Arlington, Va. (April 3, 2013)—In recognition for his extraordinary and ongoing contributions to protecting and understanding the world’s ecosystems, NatureServe presented Dr. Walt Reid with the 2013 NatureServe Conservation Award at its annual Biodiversity Without Boundaries conference in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 16, 2013.
Dr. Reid is director of the Conservation and Science Program at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, where he oversees investments in ideas and actions that conserve and restore ecosystems while enhancing human well-being. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2006, he was a consulting professor with the Institute for the Environment at Stanford University, and he led research on the science and policy of biodiversity conservation as vice president of the World Resources Institute in Washington D.C from 1992 to 1998.
Among his many accomplishments in these roles, the selection committee wished to highlight one seminal achievement in making the award. Between 1998 and 2005, Dr. Reid led a remarkable global initiative called the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, which provided a state-of-the-art scientific appraisal of the condition and trends in the world’s ecosystems, the consequences of ecosystem change, and the options for policy and management responses. Unique in its reliance on a highly effective social process, this landmark report integrated the scientific findings of more than 1,000 experts from 95 countries and brought them to bear on governmental and corporate policy- and decision-making.
By helping decision-makers recognize the necessity of healthy ecosystems in establishing strong economies and sustainable human communities, the Assessment transformed how we view and value natural resources. The report also redefined how people and institutions design targets and strategies and measure results for conserving important places.
The influence of the Assessment remains undiminished, with its insistence that we must measure and invest in ecosystem services as valuable, quantifiable items. By documenting that paying the true cost for these natural benefits is necessary for human health and prosperity, the Assessment serves as the wellspring of myriad present-day efforts to understand and value ecosystem services.
“It is an honor to recognize Walt’s leadership with this year’s NatureServe Conservation Award,” says Mary Klein, president and CEO of NatureServe. “The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment has had an enormous impact on the practice of conserving and restoring ecosystems. And its emphasis on collaboration and consensus between the scientific, business, and corporate communities offers a model for enacting meaningful policy changes.”