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Conservation Innovations

WWF's Eric Dinerstein Speaks on New Conservation Approaches
Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - McCormick Lecture Hall

Eric DinersteinThe image of a wildlife conservationist - of an intrepid explorer trudging knee-deep in mud, braving snakes and spiders as he or she seeks to discover the whereabouts of a rare primate - might become slightly altered after hearing Eric Dinerstein, PhD, a chief scientist and Vice President of Conservation Science of the World Wildlife Fund, or WWF. He is giving the talk, "Innovations in Conservation," on Wednesday, September 28 at 5 p.m. in College of the Atlantic's McCormick Lecture Hall for the college's Human Ecology Forum.

The talk covers some of the amazing technological innovations being used by conservations, such as laser scanning of forests, species identification from airborne spectrometry, new ways of monitoring deforestation and forest degradation - and increase market incentives to prevent such degradation, developing next-generation cellular tracking devices and camera cell phones, and finding ways to bridge the gaps between conservation, rainforest development, and large-scale agriculture.

Dinerstein began his conservation work in 1975 as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal, where he conducted a census of the tiger population in the Karnali-Bardia Wildlife Reserve. From this experience he began to champion the idea of protecting species and their habitats beyond the park's boundaries. Considered groundbreaking at the time, this approach is now standard practice for large-mammal conservation.

He has spent nearly two decades at WWF, helping to develop strategies to protect a number of endangered species including one-horned rhinos, tigers, and elephants. Dinerstein also led an unprecedented effort to identify every ecoregion on the planet and define the most biologically important species.

In Dinerstein's view, the single greatest challenge for conservation worldwide is to stop the loss of habitat around the world. He spends much of his time talking about the importance of conservation and related issues, such as climate change. "I try to make people, especially those in their teens and twenties, understand that they could see the end of many species in their lifetime," says Dinerstein.

For more information about Dinerstein's talk to COA's Human Ecology Forum on Wednesday, September 28 at 5 p.m. in McCormick Lecture Hall, contact John Visvader at or 288-5015.

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