Professor UC Santa Cruz Santa Cruz, California, United States
Background/Question/Methods Applied ecology can best succeed by tackling biodiversity, climate and equity challenges together. I will describe biocultural approaches to protecting and restoring biodiversity in California through community-engaged research and policy. As climate change advances, it is both reducing some species' movement and increasing the need for others to move as an adaptive response. I will discuss climate change effects on movement in organisms ranging from migratory birds to trees, and evolving guidance for how to adapt conservation action to the accelerating pace of change. Finally, I will describe programs to expand access to conservation science in order to harness diversity's value for more durable and just solutions.
Results/Conclusions Over three decades, we found little change in ecology's embrace of proactive responses to climate change to protect biodiversity. Three areas of great need include practical research on how to conserve adaptive genetic diversity, identify future suitable habitats for restricted species, and assist movement of species and genes when fragmentation or dispersal limitation prevent unassisted response. We have also seen little progress in the last half-century in ecology's racial and ethnic diversity or its embrace of cross-cultural and indigenous knowledge partnerships. Accelerating both would expand innovation and effectiveness in applied ecology. Progress on diversifying our field calls for a combination of top-down and bottom-up interventions that both quickly expand diversity in leadership, and that support students with opportunities to learn by doing and to belong by building communities of practice. Two UCSC programs, the Center to Advance Mentored, Inquiry-based Opportunities (CAMINO) and the UCSC Doris Duke Scholars Program, provide models for this work. Finally, expanded knowledge partnerships require inviting access to decision-making about both research priorities and policy needs. California is growing indigenous co-management and leadership through state policy priorities on both biodiversity and tribal partnerships. A recent species listing decision provides one example of progress at this nexus.