Although the results of the recent US elections will bring major changes in US federal government policies that affect biodiversity conservation, SCBNA is committed to remaining a strong voice for promoting the application of rigorous science to conservation management and policy. We are working to strengthen our network of contacts in DC in order to join in solidarity with the larger scientific community on emerging issues, via sign-on letters (SCBNA recently signed onto a letter to the Trump administration led by AIBS) and more substantive efforts.
SCBNA will continue to constructively partner with and support government initiatives where doing so advances conservation science and practice, but will also work to inform our members and the public where we see policies that do not appropriately incorporate conservation science or negatively affect biodiversity. We will continue to focus on three priority policy areas (defense of scientific integrity in government decision-making, conservation of endangered species, and landscape planning for climate change adaptation), where we can provide value that is additive to the work of larger scientific societies and NGOs. With the likely political pressure that will be coming to bear on the US Endangered Species Act and public lands, SCBNA can play a key long-term role in important policy issues in both a reactive (defensive) and proactive manner. Despite the current turmoil around the incoming administration, we believe that effective policy work is still a marathon and staying focused is important to long-term success.
SCBNA is represented in DC policy circles by our policy committee co-chair, Brett Hartl, who is the former SCB Senior Policy Fellow. Brett ’s involvement allows SCBNA to participate as a member of coalitions with like-minded DC-based groups, such as the new Integrity in Science Working Group co-chaired by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Reproductive Health Technologies Project. ISWG is a coalition of scientific societies and good government, public health, environmental, and other public interest organizations working to create a movement around defending the role of science in a democracy. The invitation to join ISWG came out of a successful symposium on scientific integrity organized by SCBNA at the NACCB2016 meeting.