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A cluster of trees in the tropics dramatically boosts biodiversity outside of protected areas

Stanford researchers develop new method of estimating biodiversity beyond the borders of protected areas

October 23, 2016

Historically, conservationists have protected species by placing large swaths of land into preserves and parks. However, only 13 percent of the world’s land area is located in protected natural land.

Climate change and habitat conversion favour the same species

September 18, 2016

A new study shows the effects of deforestation and climate change are amplified into a one-two punch that pushes particularly vulnerable rainforest species towards extinction, while dry-climate species persist. The findings could help guide decisions about where land can be converted to agriculture while minimizing species losses.

Stanford researcher declares that the sixth mass extinction is here

June 21, 2015

There is no longer any doubt: We are entering a mass extinction that threatens humanity's existence.

That is the bad news at the center of a new study by a group of scientists including Paul Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies in biology and a senior fellow at theStanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Ehrlich and his co-authors call for fast action to conserve threatened species, populations and habitat, but warn that the window of opportunity is rapidly closing.

Annual Boething Lecture Presents: Nalini M. Nadkarni

April 22, 2015

Dr. Nalini Nadkarni is a Member of the Faculty at the University of Utah, where she teaches in the Biology Department. Her research is focused on the ecology of tropical and temperate forest canopies, particularly the role that canopy-dwelling plants play in forests at the ecosystem level.

The great tinamou is an evolutionarily-distinct bird that declines in farmland but thrives in tropical rainforest.

Diversified farming practices might preserve evolutionary diversity of wildlife

September 13, 2014

As humans transform the planet to meet our needs, all sorts of wildlife continue to be pushed aside, including many species that play key roles in Earth's life-support systems. In particular, the transformation of forests into agricultural lands has dramatically reduced biodiversity around the world.

A conversation between environmental scientist Paul R. Ehrlich and Michael Charles Tobias

Hope on Earth: A conversation between environmental scientist Paul R. Ehrlich and Michael Charles Tobias

May 31, 2014

Gothic, Colorado is the setting of Hope on Earth a conversation between environmental scientist Paul R. Ehrlich and Michael Charles Tobias. Butterflies, chickens, Jains, gorillas, circumcision, Kant, gun control, China, abortion, and vegetarianism are just some of the topics covered by their conversation.

An important societal signal by Stanford to slow the pace of climate change in the new millennium-- an epoch forecasting radically unstable weather and drought.

May 7, 2014

Stanford University announced that it would divest its $18.7 billion endowment of stock in coal-mining companies, becoming the first major university to lend support to a nationwide campaign to purge endowments and pension funds of fossil fuel investments.

Lonchophylla robusta is one of many bat species found in Panama and Costa Rica

A new, holistic view of countryside biogeography is emerging for the world’s human-modified habitats and the biodiversity they support.

April 17, 2014

Protecting wildlife while feeding a world population predicted to reach 9 billion by 2050 will require a holistic approach to conservation that considers human-altered landscapes such as farmland, according to Stanford researchers.

Hannah Frank collects parasitic bat flies from the largest Neotropical bat, the spectral bat (Vampyrum spectrum).

National Science Foundation Awards Luke Frishkoff & Hannah Frank

February 12, 2014

Luke Frishkoff and Hannah Frank both were awarded Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants from the National Science Foundation. Both Luke and Hannah use genetic techniques to answer key questions involving evolution in the world’s countryside ecosystems.

Paul R. Ehrlich wins the Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Ecology and Conservation Biology

February 5, 2014

Paul R. Ehrlich recognized for his fundamental contributions to the field of ecology, which include path breaking concepts such as coevolution, metapopulation dynamics, ecosystem services, and the role of humans in ecological sustainability.

One of our homes away from Stanford featured on Costa Rican national news

January 20, 2014

Pablo Elizando features the Organization for Tropical Studies's Las Cruces Biological Station and Wilson Botanical Garden.
Image courtesy of the Organization for Tropical Studies:

Nature News Piece: "Birds protect Costa Rica's coffee crop"

September 5, 2013

The yellow warbler may not pull a perfect latte, but it turns out it's a friend to coffee drinkers all the same. Research in Costa Rica shows that hungry warblers and other birds significantly reduce damage by a devastating coffee pest, the coffee berry borer beetle.

Pest-eating birds mean money for coffee growers, Stanford biologists find

September 4, 2013

This is the first time scientists have assigned a monetary value to the pest-control benefits rainforest birds can provide to agriculture. Their study could provide the framework for pest management that helps both farmers and biodiversity.

Bill Burch gives 24th annual Boething Lecture

April 26, 2013

The 2013 Boething Lecture was presented on April 25, 2013 featuring Dr. William Burch, Emeritus Professor of Natural Resource Management at Yale University. Dr. Burch spoke on the subject of "encouraging exosystem stewards in a world of diminished hopes."

Biodiversity at the Genetic Level

October 30, 2011

What are the consequences of Human Land Use on the Genomes of Amphibians? Read an article in the Amigos Newsletter by Luke Frishkoff

Alan Weisman Boething Lecture

Alan Weisman's Boething Lecture

March 31, 2011

At the 2011 annual Boething Lecture, Alan Weisman spoke on the theme of his recent book, The World Without Us, in which he explores "how our planet would respond without the relentless pressure of the human presence."

New York Times feature of Gretchen Daily's Research

August 8, 2011

The New York Times featured Gretchen Daily's research in the article "An Economist for Nature Calculates the Need for More Protection"

Preserving wildlife to benefit farmers

November 2, 2011

See a recent video discussing some of our research on how we can preserve wildlife to benefit farmers, featuring our field studies in Costa Rica.

Birds, Bats and the Berry Borer

November 1, 2011

For decades, the primary method for predicting the future of biodiversity assumed that humandominated landscapes were biological deserts. These “species-area” models simplified the world into two states: patches of habitat and a vast human-dominated matrix, unsuitable for wildlife. Based on these models, the 13% of the world’s terrestrial surface that currently exists as protected areas could only hope to protect 5-10% of terrestrial biodiversity. With expanding population and resource demands, creating sufficient protected areas to preserve Earth’s biota seemed impossible.


New paper in PNAS: Tree planting enables coexistence of Costa Rican birds and farmers

December 1, 2011

The colorful birds of Costa Rica play a crucial role in the country's rural landscapes, by distributing seeds, controlling pesky insects and pollinating plants. But knocking down the Costa Rican forest to make room for farms and pastures can drive away the birds and the benefits they bring to farmers.