Awardees Announced
WLE introduced the Innovation Fund in 2014 to support impact-driven research that features its ecosystems-based approach. The Fund, which was implemented through an open and competitive call, encourages integrated, innovative research, cross-regional and global development and use of tools, methods and analysis that support equitable ecosystems-based development and investments.
New study shows conversion of grasslands to agriculture in Southeastern Minnesota contributes to groundwater nitrate contamination
Research from the University of Minnesota and the Natural Capital Project predicts contaminated wells likely to increase by 45 percent in the near future
World's leading experts to work together to establish a harmonised way to measure and value nature in business
London, 8 July 2014 – The Natural Capital Coalition (NCC) is pleased to announce its selection of two consortia to develop what will be known as the Natural Capital Protocol. The Protocol will provide a methodology for businesses across the world to understand the impacts that they have and the extent to which they are dependent on the natural environment, its finite natural resources and functioning ecosystems. It will provide previously invisible, yet crucial, information for business decision-making and risk-management. Proponents of the Natural Capital Protocol see it as a major game-changer in building the business case for sustainability.
New Study: How Nature Defends US Coastlines Against Storm Catastrophes
Extreme weather, sea-level rise and degraded coastal ecosystems are placing people and property at greater risk of damage from coastal storms. The likelihood and magnitude of losses may be reduced by intact coastal ecosystems near vulnerable coastal communities.
A new study published in Nature Climate Change by the Natural Capital Project and The Nature Conservancy says that natural habitats are critical to protecting millions of U.S. residents and their property from devastation by coastal storms.
New Software Promotes Nature's Delivery of Clean WaterStanford News Service - June 14th, 2013
Freshwater is one of the planet's most scarce resources. Demand for it is growing, and climate change threatens its supply. A new, free software tool, the Resource Investment Optimization System (RIOS), could be part of the solution. Using the RIOS approach in Colombia, for example, has improved the return on investment by up to 600 percent over previous approaches to watershed investment.
Redeeming Sins of Omission: Accounting for People in MitigationPress Release - February 16th, 2013
Billions of dollars are spent every year on development projects such as mines, energy plants and transportation systems. While most countries require mitigation to offset environmental degradation that results, none requires an explicit accounting of people in these efforts. Scientists at the Natural Capital Project (NatCap), led by Lead Scientist Heather Tallis, have developed a new approach to mitigation and habitat restoration that identifies winners and losers – people who would lose ecosystem services and those who would gain them in these circumstances.
Ecosystem Services in Action: Lessons learned from 20+ engagements around the worldPress Release - February 16th, 2013
Ecosystem services, the benefits people get from nature, sustain and fulfill human life. Many have suggested that an explicit focus on ecosystem services can lead to management choices with better outcomes for people and the ecosystems on which they depend. But compelling evidence of the science of modeling, mapping, and valuing ecosystem services informing real decisions has, to date, been scarce. Dr. Guerry presented that evidence today, in a symposium session at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), by showcasing how the Natural Capital Project's use of ecosystem service approaches and tools have been used to inform decisions in diverse contexts worldwide. These contexts include spatial planning, payment for ecosystem services, climate adaptation planning, permitting and mitigation, restoration planning, and corporate risk management.
Open-source software can help find the right space for offshore wind turbinesPress Release - February 15th, 2013
A Stanford economist pitches open-source software for evaluating potential offshore wind turbine sites for optimal energy production and minimal disruption of other marine industry.
Stanford ecologist uses social media data to gauge recreational value of coastal areasPress Release - February 15th, 2013
A Stanford ecologist advocates using social media data to determine the recreational value of coastal ecosystems in order to better direct conservation efforts and funds.
Emerging Consensus Shows Climate Change Already Having Major Effects on Ecosystems and SpeciesPress Release - December 18th, 2012
1 Plant and animal species are shifting their geographic ranges and the timing of their life events – such as flowering, laying eggs or migrating – at faster rates than researchers documented just a few years ago, according to a technical report on biodiversity and ecosystems used as scientific input for the 2013 Third National Climate Assessment. The report, Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity, Ecosystems, and Ecosystem Services, synthesizes the scientific understanding of the way climate change is affecting ecosystems, ecosystem services and the diversity of species, as well as what strategies might be used by natural resource practitioners to decrease current and future risks. More than 60 federal, academic and other scientists, including the lead authors from the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Wildlife Federation and Arizona State University in Tempe, authored the assessment.
A Global System to Monitor Nature's Benefits to SocietyPress Release - November 16th, 2012
A new paper appearing in the November issue of Bioscience presents a way to monitor ecosystem services on a global scale. The conceptual framework they suggest to do this was envisioned by the GEO BON Ecosystem Services Working Group and designed to integrate national statistics, numerical models, remote sensing, and in situ measurements to regularly track changes in ecosystem services across the globe. Although this may sound overly ambitious, the paper outlines an achievable approach that would fill the pulse-taking role well. Entitled "A Global System for Monitoring Ecosystem Change," the paper was led by Heather Tallis, Lead Scientist at the Natural Capital Project. Its authors present a tangible plan to coordinate, standardize, and broaden access to existing databases that track and monitor the delivery of ecosystem services. Their work contributes to the worldwide effort of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), to improve the availability of information on the global environment.
Green economy approach shows hope for Borneo amidst floundering Rio+20 talksPress Release - June 21, 2012
The Heart of Borneo (HoB): Investing in Nature for a Green Economy Report is a practical regional guide on how future economic growth can be achieved while protecting the values of ecosystems and biodiversity of the Heart of Borneo - a 220,000km2 treasure trove of unique and often endangered animal and plants species, on the world's third biggest island.
Countries should implement inclusive wealth accountingPress Release - June 17, 2012
A report released today provides a path forward on how countries can implement inclusive wealth accounting, and illustrates how it could be a better and more comprehensive indicator than GDP to assess the wealth of a country.
35 finance CEOs announce commitment on natural capital at Rio+20Press Release - June 15, 2012
Financial institutions have for the first time ever committed to integrating natural capital into their business decisions with the unveiling of the 'Natural Capital Declaration' (NCD) at the Rio+20 Summit, a move strongly supported by NatCap and our partner, WWF.
Audio & Video
Made in Minnesota: Big Solutions to Big Environmental Challenges
Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment envisions a future in which sustainable agriculture feeds the world; renewable energy powers the planet; every person has access to food, clean water and shelter; oceans, lakes and rivers are unimpaired; cities have vibrant economies, neighborhoods and cultures; and thriving ecosystems support thriving economies and societies.
Jonathan Foley's Chautauqua Lecture on agriculture's role in climate change
MPR News, September 29, 2014
Jonathan Foley gives a 2014 Chautauqua Lecture about the challenges of feeding the world's people without destroying the planet.
Good Morning Scotland
Interview with Guy Ziv on new study on links between pollination and malnutrition
Good Morning Scotland, September 17, 2014
Interview starts at 1:56
Expanding agriculture more selectively could produce more food, save more carbon--study from U of MN Institute on the Environment
WTIP NorthShore Community Radio - The Roadhouse, August 25, 2014
Dr. Justin Andrew Johnson, an economist with the Natural Capital Project at the Institute on the Environment, spoke with Dick Aug. 22. His latest study shows that by limiting agricultural expansion to certain key global regions, the growing need for food can be met, and more carbon can be preserved that with unguided expansion. Dr. Johnson explained the study and its findings and implications for agriculture and climate change.
How Technology is Transforming Conservation Efforts Worldwide
The Diane Rehm Show, August 21, 2014
Featuring NatCap Director Jon Hoekstra
New technologies are now giving conservationists abilities that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. Using remote sensors, satellite mapping and drones, scientists and activists can now monitor deforestation and endangered wildlife in real time. And a new Wiki-leaks-style website is being used to target the kingpins of wildlife smuggling. But like many technologies, these new tools have risks. Tracking devices in the hand of poachers, for example, could prove devastating to endangered elephants.
Balancing Costa Rica's Farming With Preservation with Nature
PBS NewsHour, June 10, 2013
As part of the NewsHour's series, "Food for 9 Billion," special correspondent Sam Eaton reports on a push in Costa Rica to embrace forest preservation and biodiversity while keeping up with the demand for farming. Researchers are measuring the helpful roles of small animals like bats, birds and bees.
What is Nature Worth?
The Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota
Marine Planning on the West Coast of Vancouver Island
West Coast Assessment - Introduction
Science and Ecosystem Services in Decision-Making
The Moore Foundation
Rich countries must reduce consumption and the world must limit population to avoid catastrophe. That's the message of Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich. He tells host Steve Curwood that does not mean misery but more time for people and pleasure. (6:10)
Peter Kareiva, an Inconvenient Environmentalist
The New York Times - DotEarth, by Andrew Revkin, April 3, 2012
Featuring Peter Kareiva, one of the founders and Directors of the Natural Capital Project
I encourage you to watch the provocative and important lecture above by Peter Kareiva, the much-lauded chief scientist of the world's biggest environmental group, the Nature Conservancy. The title is "Failed Metaphors and A New Environmentalism for the 21st Century." It's a refreshing call for new approaches from a community stuck on what I've called a "woe is me, shame on you" tune for far too long.
If you are a journalist looking for more information on the Natural Capital Project and our work, please contact Stacey Solie at (206) 501-8598.