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Gretchen Daily

Gretchen Daily, Director of Tropical Research Program, Center for Conservation Biology, Stanford University is a good represenative of the new generation of naturalists and environmentalists on the Ameican scene.

Stanford University's Center for Conservation Biology is one of the world's most important incubators for ideas about how to take conservation mainstream by making it profitable. Gretchen Daily, director, is also Stanford's lead in a new program, the Natural Capital Project, linking the university to conservation powerhouses The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund.

Natural Capital Project

This blending of different strengths is the focus of the Natural Capital Project by The Nature Conservancy, Stanford, and the World Wildlife Fund. The Natural Capital Project will focus on three areas—the Afromontane region in East Africa, the Sierra Nevada region in California, and the Upper Yangtze River Basin in China.

The Natural Capital Project picked the sites to represent a range of social, political and environmental situations—in hopes that the lessons learned in each setting could be relevant at sites around the globe, says Christine Tam, the project's director. Additional demonstration sites will be added to the project in coming years.

Local researchers and the three institutions will develop maps and dynamic models of the flow of ecosystem services, in both biophysical and economic terms, in each region. "At a minimum, we'd be mapping out carbon, hydrological services—and there are different ones—and then biodiversity at the three main sites," Daily says.

These maps will depict trade-offs associated with investing in different conservation options and help researchers where to invest their efforts when "trying to achieve a bunch of potentially-conflicting conservation goals."

SOURCE: Stanford University