Events & Media

The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara



"Conservation Science Outside the Comfort Zone:
Scaling up environmental science to change the way development decisions are made

Sandy Andelman
Vice President
Conservation International

Monday, April 23, 2012
11:30 - 12:30
Bren Hall 1414

Most conservation science today isn’t ambitious enough. We are informing battles, but we are not providing the integrative knowledge needed, at the scale needed, to win the war. For example, global policy makers and national governments are trying to produce robust estimates of forest carbon stocks to assist in managing emissions and carbon sequestration. But the error in regional- and global-scale estimates of forest carbon can be as high as 50%. Similarly, feeding the growing world population will require an estimated 70% increase in food production through agricultural intensification and, potentially, expansion, predominantly in developing countries. Yet, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment found that human activities, including agriculture, are degrading the natural systems we depend on faster now than at any time in human history, and our knowledge base for understanding that change has not kept pace. Dr. Andelman will discuss an innovative and potentially game-changing tracking and diagnostic system for policy and decision makers – initially in Africa – that takes an integrative approach to monitoring agricultural productivity, ecosystem health, and human well-being. The system will provide better data, better analytical methods, and better risk-management approaches so decision makers can effectively evaluate the trade-offs and synergies among policies for development, poverty alleviation, and conservation of nature.

Sandy J. Andelman currently is e executive director of the Africa Monitoring System and vice president of Conservation International. Dr. Andelman has thirty years of experience as a field ecologist and conservation scientist working in savanna ecosystems in eastern and southern Africa and in tropical forests in Africa, Asia. and Latin America. She led the design and development of the Tropical Ecology, Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) Network, a standardized system for monitoring tropical biodiversity and ecosystem services in the context of climate change, involving 81 organizations in 18 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. She serves on the GEO-BON ecosystem services and species working groups, participated in the design team for the U.S. National Ecological Observatory Network, led the pilot project for the Africa Monitoring System and served as deputy director of the U.S. National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.  She has  PhD in behavioral ecology from the University of Washington.

NOTE: Community colloquia are generally talks of broad interest geared toward a diverse, sophisticated audience. Their purpose is not only to enhance knowledge and understanding, but also to bring people together and promote interaction that will strengthen the community.


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