A quarter-century of success by philanthropists, governments and citizenries to protect Earth's natural resources has inadvertently contributed to an impeding crisis of management capacity to successfully retain and restore these resources for future generations. The next generation of resource managers will require a breadth and depth of knowledge heretofore largely unimagined, combined with self-confidence to tackle extremely complex challenges in an open and participatory manner. As we gather more data, expand our base of knowledge and engage more stakeholders in decision-making about Earth's resources, we need conservation managers with both the scientific and practical training and skills to assimilate all factors and to facilitate novel solutions and discoveries.
Over its 40-year history, the UC Davis Graduate Group in Ecology (GGE) has built an international reputation for both academic excellence and pragmatic, research-based outreach to solve problems. With our position of environmental leadership comes the responsibility to help mitigate the looming crisis. Given recent advances in conservation science, tools now exist (e.g., Salafsky et al. 2002; Pullin 2003; Borgerhoff-Mulder and Coppolillo 2004; Sutherland et al. 2004; Margoulis and Salafksy 2006; Pullin and Stewart 2006,) with which to train a new generation of conservation scientists in the multi-disciplinary skills needed to accomplish the task before us.
The Conservation Management training program will:
- Expand on traditional graduate training goals in ecology / conservation biology to include an emphasis on understanding practical tools for implementing collaborative, community-integrated ecosystem-based adaptive management.
- Link individual student's dissertation research to on-the-ground management problems of conservation partners. Graduate research projects will expand on existing strengths in building research agreements between UC Davis and conservation organizations.
- Include ecosystem-level studies, and marine and coastal conservation in our research focus.
- Work to build the capacity of international students to return to their home country to serve as professionals in conservation management.