2017 Sustaining Our World Lecture: Anthony Sinclair

Coming up on Tuesday, April 4, from 6 to 7 p.m. in Anderson Hall – Room 223, we are very pleased to welcome Professor Emeritus Anthony R.E. Sinclair from the University of British Columbia to give the annual Sustaining Our World Lecture, “The future of conservation: Lessons from the past and the need for rewilding of ecosystems.”

The talk is free and open to the public, but please register in advance to make sure we have enough seating. (Anderson Hall is one of the older buildings on campus and has no elevators to the second floor or ramp access at any entrance; our sincere apologies for any difficulty in accessing the room.)

Register today!

About the Talk
Three themes emerge from long-term research around the globe. First, the diversity of species is important in maintaining stability in the system. So if we lose species, as in agriculture, we create instability. Second, due to continuously changing environments, ecosystems are always changing. That means that static boundaries around Protected Areas will not be sufficient for long-term conservation. Third, disturbances in ecosystems (fire, floods, agriculture) can cause a rapid change in state from one species community to another. Consequently, Protected Areas are necessary but not sufficient for the conservation of biota. Restoration of human-disturbed landscapes must now become a priority. I present the rationale and a method for predicting the success of rewilding to a pre-determined state using a rewilding index. This approach tells us when rewilding has been achieved and whether the envisioned community of species and their interactions can be restored. The method can be used to guide restoration of both the type and number of species, and the rate of change of ecosystem processes.

About the Speaker
Anthony is currently professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Previously, he served as director of the Centre for Biodiversity Research, University of British Columbia, and was a professor at the Department of Zoology for 34 years. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London and the Royal Society of Canada. Anthony was a Killam Senior Fellow in 2004-2006 and was awarded the Aldo Leopold medal from The Wildlife Society in 2013.

He has conducted ecological research on the role of biodiversity in the functioning of many ecosystems around the world, including Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. He has worked with many different types of organisms to put together the food webs and their dynamics that cover several decades. This work included the regulation of mammal populations, food supply, nutrition, predation and disease. Anthony has examined the causes of migration and its consequences on ecosystem processes, and he has documented multiple states in the Serengeti savannah and grassland communities for almost 50 years. He has expanded these interests to include bird, insect and reptile faunas as part of the long-term dynamics of ecosystems; these studies have been synthesized in four books. He has worked in Canada on boreal forest ecosystems, in particular on cycles of snowshoe hares for 20 years. He has also worked on endangered marsupial mammal populations and predation by exotic carnivores in Australia and similar systems in New Zealand.

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