31 Oct 2013 5:00pm - 6:30pm Department of Geography (Large Lecture Theatre)


This event is free and open to all.

Gretchen Daily, Professor of Environmental Science, Stanford Woods, will give a series of three public lectures and participate in a concluding symposium on Tuesday 5 November


Over the past decade, efforts to recognize and value ecosystems as vital capital assets have been promoted by many as the last, best hope to secure Earth’s life-support systems and human well-being.  The recognition is now dawning worldwide, and the challenge is to turn it into incentives and institutions that will guide wise investments in natural capital on a large scale. I will discuss a strategy for meeting this challenge, and advances being made on three key fronts.  The first is in characterizing the production of life-support services by ecosystems, in biophysical, economic, health, and cultural dimensions.  The second frontier is the integration of this understanding into new, practical tools and approaches for use in high-leverage decision contexts.  The third frontier is in policy and finance mechanisms now being implemented around the world. Six lessons stand out in the ca. 20 pilot demonstrations from which I will draw, concerning the science-policy process; the utility of simple models in real-world decisions; enabling conditions and local capacity building; the reporting of values in different metrics (not only monetary); the science gap in linking biophysical change to changes in human well-being; and communicating uncertainty. There is a long way to go yet, but great promise in the diversity, innovation, and influence of the many actors in this movement.

Other events in this series:

About the Professorship

The Humanitas Chair in Sustainability Studies has been made possible by the generous support of Tellus Mater Foundation.

Over its 5 year duration, the Visiting Professorship will touch on a diverse range of topics relating to sustainability studies, ranging from the environment and behaviour, to policy and economics.

The Humanitas Chair in Sustainability Studies is organised in collaboration with the Cambridge Conservation Initiative(CCI), a unique collaboration between the University of Cambridge and leading internationally-focussed biodiversity conservation organisations clustered in and around Cambridge, UK. CCI seeks to transform the global understanding and conservation of biodiversity and the natural capital it represents and, through this, secure a sustainable future for all life on Earth. The CCI partners together combine and integrate research, education, policy and practice to create innovative solutions for society and to foster conservation learning and leadership. 

Standing Committee

Mike Rands (Excecutive Director, Cambridge Conservation Initiative)
William Sutherland (Zoology)
Bhaskar Vira (Geography)

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