Advancing Our Policy Declarations

Looking forward, the Policy Committee is excited to further advance our Policy Declarations, including the 2020 declaration dedicated to Advancing Ecological Connectivity Implementation in the Rocky Mountains and North America and our 2018 declaration to Support Conserving and Recovering the Monarch Butterfly. The lengthy Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad articulates a multi-faceted framework for proactively addressing climate change, including a goal of “conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030.” For example, connectivity within and across conservation lands is key for protecting biodiversity and ecologically healthy landscapes. The North American SCB Policy Committee will highlight these declarations for key leaders in the new administration and identify additional ways that the North American Section can meaningfully contribute to the exciting new agenda.

Biden/Harris Executive Action Alignment with SCBNA Priorities

Given our mission to build an equitable and diverse community to advance the science and practice of conserving the Earth’s biological diversity and people’s place within it, the North American Section of the Society for Conservation Biology has renewed optimism about the opportunities emerging with the new federal leadership in the United States. As articulated in our vision, “we conceive of SCBNA as a diverse community of conservation professionals, practitioners, and stakeholders, and a leading scientific voice for the study and conservation of Earth’s biological diversity.”

Since January 20th, the Biden-Harris Administration has issued over fifty executive actions directed at addressing the coronavirus pandemic, restoring lost ground since 2016, and addressing equity, immigration and the environment. With the promise of renewed commitment to both stewardship of the environment and to do so equitably and inclusively, our Policy Committee is embarking on a new collaboration with our Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Committee to inventory the Biden Administration Executive Orders and Memoranda for relevance, alignment and convergence with our mission and vision. For example, the top initiatives of the Policy Committee already include climate change adaptationendangered speciesscientific integrity and environmental justice, all of which are mentioned explicitly in Executive Orders (EO’s) signed to date.

Likewise, SCBNA’s Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Committee works to advance these tenets in the field of conservation across all levels, including the public, students, professionals, and leaders in the field. The Biden Administration’s emphasis on environmental justicesocial justicedecolonization of conservationdiversity and inclusion, and their integration across all areas of government, has inspired SCBNA and our Committees to seek meaningful ways to work collectively on these important and timely priorities. As a first step, we have completed an initial inventory of the Presidential EO’s against the mission and vision of the North American section of SCB and created a brief checklist highlighting areas of alignment (image in left column). Several of the Executive Actions by the Biden Administration also underscore opportunities for enhanced cooperation and collaboration between the US and Canada to amplify outcomes for conservation, climate change and environmental justice, across our shared North American landscape (right column of image).

The North America Society for Conservation Biology is appalled by the invasion of the Capitol building by white nationalists. We are equally appalled by the clear difference in police response in which white supremacists violently breaking into federal buildings are met with very little resistance and people of color protesting peacefully or simply walking in a national park are met with militarized police violence and brutality, in many cases resulting in their death.  We recognize that many of our members know all too well these harsh realities of institutionalized racism in their professional and personal lives and that all of us live within human and natural communities that are negatively impacted by how marginalized peoples are systemically oppressed.  We also recognize that these vital issues are inseparable from who we are, how we do our work, and the fate of biodiversity.  

The board of SCBNA reaffirms our commitment to continuing to work to address systemic racism and biased power structures in our own organization and within conservation biology, be it in our academic institutions, organizations, research projects, foundations or communities we work within.  We also commit to using our unique voice to call on the new administration to make addressing institutionalized racism, sexism, ableism, and other forms of discrimination an immediate priority.

*Statement authored by SCBNA Board Member Dr. Jessa Madosky, Past-President

Signed,

The Board of Directors of the Society for Conservation Biology North America

Karen Root, President
Rebecca McCaffery, President-Elect
Jessa Madosky, Past-President
Gerald Singh, Equity, Inclusion & Diversity Officer
Rebecca Hufft, Treasurer
Alysha Cypher, Secretary & Chapters Representative
Jessica Pratt, Vice President for Education & Chapters
Erin Sexton, Vice President for Policy & Programs
Melissa Cronin, Student Representative
Lauren Jonaitis, Member at Large
Paige Olmsted, Member at Large

On June 12, The Society for Conservation Biology North America submitted a joint comment letter with the American Society of Mammologists (ASM) to the US Fish and Wildlife Service as that agency prepares court-ordered revisions to its rule governing management of the endangered Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi), which occurs in northern Mexico and the southwestern US. In the comments, SCBNA and ASM explained why the rule revision must take a fresh look at best available science regarding what steps are necessary for recovery of the Mexican wolf, rather than relying on a flawed 2017 recovery plan whose conclusions were distorted due to political pressure from some southwestern states.

The major issues that SCBNA and ASM identified in the recovery plan include 1) arbitrarily high thresholds for acceptable extinction risk, 2) lack of objective and measurable recovery criteria regarding threats from illegal killing and other anthropogenic mortality, 3) lack of objective and measurable recovery criteria regarding genetic threats, and 4) arbitrary limits on the geographic extent of recovery.

Read the full comment letter here.