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Heather Tallis


Heather Tallis

Acting Chief Scientist

Heather Tallis is Acting Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy, the world’s largest environmental organization. She is a recognized scientific leader in bringing human well-being considerations into conservation. Previously, Tallis served as the first female lead scientist in the history of the Conservancy. She directed the Human Dimensions Program, an initiative that incorporates ecological, social and economic sciences so that human well-being is integrated into conservation practice from the planning stage forward.

Tallis has developed, planned and executed many innovative research programs at the Conservancy, engaging with field programs and driving organizational change. Her work on the ground is aimed at better understanding and managing key connections between nature and people, from pioneering new science for using watersheds as a key part of water infrastructure for cities, to advancing both the theory and practice of how nature’s benefits can be part of mitigating development impacts. She is currently exploring new areas for conservation, including the connection between nature views and elementary school test scores, connections between time poverty and conservation, and opportunities to address major public health issues through conservation. Tallis co-led the re-design of the Conservancy’s science-based approach to conservation, embedding key human well-being considerations throughout the planning, implementation and evaluation processes.

Prior to joining the Conservancy in 2013, Tallis was lead scientist at the Natural Capital Project, where she led the development of a pioneering software application, InVEST, that reveals the ecosystem services costs and benefits of land and water use decisions.

Tallis has worked with governments, corporations and non-governmental organizations to use science about nature’s benefits to inform a host of policy and planning decisions. She has guided research with diverse stakeholders across the globe and holds leadership and has held expert advisory roles with the World Bank and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

She is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences on these topics. She has published widely in the scientific literature in journals ranging from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences to Ecological Economics. Last year, she led a group of 240 authors in a comment in the journal Nature calling for more inclusive and more diverse conservation – resulting in a petition signed by thousands of scientists all over the world. This is an area she continues to be dedicated to, hosting events and driving research and programs towards shifting the face and focus of conservation.

Tallis holds a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Washington and Master’s degrees from the University of Otago and University of California, Santa Cruz, where she is now adjunct faculty. She is co-editor of the book Natural Capital: The Theory and Practice of Mapping Ecosystem Services, released by Oxford University Press in 2011.

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Blogs by Heather

Heather in the News

Publications

2016

Tallis, H., Kennedy, C.M., Ruckelshaus, M., Goldstein, J. & Kiesecker, J.M. (2016). Mitigation for the people: an ecosystem services framework. In: Handbook on biodiversity and ecosystem services in impact assessment (ed. Geneletti, D.). Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK, pp. 397–427.

2015

Díaz, S., Demissew, S., Carabias, J., Joly, C. … Tallis, H. and 79 others. (2015). The IPBES Conceptual Framework — connecting nature and people. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 14, 1–16.

Grimm, N.B., Groffman, P., Staudinger, M. & Tallis, H. (2015). Climate change impacts on ecosystems and ecosystem services in the United States: process and prospects for sustained assessment. Climatic Change, 1–13.

Guerry, A.D., Polasky, S., Lubchenco, J., Chaplin-Kramer, R., Daily, G.C., Griffin, R., Ruckelshaus, M., Bateman, I.J., Duraiappah, A., Elmqvist, T., Feldman, M.W., Folke, C., Hoekstra, J., Kareiva, P.M., Keeler, B.L., Li, S., McKenzie, E., Ouyang, Z., Reyers, B., Ricketts, T.H., Rockström, J., Tallis, H. & Vira, B. (2015). Natural capital and ecosystem services informing decisions: from promise to practice. PNAS, 112, 7348–7355.

Karp, D.S., Tallis, H., Sachse, R., Halpern, B., Thonicke, K., Cramer, W., Mooney, H., Polasky, S., Tietjen, B., Waha, K., Walz, A. & Wolny, S. (2015). National indicators for observing ecosystem service change. Global Environmental Change, 35, 12–21.

Mandle, L., Tallis, H., Sotomayor, L. & Vogl, A.L. (2015). Who loses? Tracking ecosystem service redistribution from road development and mitigation in the Peruvian Amazon. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 13, 309–315.

Olander, L., Johnston, R.J., Tallis, H., Kagan, J., Maquire, L., Boyd, J., Polasky, S. & Wainger, L. (2015). Best practices for integrating ecosystem services into federal decision making.

Polasky, S., Tallis, H. & Reyers, B. (2015). Setting the bar: standards for ecosystem services. PNAS, 112, 7356–7361.

Ruckelshaus, M., McKenzie, E., Tallis, H., Guerry, A., Daily, G., Kareiva, P., Polasky, S., Ricketts, T., Bhagabati, N., Wood, S.A. & Bernhardt, J. (2015). Notes from the field: lessons learned from using ecosystem service approaches to inform real-world decisions. Ecological Economics, 115, 11–21.

Selomane, O., Reyers, B., Biggs, R., Tallis, H. & Polasky, S. (2015). Towards integrated social–ecological sustainability indicators: exploring the contribution and gaps in existing global data. Ecological Economics, 118, 140–146.

Tallis, H., Kennedy, C.M., Ruckelshaus, M., Goldstein, J. & Kiesecker, J.M. (2015). Mitigation for one & all: an integrated framework for mitigation of development impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 55, 21–34.

Williams, J.R., Masuda, Y.J. & Tallis, H. (2015). A measure whose time has come: formalizing time poverty. Soc. Indic. Res., 1–19.

2014

Bhagabati, N.K., Ricketts, T., Sulistyawan, T.B.S., Conte, M., Ennaanay, D., Hadian, O., McKenzie, E., Olwero, N., Rosenthal, A., Tallis, H. & Wolny, S. (2014). Ecosystem services reinforce Sumatran tiger conservation in land use plans. Biological Conservation, 169, 147–156.

Mooney, H. & Tallis, H. (2014). Fauna in decline: global assessments. Science, 345, 885.

 

Tallis, H., Lubchenco, J. & 238 others. (2014). Working together: a call for inclusive conservation. Nature, 515, 27–28.

Terrado, M., Acuña, V., Ennaanay, D., Tallis, H. & Sabater, S. (2014). Impact of climate extremes on hydrological ecosystem services in a heavily humanized Mediterranean basin. Ecological Indicators, 37, Part A, 199–209. 

2013

Nelson, E.J., Kareiva, P., Ruckelshaus, M., Arkema, K., Geller, G., Girvetz, E., Goodrich, D., Matzek, V., Pinsky, M., Reid, W., Saunders, M., Semmens, D. & Tallis, H. (2013). Climate change’s impact on key ecosystem services and the human well-being they support in the US. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 11, 483–893.

2012

Guerry, A.D., Ruckelshaus, M.H., Arkema, K.K., Bernhardt, J.R., Guannel, G., Kim, C.-K., Marsik, M., Papenfus, M., Toft, J.E., Verutes, G., Wood, S.A., Beck, M., Chan, F., Chan, K.M.A., Gelfenbaum, G., Gold, B.D., Halpern, B.S., Labiosa, W.B., Lester, S.E., Levin, P.S., McField, M., Pinsky, M.L., Plummer, M., Polasky, S., Ruggiero, P., Sutherland, D.A., Tallis, H., Day, A. & Spencer, J. (2012). Modeling benefits from nature: using ecosystem services to inform coastal and marine spatial planning. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 8, 107–121.

Kim, C.-K., Toft, J.E., Papenfus, M., Verutes, G., Guerry, A.D., Ruckelshaus, M.H., Arkema, K.K., Guannel, G., Wood, S.A., Bernhardt, J.R., Tallis, H., Plummer, M.L., Halpern, B.S., Pinsky, M.L., Beck, M.W., Chan, F., Chan, K.M.A., Levin, P.S. & Polasky, S. (2012). Catching the right wave: evaluating wave energy resources and potential compatibility with existing marine and coastal uses. PLoS ONE, 7, e47598.

Reyers, B., Polasky, S., Tallis, H., Mooney, H.A. & Larigauderie, A. (2012). Finding common ground for biodiversity and ecosystem services. BioScience, 62, 503–507.

Tallis, H., Lester, S.E., Ruckelshaus, M., Plummer, M., McLeod, K., Guerry, A., Andelman, S., Caldwell, M.R., Conte, M., Copps, S., Fox, D., Fujita, R., Gaines, S.D., Gelfenbaum, G., Gold, B., Kareiva, P., Kim, C., Lee, K., Papenfus, M., Redman, S., Silliman, B., Wainger, L. & White, C. (2012). New metrics for managing and sustaining the ocean’s bounty. Marine Policy, 36, 303–306.

Tallis, H., Mooney, H., Andelman, S., Balvanera, P., Cramer, W., Karp, D., Polasky, S., Reyers, B., Ricketts, T., Running, S., Thonicke, K., Tietjen, B. & Walz, A. (2012). A global system for monitoring ecosystem service change. BioScience, 62, 977–986.

Tallis, H.
, Polasky, S., Lozano, J.S. & Wolny, S. (2012). Inclusive wealth accounting for regulating ecosystem services. In: Inclusive Wealth Report 2012: measuring progress toward sustainability. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 195–214.

2010

Lester, S.E., McLeod, K.L., Tallis, H., Ruckelshaus, M., Halpern, B.S., Levin, P.S., Chavez, F.P., Pomeroy, C., McCay, B.J., Costello, C., Gaines, S.D., Mace, A.J., Barth, J.A., Fluharty, D.L. & Parrish, J.K. (2010). Science in support of ecosystem-based management for the US West Coast and beyond. Biological Conservation, 143, 576–587.

Tallis, H., Levin, P.S., Ruckelshaus, M., Lester, S.E., McLeod, K.L., Fluharty, D.L. & Halpern, B.S. (2010). The many faces of ecosystem-based management: making the process work today in real places. Marine Policy, 34, 340–348.

2009

Fox, H.E., Kareiva, P., Silliman, B., Hitt, J., Lytle, D.A., Halpern, B.S., Hawkes, C.V., Lawler, J., Neel, M., Olden, J.D., Schlaepfer, M.A., Smith, K. & Tallis, H. (2009). Why do we fly? Ecologists’ sins of emission. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 7, 294–296.

Goldman, R.L. & Tallis, H. (2009). A critical analysis of ecosystem services as a tool in conservation projects. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1162, 63–78.

Nelson, E., Mendoza, G., Regetz, J., Polasky, S., Tallis, H., Cameron, Dr., Chan, K.M., Daily, G.C., Goldstein, J., Kareiva, P.M., Lonsdorf, E., Naidoo, R., Ricketts, T.H. & Shaw, Mr. (2009). Modeling multiple ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation, commodity production, and tradeoffs at landscape scales. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 7, 4–11.

Tallis, H. (2009). Kelp and rivers subsidize rocky intertidal communities in the Pacific Northwest (USA). Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser., 389, 85–96.

Tallis, H., Goldman, R., Uhl, M. & Brosi, B. (2009). Integrating conservation and development in the field: implementing ecosystem service projects. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 7, 12–20.

Tallis, H.M., Ruesink, J.L., Dumbauld, B., Hacker, S. & Wisehart, L.M. (2009). Oysters and aquaculture practices affect eelgrass density and productivity in a Pacific Northwest estuary. Journal of Shellfish Research, 28, 251–261.

Tallis, H. & Polasky, S. (2009). Mapping and valuing ecosystem services as an approach for conservation and natural-resource management. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1162, 265–283.

2008

Fischer, J., Brosi, B., Daily, G.C., Ehrlich, P.R., Goldman, R., Goldstein, J., Lindenmayer, D.B., Manning, A.D., Mooney, H.A., Pejchar, L., Ranganathan, J. & Tallis, H. (2008). Should agricultural policies encourage land sparing or wildlife-friendly farming? Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 6, 380–385.

Goldman, R.L., Tallis, H., Kareiva, P. & Daily, G.C. (2008). Field evidence that ecosystem service projects support biodiversity and diversify options. PNAS, 105, 9445–9448.

Richardson, N.F., Ruesink, J.L., Naeem, S., Hacker, S.D., Tallis, H.M., Dumbauld, B.R. & Wisehart, L.M. (2008). Bacterial abundance and aerobic microbial activity across natural and oyster aquaculture habitats during summer conditions in a northeastern Pacific estuary. Hydrobiologia, 596, 269–278.

Tallis, H., Ferdaña, Z. & Gray, E. (2008). Linking terrestrial and marine conservation planning and threats analysis. Conservation Biology, 22, 120–130.

Tallis, H., Kareiva, P., Marvier, M. & Chang, A. (2008). An ecosystem services framework to support both practical conservation and economic development. PNAS, 105, 9457–9464.

Heather Tallis is Acting Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy, the world’s largest environmental organization. She is a recognized scientific leader in bringing human well-being considerations into conservation. Previously, Tallis served as the first female lead scientist in the history of the Conservancy. She directed the Human Dimensions Program, an initiative that incorporates ecological, social and economic sciences so that human well-being is integrated into conservation practice from the planning stage forward.

Heather has developed, planned and executed many innovative research programs at the Conservancy. Her recent initiatives include:

  • Using data and publicly available test scores to explore the connection between nature views and elementary school test scores.
  • Analyzing available data in the United States to identify which individual choices can have the biggest impact on water scarcity in drought-prone regions.
  • Expanding the definition of poverty beyond income, and moving beyond arbitrary poverty lines in the US and developing countries, to better inform economic and conservation programs.
  • Exploring landscape-level connections between wildlife, livestock, tourism, income, nutrition and tick-borne disease in Northern Kenya.
  • Incorporating ecosystem services in national planning.

Before joining the Conservancy in 2013, Heather was lead scientist at the Natural Capital Project, where she led the development of a pioneering software application (InVEST) that reveals the ecosystem service costs and benefits of land and water use decisions. At the Natural Capital Project, Heather also helped develop a new free software tool — RIOS — which uses biophysical, ecological and social data to help policymakers and others maximize the feasibility and effectiveness of watershed investments. RIOS will be used to design 40 new water funds in Latin America and Africa. 

Tallis has worked with governments, corporations and non-governmental organizations to use science about nature’s benefits to inform a host of policy and planning decisions. She has guided research with diverse stakeholders across the globe and holds leadership and has held expert advisory roles with the World Bank and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. 

She holds a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Washington and Master’s degrees from the University of Otago and University of California, Santa Cruz, where she is now adjunct faculty. She is co-editor of the book Natural Capital: The Theory and Practice of Mapping Ecosystem Services, released by Oxford University Press in 2011.

Contact

Geraldine Henrich-Koenis
Media Contact
Phone: (703) 841-3939
E-mail: ghenrich-koenis@tnc.org

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