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Health and Environmental Effects Research

NHEERL Assistant Laboratory Director Co-Author of BioScience Cover Article

Kathryn Saterson, NHEERL Assistant Laboratory Director for Ecosystem Services and Sustainable Community Research, was one of multiple authors of the cover story in the April issue of BioScience. The article, “Top 40 Priorities for Science to Inform US Conservation and Management Policy,” highlights a set of high-priority, multidisciplinary research questions that, if answered, would inform some of the most important current and future decisions about management of species, communities, and ecological processes in the United States.

The questions were generated through an open, inclusive process that included personal interviews with decisionmakers; broad solicitation of research needs from scientists and policymakers; and an intensive workshop involving scientists, resource managers, and policymakers from government, nongovernmental organizations, foundations, and academia. The process, funded by the Kresge Foundation, was led by a partnership among the University of California-Santa Barbara, the National Council for Science and the Environment, and the Society for Conservation Biology.

Many of the questions, such as those just below, addressed by Dr. Saterson and other workgroup members included those in the realms of natural and social sciences and focused on the need to assess tradeoffs among social, ecological, and economic issues.

  • What quantity and quality of surface and groundwater will be necessary to sustain U.S. populations and ecosystem resilience in the next 100 years?
  • How will changes in land use and climate affect the effectiveness of terrestrial and marine protected areas?
  • What are reliable and scientifically defensible metrics for quantifying the benefits that humans receive from ecosystems and tradeoffs among those benefits?
  • How do the social and economic impacts of U.S. conservation policies vary spatially, temporally, and among social groups?

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