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Providing the Science that Guides Conservation

Why Partnerships

Geoffrey R. Geupel


Conserving birds and ecosystems is all about partnership.

In the old days, preserving biodiversity seemed relatively easy: buy a piece of land that held some unique or rare flora and/or fauna, and put a fence around it. While this approach has led to the protection of thousands of acres, it has become clear that just protecting places is not sufficient. We have to consider the big picture, and maintain ecological processes such as fire and flooding, in order for many species to thrive.
Geoff Geupel explains monitoring research to visitors from the Middle East in 2009, as part of PRBO’s partnership with the U.S. Forest Service. PRBO photo.

Conservation on a broad scale must encompass landowners, land uses, special interests, recreational interests, and socioeconomic impacts. Failure to include just one of the stakeholders can doom a conservation project.

Accordingly, California’s conservation landscape is now replete with partnership-driven cooperatives, joint ventures, coalitions, and initiatives. Member groups work together to build consensus on key issues, and they pool resources to increase conservation effectiveness. More and more, federal and state agencies rely on partnerships to vet new policies and initiatives and to heighten public and political awareness of complex resource issues.

PRBO is a valued partner in these efforts because of the data and science we provide. In turn, our many partnerships allow PRBO to leverage our science to improve conservation outcomes. Results from our long-term studies help distinguish natural changes from those caused by humans. Data-rich models based on our field studies help determine where conservation should happen. Results from our applied studies provide on-the-ground recommendations that enhance the viability of species and ecosystems. And our data can be used to adaptively manage projects and tell when they are successful.

In this Observer, we honor PRBO’s many partners by highlighting examples that show what “partnership” really means.