Balancing society’s priorities: the need for new research and tools
Growing demands for water, food and energy are expected to intensify land-use conflicts in the tropics where population growth has been most rapid, the people are poorest, and biodiversity is richest and yet most threatened globally. An urgent challenge for decision-makers in these regions is to reconcile human development with environmental protection. In this presentation, I discuss the need for new research and tools for addressing these emerging environmental challenges. These tools might include new approaches for measuring current states of the environment, predicting future outcomes, and communicating findings to support land-use decision-making. Some of this research might be considered radical and high-risk, and fall outside of conventional academic pursuits. But they might also yield significant payoffs for advancing conservation science, policy and practice to achieve more sustainable development in the tropics.