The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Ecology and Conservation Biology goes, in this eleventh edition, to Gretchen Cara Daily and Georgina Mace, for developing the currencies of conservation for biodiversity protection.
Leaders in documenting the alarming declines in global biodiversity in the midst of our planet’s sixth extinction crisis, Daily and Mace are visionaries who have each developed tools, teams and policies to combat species loss. Central to the approach of each scientist has been their recognition of the value of nature and the necessity of harmonizing conservation and societal needs.
Daily’s seminal book Nature’s Services helped to inspire widespread recognition of ecosystem services. She also developed the InVEST framework to map, quantify and value these services, which, through the Natural Capital project, is now being brought to bear on conservation decisions throughout the world.
Mace was among the first to employ comparative methods to evaluate animal population viability and the effects of inbreeding. Her study of small populations made her an expert on the dynamics of population decline and extinction risk, and positioned her as a founder of conservation biology. She played a key role in developing robust scientific criteria for listing species on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List, with a profound impact on conservation science and policies.
While they have never worked directly together, their impact on global conservation has been strongly synergistic, with each making key advances in pursuing the links between the science of ecology and the practice of conservation.