SCB Policy Program Advances the Science and Practice of Biodiversity Conservation

SCB is a global community of conservation professionals dedicated to advancing both the science and practice of conserving Earth’s biological diversity. The activities of the SCB policy program support at least three of SCB’s five strategic foci:
  1. Increase application of science to management and policy
    The policy program works to inform and communicate with policymakers and the general public regarding science that can advance conservation solutions. The program does this through policy statements, publications, meetings with policymakers and the public, and collaboration with other organizations (scientific societies and non-governmental organizations) which hold similar goals.
  2. Advocate support for, and facilitate the creation and dissemination of conservation science; advance science
    The policy program works, via meetings with policymakers and collaboration with other organizations, to increase government funding for production and application of conservation science. This is the primary policy activity of most scientific societies. Although SCB is unique in the breadth of its policy activities, this type of policy work remains important to our members.
  3. Serve the interests of members
    The policy program gives conservation professionals a reason to be members of the society because the program 1) works to educate members on conservation policy issues; 2) works to increase opportunities for collaboration between members on policy issues via social media, conferences, and other venues; 3) trains members in how to communicate with policymakers; and 4) facilitates member contact with policy makers via outreach to legislative and agency staff.

SCB’s Unique Resources and Niche

Many non-governmental organizations share SCB’s goal to conserve biological diversity. Three factors make SCB unique in its capacity to advance this goal:
  1. Our Members: SCB leverages the collective expertise of 5,000 conservation professionals. No other organization has access to this level of conservation science expertise. Conservation biology is a cross-disciplinary field that brings together research from the natural and sciences to advance the core mission of conservation. As such, our members’ expertise bridges the worlds of research and policy and enhances their credibility in bringing science to bear in policy debates.
  2. Our Content: SCB, in collaboration with Wiley Press, sponsors Conservation Biology, the premier journal in the field of conservation science. SCB also advises Wiley concerning the journal Conservation Letters. The policy program works to increase the policy impact of the journal’s content by developing publications and web content that summarizes policy-relevant conclusions together with links to the original content. We promote discussion of journal content among our members and the public via social media. 
  3. Our Structure: The more than 50 SCB chapters are a primary venue for collaboration on policy-related activities and other interaction between SCB members. Chapters are diverse, being composed of students, academics, and conservation scientists from agencies and NGOs. The large number of students involved in chapters allows SCB to reach emerging leaders in conservation science and facilitate their acquisition of policy-related skills.

How SCB Identifies its Global Policy Priorities

SCB’s board and global policy committee work to identify areas where SCB’s unique resources can add value to efforts by other organizations. Although one of SCB’s goals is to develop funding to hire international policy staff, currently policy initiatives emerge as priorities when volunteers from several regions are working on similar policy issues. The global policy committee works together with SCB’s regions to coordinate such “trans-sectional” projects and issue joint policy recommendations and statements on policy issues of regional and global significance.
Learn more about the goals and main activities of the policy committee in the 2016 Global Policy Committee Work Plan
To become involved in these initiatives, contact the policy representative from your region.
SCB’s Global Policy Priority Areas
  1. IPBES: A major area of focus has been around global biodiversity treaties such as the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services (IPBES). SCB’s involvement in IPBES is spearheaded by the IPBES subcommittee, chaired by Bengt-Gunnar Jonsson. Learn more about SCB and IPBES here. Coverage of IPBES meetings from members of SCB's IPBES delegation can be found on the SCB News Blog.  
  2. Forest Policy: “Primary” (unlogged) forests are of special interest to SCB members, conservation groups, and Indigenous People as they are well-springs of biodiversity, provide irreplaceable natural life-support systems, sustain forest dependent communities and their way of life, help stabilize climate and purify drinking water, and support plant pollinators important in myriad forest uses. Our interest in primary forests conservation and sustainability spans all forested continents, exemplifying SCB’s unique global reach and regional coordination. Find out more about SCB’s forest policy efforts here.
  3. Conservation of Roadless Areas: To counter the growing adverse effects of roads globally, roadless ecology studies the ecosystem benefits of roadless areas. The SCB Roadless Initiative has set out to conserve the remaining large and ecologically valuable roadless areas across the Planet. Our research follows three main strands – (1) the inventory and monitoring of roadless areas, (2) roadless ecology and ecological evaluation of roadless areas, and (3) policy work for roadless areas conservation. The Roadless Initiative brings together expertise from a growing number of SCB regions. For more information, see the Roadless Initiative page.