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Applied Biodiversity Science: Integrating ecology, culture, and governance for effective conservation


Solutions to the biodiversity crisis will ultimately come from biological scientists and social scientists working in tandem, yet disconnects among scientific disciplines, conservation institutions, and practical implementation hinder effective conservation. The vision of Applied Biodiversity Science (ABS) is to achieve integration between biodiversity research and on-the-ground conservation practices. Three pillars support ABS: 1) integrated social and biological research; 2) cross disciplinary collaboration with local conservation institutions and actors; and 3) application of conservation theory to practice. Our ABS program, including a doctoral training program, is focused on two cross-cutting themes: Ecological Functions and Biodiversity; and Communities and Governance. The research integration matrixmatches causes of biodiversity loss against research approaches, and is thus a useful tool for defining integrative questions and building interdisciplinary research teams. Case studies from Western Amazon and Gran Chaco illustrate how the ABS model has been implemented in the Americas. The intention is that ABS approaches will produce conservation scientists who communicate effectively across disciplines, and make their research relevant to ongoing programs. The ABS approach helps elucidate how and why ecosystem functions, biodiversity, human communities and governance systems are interconnected.