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GCSC Seminar: Truman Young “Deconstructing the conservation-development paradigm, and reconstructing it in an African savanna”

October 18, 2022 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm MDT

FASB 295 and online.

To attend via Zoom, register at

First, I critically assess the current conservation-development paradigm and question the monetization of biodiversity so prevalent today (e.g., “wildlife must pay for itself”, and ecosystem services). I argue that in our rush to reconcile biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation, we fail to acknowledge that these two goals are (usually) inherently in conflict. I argue making the utility of biodiversity the primary justification for its conservation is a) patronizing, particularly in people in developing world, 2) contrary to the history of successes and failures in conservation, and 3) doomed to failure. I give examples of that illustrate these points, and argue we need to return to the forefront of conservation the inherent (non-utilitarian) value of nature.  I then report on some of the results from the Kenya Long-term Exclosure Experiment that has been manipulating the presence and absence of livestock and wildlife in an African savanna for the past 27 years. These include examples of synergy, compatibility, and antagonism between livestock management and native biodiversity but also confirm the fundamental trade-offs between these two goals. It is clear that at moderate densities, livestock management in African can be broadly compatible with conservation, but it is less clear how we get from currently over-stocked to moderately-stocked rangelands.

Dr. Truman Young has had a broad research, teaching, and mentoring career, including shepherding over 15 Kenya scientists (so far) through their graduate degrees. He has spent much of his life doing ecological research in human-dominated ecosystems in Kenya rangelands and California grasslands, mostly while at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Young recently returned home to Colorado, and is now affiliated with Colorado State University in the Graduate Program in Ecology.


October 18, 2022
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm MDT
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295 FASB (Sutton Geology Bldg.)
115 S 1460 E
Salt Lake City, UT 84112 United States
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