The Ecothresholds Project

Understanding thresholds in global change and their implications for decisionmaking

The Ecothresholds Project

Understanding thresholds in global change and their implications for decisionmaking

The Ecothresholds Project

Understanding thresholds in global change and their implications for decisionmaking

Fall 2017 Meeting

Biographies of Participants

Biographies of Participants

Brandon Bestelmeyer

A Research Ecologist with USDA-ARS Jornada Experimental Range and Co-PI of the Jornada Basin Long-Term Ecological Research site. Brandon’s focus includes coupled vegetation and soil dynamics in arid systems, biodiversity responses to ecosystem change, and applications of landscape ecology principles to rangeland management.  He is currently working on numerous projects ranging from a region-scale study of variation in desertification rates in the Chihuahuan Desert (considering both biophysical and socio-economic factors) to a study examining the sequence and scales of pattern-process interactions underlying thresholds in desertification.  These projects involve collaborations in Argentina, Mexico, and Hungary as well as with other Jornada colleagues. Brandon also spends a large amount of time working with federal agencies at local to national levels to apply ecological principles to rangeland policy and management.

Mike Bradley

Has an eighteen-year tenure with the Pulp and Paper group at Canfor.  He recently transferred to the Pulp Limited Partnership, based in Vancouver.  Canfor, located mainly in Western Canada, is an integrated producer of forest products selling to markets worldwide.  In recent years, Mike has participated in a two continent, three-country Life Cycle Assessment of paper products, and has recently added to this body of work a report on the carbon fluxes and flows across the forest products chain.  Since 2000 he has been a participant in the Joint Solutions Project, an innovative solutions-oriented multi-stakeholder process striving for sustainable land use plans for the coastal forest regions of BC. He is a member of FPAC (Forest Products Association of Canada) where he chairs the Climate Change Committee, TAPPI (Technical Association of Pulp and Paper Industry), ASQC (American Society of Quality Control), IASPM (International Association of Scientific Papermakers) and SETAC (Society of Environmental Toxicologists and Chemists).

David Breshears

A Professor in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Arizona.  His research focuses on ecosystems that span from grassland to forest and in the developing area of eco-hydrology.  Dr. Breshears’ findings have been applied to issues of land management, pollution, and global change.  His research on drought and tree die-off, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has been featured in over six major publications including, USA Today and the New York Times.  He received the Wiley Prize for best paper of 2003 in Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. Dr. Breshears also helped to pioneer a new method for measuring soil carbon based on laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS).  He received his Ph.D. in Radioecology.  Dr. Breshears serves within the Ecological Society of America on the Board of Professional Certification and on the Board of Editors for Ecological Applications and previously served as Chair of the Rangeland Ecology Section.

Catherine Broad

An Architect and Environmental Scientist, managing policy compliance and sustainable construction practices with the Pentagon Renovation and Construction Program Office (PENREN).  She evaluates influences of land development upon the environment and upon nature and human society.  As an Environmental Specialist at PENREN, she guides government sustainable building practices, green construction and policy response actions.  She also works with interagency environmental committees to expand sustainable practices, and to draft and implement policy.  Prior to working at PENREN, Cathy Broad was the Green Building Representative at the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive.  She implemented requirements of Executive Branch policy such as The Greening the Government Executive Orders, wrote mission statements and drafted policy for the Federal Green Building Council.  Ms. Broad earned an MS in Environmental Science & Policy at Johns Hopkins University and a B.S. in Architecture at Catholic University.

Kenny Broad

Received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University in 1999 and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Division of Marine Affairs and Policy and the Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy at the University of Miami. He holds a joint appointment at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and is on the Executive Committee of the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions based at Columbia University. Broad studies climate impacts and human perception, the use and misuse of scientific information, decision making under uncertainty, marine protected areas and issues of societal equity. Broad has taken part in, and led scientific and film expeditions around the globe, including the exploration of one of the world’s deepest caves in Mexico’s Huautla Plateau.  Broad was selected for the 2006 National Geographic Society Emerging Explorer award.

Virginia Burkett

Is the Coordinator of Global Change Science at the U.S. Geological Survey. She formerly served as Chief of the Forest Ecology Branch at the National Wetlands Research Center and subsequently as an Associate Regional Chief Biologist for USGS.  Prior to USGS, Dr. Burkett has served as Director of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Louisiana Coastal Zone Management Program.  She has published extensively on the topics of global change and low-lying coastal zones.  She was a Lead Author on the United Nation’s IPCC Third Assessment Report (‘01) on the effects of global climate change and is currently Lead Author of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (‘07).  Virginia has been a member of several expert panels, most recently being a panel on climate change impacts commissioned by the UN Framework Convention on Biological Diversity.  Her Ph.D. in Forestry was completed at Stephen F. Austin State University of Texas in 1996.  

Hannah Campbell

Is Regional Program Manager at the NOAA Office of Global Programs. Her main interests include translating science for policy and decision makers, and equitable access and use of climate information. She received her Master’s in environmental science and policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and the Earth Institute. She has worked with NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and the New York Department of Environmental Protection’s Climate Change Task Force in Manhattan. Further climate experience includes work for Rice University assisting in paleo-climate research in Antarctica on marine sediments. She also worked in international environmental and sustainable development education with the School for Field Studies and the School for International Training in Africa and the Caribbean. Hannah received her BA in Geology and French Studies from Rice University.

Jeff DeBlieu

Directs The Nature Conservancy’s Albemarle Climate Change Project in northeastern North Carolina.  He has also directed TNC’s Pamlico Sound oyster reef restoration project.  Jeff has helped lead several eco-regional and landscape conservation planning projects in the Southeast.  He has worked in community-based conservation for nearly 20 years.

Ariane de Bremond

Is a Research Associate joining the Heinz Center through a Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation Environmental Leadership Fellowship in the Global Change Program where she is conducting research and helping to design a series of meetings and activities on thresholds in global change. She completed her Ph.D. in Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) in June 2006 where her research focused on agrarian reform, land-use, and environmental governance in post-conflict El Salvador. Ariane worked in Central America throughout the 1990’s with the UN Program for Displaced, Repatriated and Refugees (PRODERE) in land-use planning and environmental conservation in El Salvador’s ex-conflictive zones and later in northeastern Guatemala with United Nations Human Rights Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA). She received her B.A. degrees (cum laude) from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Lisa Dilling

Is a Visiting Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado.  She holds a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of California.  Her career has spanned both research and practice arenas of the science-policy interface, including six years managing research in the U.S. Global Change Research Program for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and four years researching issues such as, the connection of carbon cycle science to policy, communication for climate change, and scales of decision making.  Dr. Dilling previously co-chaired an interagency group of six Federal agencies working to better integrate carbon cycle science.  She is a co-author of the edited volume “Creating a Climate for Change: Communicating climate change and facilitating social change” forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.

Richard A. Feely

Is a Supervisory Oceanographer at the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle. He also holds an affiliate professor faculty position at the University of Washington School of Oceanography. His major research areas are carbon cycling in the oceans and ocean acidification processes. He received a B.A. in Chemistry from the University of St. Thomas, in St Paul, Minnesota in 1969. He then went onto Texas A&M University where he received both an M.S degree in 1971 and a Ph.D. degree in 1974 in Chemical Oceanography.  He is the co-chair of the U.S. CLIVAR/CO2 Repeat Hydrography Program.  Dr. Feely is a member of the U.S. Science Steering Committees for the U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Program, the U.S. Ocean Carbon and Climate Change Program, and the U.S. Carbon and Biochemistry Program.  He is also a member of the American Geophysical Union, The American Association for the Advancement of Science and The Oceanography Society.  Dr. Feely has authored more than 150 refereed research publications.

Peter Frumhoff

Is Director of Science and Policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), and Chief Scientist of the UCS Climate Campaign.  He is a lead author of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and was previously a lead author of the IPCC Special Report on Land Use, Land-use Change and Forestry. He is the Chair of the Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment (NECIA). Major UCS reports developed under his guidance include Climate Change in California: Choosing Our Future (2004), and Confronting Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region (2003).  Dr. Frumhoff has taught at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Harvard University, and the University of Maryland. He also served as an AAAS Science and Diplomacy Fellow at the U.S. Agency for International Development, where he designed and led conservation and rural development programs in Latin America and East Africa. He holds a Ph.D. in Ecology and an M.A. in Zoology from the University of California, Davis and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego.

Patrick Gonzalez

Is a Scientist for The Nature Conservancy’s Global Climate Change Initiative.  He is a Forest Ecologist with 18 years of climate research and natural resource management experience in Africa and North and South America. Patrick conducts research on the ecosystem impacts of climate change and on forest carbon.  He currently works in the field with partners in Brazil, California, Chile, Peru, and Senegal. Patrick earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley and currently and serves on the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change

Peter M. Groffman

Is currently a Senior Scientist at the Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY with research interests in ecosystem, landscape and microbial ecology, and a focus on carbon and nitrogen dynamics.  In 1984 he received his Ph.D in Ecology from the University of Georgia.  Specific recent research efforts include investigation of; carbon and nitrogen cycling in urban watersheds and ecosystems, snow depth as a regulator of soil freezing and nitrogen dynamics, effects of a whole watershed calcium addition on soil nitrogen and carbon cycling, and the effects of exotic earthworm invasion on soil nitrogen and carbon cycling.  Groffman was/is a member of various groups including, but not limited to, the National Science Foundation Long Term Ecological Research Network Executive Board and the NOAA Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Nutrient Reduction Workgroup.  He was a lead author for the Second (Wetlands) and Third (North America) Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Program on Climate Change (IPCC).  He currently serves on the editorial boards of Ecology and Ecosystems, and was chair the Wetland Soils Section of the Soil Science Society of America from 2002 – 2003.

Lara Hansen

Is the Chief Climate Change Scientist for World Wildlife Fund.  Her primary focus is the redesign of conservation strategies to incorporate responses to climate change. She received her Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of California, Davis for her dissertation on the impact of enhanced ultraviolet radiation on the development of native amphibians. She is the principal investigator on a number of studies designed to assess the effects of climate change on local coral reefs and evaluate possible adaptation strategies for responding to these effects. She also advises on other coral reef monitoring and adaptation projects in the U.S., Indonesia, Fiji, the Philippines and Belize. With WWF colleagues she has developed a three country (Tanzania, Cameroon and Fiji) GEF/UNEP funded project on mangrove restoration and protection in response to climate change. In addition to her work tropical marine systems she works with WWF field programs in the Himalayas, Andes, Arctic, Southeastern U.S. and Antarctic. She was the lead author/editor of a key text on the issue of natural system adaptation to climate change, Buying Time: A User’s Manual for Building Resistance and Resilience to Climate Change in Natural Systems

Kathy Jacobs

Is the Executive Director of the Arizona Water Institute, a consortium of the three Arizona universities focused on water-related research, education, and technology transfer focused on water supply sustainability.  She is also the Deputy Director of a NSF Center for Sustainability of Arid Region Hydrology and Riparian Areas (SAHRA), and a professor in the UA Soil, Water and Environmental Science Department.  She has more than twenty years of experience as a Water Manager for the state of Arizona.  Her research interests include water policy, connecting science and decision-making, stakeholder engagement, use of climate information for water management applications, design of conservation programs and drought planning.

Anthony C. Janetos

Is Director of the Joint Global Change Research Institute as of October, 2006. Dr. Janetos previously served as vice president of the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment, where he directed the center’s Global Change Program. He has written and spoken widely to policy, business, and scientific audiences on the need for scientific input and scientific assessment in the policymaking process and about the need to understand the scientific, environmental, economic, and policy linkages among the major global environmental issues. Dr. Janetos has served on several national and international study teams, including working as a co-chair of the U.S. National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change. He also was an author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on Land-Use Change and Forestry, the Global Biodiversity Assessment, and a coordinating lead author in the recently published Millennium Ecosystem Assessment . He currently serves as a member of the National Research Council’s Committee on Earth Science and Applications from Space. Dr. Janetos graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College with a bachelor’s degree in biology and earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in biology from Princeton University.

Peter Kareiva

He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1981. After a 20-year academic career in ecology and mathematical biology, he became the Director of the Division of Conservation Biology for the Northwest Science Lab of  NOAA Fisheries. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, and served on the editorial boards of a dozen different journals.  In 2002, Dr. Kareiva left NOAA and became Lead Scientist for The Nature Conservancy.  He is now focusing on the conservation of ecosystem services, and strategies for adapting to global climate disruption.  Dr. Kareiva has been interested in climate change science ever since 1992, when he hosted an NSF workshop on “Biotic interactions and global change”, which turned into an edited volume by the same title published in 1993.   Dr. Kareiva has mentored twenty-five postdocs and a dozen graduate students over the years, in fields ranging from applied math to conservation, to ecology. 

Phil Kramer

Is Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Caribbean Marine Program. His current research focuses on aspects of understanding how to quantify coral reef health and examining multi-scale patterns in reef ecology. He is involved with the Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment Program and maintains involvement in projects focusing on the Remote Sensing of Tropical Coral Reef environments, and design of Marine Protected Areas in tropical environments including the Bahamas Biocomplexity Project. He received his Ph.D. in Marine Geology from the University of Miami in 1996.

Jane Leggett

Is a Specialist on Energy and Environment in the Congressional Research Service (CRS), a non-partisan analytical arm of the U.S. Congress.  She covers climate change, as well as broader legislative issues. Prior to CRS, Jane Leggett was a Senior Advisor in EPA’s Climate Change Division, where she handled cross-cutting issues, such as risk assessment and management, represented the U.S. on climate change matters at the OECD and with Mexico, and developed indicators of climate change, among other responsibilities.  From 1984 to 1991, Leggett was an Administrator at the OECD in Paris, addressing the nexus between energy and environment, particularly transboundary air pollution. She has a Masters degree in City and Regional Planning from Harvard University and a B.A. from Middlebury College.

Thomas E. Lovejoy

He has been President of The Heinz Center since May 2002. Before coming to The Heinz Center, he was the World Bank’s Chief Biodiversity Advisor and Lead Specialist for Environment for Latin America and the Caribbean and Senior Advisor to the President of the United Nations Foundation. Dr. Lovejoy has been Assistant Secretary and Counselor to the Secretary at the Smithsonian Institution, Science Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior, and Executive Vice President of the World Wildlife Fund–U.S. He conceived the idea for the Minimum Critical Size of Ecosystems project (a joint project between the Smithsonian and Brazil’s INPA), originated the concept of debt-for-nature swaps, and is the founder of the public television series Nature. In 2001 he was awarded the prestigious Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. Dr. Lovejoy served on science and environmental councils or committees under the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. (biology) degrees from Yale University.

Amy Lynd Luers

Is an Environmental Scientist in the Global Environmental Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). She leads UCS’s California climate change impacts work aimed at strengthening support for strong state and regional climate policies.  She was a member of the Scientific Steering for California’s state Climate Action Team’s process (2006).  Her research and publications have focused on assessing the vulnerability of linked human-environmental systems to global environmental changes. She holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and a M.A. in International Policy Studies from Stanford University, and a B.S. in Environmental Resources Engineering from Humboldt State University.

Jerry Melillo

Is the Co-Director of The Ecosystems Center at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts and a Professor of Biology at Brown University.  Dr. Melillo specializes in understanding the impacts of human activities on the biogeochemistry of ecological systems, using a combination of field studies and simulation modeling.  In 1996 and 1997, he served as the Associate Director for Environment in the US President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Melillo just completed terms as the President of the Ecological Society of America and of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), the environmental assessment body of the International Council for Science. In 2000, he was named an honorary Professor in the Institute of Geophysical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences and was recently elected to membership in the American Philosophical Society.  His publication record includes more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, two ecology textbooks, and three edited volumes on biogeochemistry.

Matthew Menne

Is a Physical Scientist at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina.  His major research activities are focused on the development of baseline in situ datasets suitable for climate change analysis and monitoring.  Before joining NOAA, he served as the Acting State Climatologist for Wisconsin.  He received his B.S. in Meteorology and French from the University of Wisconsin in 1988 and a M.S in 1991 from the University of Minnesota (Department of Soil, Climate and Water).  He earned a Ph.D. in 2005 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Physical Geography/Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences).  He is a member of the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society and serves as Rapporteur on matters concerning the Global Climate Observing System to the Implementation and Coordination Team of the World Meteorological Organization’s Commission for Basic Systems.

Edward L. Miles

Is Virginia and Prentice Bloedel Professor of Marine Studies and Public Affairs.  Dr. Miles is former Director for the School of Marine Affairs (‘82 -‘93).  He received his Ph.D. in International Relations with a specialization in International Law and Organization.  Among other professional experience, Edward has worked as Senior Fellow of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, President of Law of Sea Institute’s Executive Board and member of the National Research Council’s Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change (‘03- present).  His areas of research include: design, negotiation, and implementation of international environmental regimes with interest in comparative politics of making and implementing integrated national ocean policy and integrated assessment of the human dimensions of global change and global climate change.

Rob Neff

is an Assistant Professor at University of Maryland Baltimore County.  His research focuses on the human dimensions of global change, primarily global climate change.  His recently completed dissertation focused on greenhouse gas emissions from transportation in urban places.  The results have implications for environmental and social justice, due to the increased energy consumption caused by the politics of separation and segregation in the study site.  He also has recently completed a 3-year appointment as a research associate on the HERO project, where his research focused on the vulnerability of people and places to the impacts of climate variation and change. His is in the process of completing publications on this research, and is also leading two book chapters on mixed-methods approaches to understanding vulnerability.

Claudia Nierenberg

Is the Special Projects Manager within the NOAA Climate Program Office, Office of the Director.  During her tenure at NOAA, she has served as Director for the Climate and Societal Interactions Division, and as Program Manager for both the Human Dimensions of Global Change Program and the Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment (RISA) Program.  She has served on numerous federal committees and initiatives for global change research, most recently serving as a member of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC) Global Change Subcommittee. She holds a Masters degree in International Political Economy from Columbia University, and a Bachelors degree in English Literature from the University of Virginia.

Ronald P. Neilson

Is a BioClimatologist with the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station and a Professor (Courtesy) with the Departments of Botany and Plant Pathology and Forest Science at Oregon State University.  Dr. Neilson has focused on the theory, mechanisms and simulation of vegetation distribution for nearly three decades.  He received the Cooper Award from the Ecological Society of America for his research on oak distribution and USDA Secretary’s Honor Award for Superior Service in 2003.  Dr. Neilson’s MAPSS biogeography model and MC1 dynamic general vegetation model have contributed to national and global assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the U.S. Global Change Research Program and to Our Changing Planet, the formal description of the U.S. Global Change Research Program.  Dr. Neilson was the lead author for the Forest sector for the IPCC’s special report on The Regional Impacts of Climate Change.  His current work extends into Earth System Modeling, Landscape System Modeling and large-scale fire forecasting. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Utah.

Richard Pearson

Is a postdoctoral research fellow at the American Museum of Natural History where he is associated with both the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation and the Department of Herpetology. Richard’s research falls principally within the fields of biogeography and spatial ecology, with a key focus being the development and application of species’ distribution (ecological niche) modeling approaches. Richard completed his PhD at the University of Oxford, UK, in 2004. His doctoral thesis focused on the use of ecological modeling approaches to study the potential impacts of climate change and habitat fragmentation on the distribution of species. Richard continues to study the impacts of climate change on biodiversity, and is also applying niche-based modeling approaches to help identify unknown areas of endemism in Madagascar and to further our understanding of the evolutionary history of the island’s biodiversity.

Hugh Pitcher

Is a staff scientist with the Joint Global Change Group Research Institute.  He has been with the group more than a decade, during which time he has played a major role in developing the SGM, developed the initial version of the integrated assessment model MiniCAM, and worked with many others in the international community to create the IPCC’s Special Report on Emission Scenarios.  He continues to participate in IPCC activities as a member of the Technical Group on Data and Scenarios for Impacts and Climate Assessment as well as being a contributing author to chapter 3 of WGIII for AR4.  His current interests include continued development of long term scenarios, focused on major revisions to the demographics models and work on health, climate and economic growth.  He is also directs work to extend and enhance the Second Generation model, JGCRI’s computable general equilibrium climate model. Prior to joining PNNL, he spent twenty years at EPA, the US Department of Labor, and the Institute for Defense analysis, where the focus of his work was the development of computer models and their use in policy analysis.  These models and analyses have covered a wide variety of topics, including the all-volunteer armed services, the impact of demographic changes on the non-inflationary rate of unemployment, the costs and benefits of reducing lead in gasoline, and the benefits of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments.

Roger S. Pulwarty

Is a Physical Scientist in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Program Office.  He is the National Integrated Drought Information System Program Manager.  Rogers’ research interests have focused on climate, climate impacts assessment and the role of research-based information in natural resources management in the Western U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean. His programmatic interests are in the design of effective services to address climate-related risks. From 1998 to 2002 Roger helped develop NOAA/Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISA) Program and until recently was the deputy director of the NOAA/University of Colorado Western Water Assessment. Roger leads the vulnerability and capacity assessment component of the World Bank funded Program on Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change in the Caribbean. He chairs the American Meteorological Society Committee on Societal Impacts and is Professor Adjunct at the University of Colorado and the University of the West Indies. He is a lead author on the forthcoming IPCC Fourth Assessment Report and on the U.S. Climate Change Science Program synthesis report on climate and extreme events.

Osvaldo Sala

Is the Sloan Lindemann Professor of Biology at Brown University, where he also serves as director of the Environmental Chance Initiative and of the Center for Environmental Studies. He is also the Andrew D. White Professor-at Large from Cornell University. His expertise in ecology spans from the arid ecosystems of Patagonia to global change issues, with a focus on ecosystem-level questions that include the carbon cycle, ecosystem-water dynamics, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, and biodiversity scenarios. His research uses many tools from field experiments to models and has resulted in more than 140 peer-reviewed publications. He currently has experiments in several ecosystems from the Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico to the Harvard Forest in Western Massachusetts. He is president of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment and a current member of the Science Council, The Nature Conservancy. Osvaldo Sala is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Argentinean National Academy of Sciences, and the Argentinean National Academy of Physical and Natural Sciences.

Earl Saxon

Recently joined The World Conservation Union (IUCN) in Gland, Switzerland. Based in the Forest Conservation Programme, he provides technical support to IUCN programmes and regional offices on policy, impacts research and adaptation to rapid climate change and climate variability as the Climate Change and Ecosystems Programme Officer. He received his PhD (on Impacts of Global Warming and Rising Sea Levels) from Cambridge University.

George A. Seielstad

Is Director of the Northern Great Plains Center for People and the Environment at the University of North Dakota.  In this position he develops and promotes the Upper Midwest Aerospace Consortium (UMAC), a major research collaboration dedicated to delivering benefits to society derived from Earth observing. Dr. Seielstad is also Principal Investigator of the National Suborbital Education and Research Center (NSERC).  Before coming to UND, Seielstad, had an active career as a radio astronomer for the California Institute of Technology’s Owens Valley Radio Observatory and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory where he was Site Director.  He earned his undergraduate degree summa cum laude from Dartmouth College.  His Ph.D. in Physics is from the California Institute of Technology. Seielstad is Chair of NASA’s Deep Space Network Working Group.  He was appointed by the Secretary of Interior to serve on the National Satellite Land Remote Sensing Data Active Archive Advisory Committee.  He has also served as an expert reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment of Climate Change.

Rebecca Shaw

Is the Director of Conservation Science for The Nature Conservancy in San Francisco and Visiting Scientist at the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology on Stanford University’s campus. As Director of Conservation Science and Planning, she is responsible for incorporating the best available scientific information and practices into the full array of TNC programs and manages an interdisciplinary team of scientific and technical experts. Her team’s projects include incorporating climate change impacts into conservation planning, conservation planning for ecosystem services, and incorporating economic return into conservation priority setting at multiple scales. Prior to joining TNC, Rebecca conducted research at the Department of Global Ecology on the impacts of global change on ecosystems processes and biodiversity. The results of her research have been published in leading academic journals including Science and Nature. She received her M.A. in environmental policy and her Ph.D. in energy and resources from the University of California at Berkeley. 

Leigh Welling

Is Director of the Crown of the Continent Research Learning Center in Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and currently serves as National Coordinator for the 17 existing NPS Research Learning Centers. She has a Ph.D. in Oceanography from Oregon State University.  Dr. Welling’s experience emphasizes understanding and communicating climate change and its impacts on living systems. In her previous experience as Director of the Northern Great Plains Center for People and the Environment at the University of North Dakota she helped link research, applications, and educational initiatives toward sustainable land use practices. Dr. Welling served as co-chair of the Northern Great Plains sector for the National Assessment on the Impacts of Climate Variability and Change and was responsible for research, education, and public policy initiatives that bridged the gap between academic, governmental, and residential communities in the region. Her education and outreach experience includes decision support training for land managers, and production of web-based information and public television programming.

Paul West

Is the associate science director for The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Great Rivers Partnership, an effort that coordinates TNC’s conservation efforts on the Mississippi, Paraguay-Paraná, and Yangtze rivers.  He holds two B.S. degrees and an M.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he concentrated in soil science and restoration ecology.  His work has focused on researching the effectiveness of different land management techniques in forests and grasslands and assessing ecological integrity of ecosystems.  He has led several large-scale biodiversity-planning efforts for the upper Midwest and southern Canada.  He has served on numerous biodiversity-related advisory boards to public agencies in Wisconsin.  He is currently working on developing a process for incorporating ecosystem services into TNC’s conservation planning and strategy development processes.  While working at the Conservancy, he is also a Ph.D. candidate in the Limnology and Marine Sciences Program at University of Wisconsin-Madison, focusing his research on distribution and tradeoff among ecosystem services in large river basins.

John Wiens

John Wienswork has emphasized landscape ecology and the ecology of birds and insects in arid environments on several continents. He has authored or edited six books and some 200 scientific papers. John has held Visiting Professor positions at the University of Oslo, the University of British Columbia, the Tropical Ecosystem Research Centre of CSIRO in Darwin, Australia, and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California. He was awarded a Fulbright Senior Fellowship for work at the University of Sydney, and has collaborated with colleagues in France, England, Poland, The Netherlands, Argentina, Chile, Canada, and Australia. John left academia in 2002 to join The Nature Conservancy as Chief Scientist, with the challenge of putting years of classroom teaching and academic research into conservation practice in the real world. He is responsible for developing and helping to implement science-based conservation throughout The Nature Conservancy and forging new linkages with partners. He is based at the Worldwide Office of The Nature Conservancy in Arlington, Virginia.

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Fall 2017 Meeting Agenda

The full schedule of speakers and activities.

Location, logistics and travel information

For the Fall conference.



The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment


900 17th Street, NW • Suite 700 • Washington, DC

Eco Threshold

900 17th Street, NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC

Telephone: 202-737-6307
Fax: 202-737-6410