November 24, 2016: IRES Faculty Seminar
Speaker: Nathan Bennett

IRES Seminar Series

Time: 12:30pm to 1:30pm (every Thursday)

Location: AERL Theatre (room 120), 2202 Main Mall


Conservation Social Science: Understanding and Integrating Human Dimensions to Improve Local to Global Conservation Policy and Practice

Abstract: It is often claimed that decisions should be based on the best available evidence. For conservation practitioners, managers and policy-makers, this requires an understanding of both the natural and human dimensions of environmental issues. The term “human dimensions” refers broadly to the set of social, economic, cultural, political, and institutional considerations related to a problem. The social sciences are one means through which we can seek to understand the human dimensions of conservation. In this talk, I will explore the results of a recent collaboration that examined the scope, focus, tools and contributions of the conservation social sciences. Next, I will turn to a discussion of how the results of social science can be communicated to guide conservation policy and practice at local and global scales. To illustrate, I will draw from my recent research projects, publications and a global “think tank” on the human dimensions of marine conservation.


Bio: Dr. Nathan Bennett is a broadly trained environmental social scientist whose work interrogates various aspects of the complex relationship between the marine environment and human society with a solution-oriented lens. His publications and research interests are broad – with projects focusing on the human dimensions of small and large-scale marine protected areas globally, responses of coastal communities to environmental change in Southeast Asia and North America, marine planning initiatives in North America, the social side of fisheries management and issues related to global ocean politics and governance. Nathan has a PhD in Geography (UVic, 2013), an MS in Environmental Studies (Lakehead, 2009) and a Bachelor of Education (UVic, 2002). He is currently cross-appointment as a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Washington and a Liber Ero Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of British Columbia. He is also an affiliate of the Center for Ocean Solutions at Stanford, the OceanCanada Partnership, and the Community Conservation Research Network and serves as a senior advisor to the IUCN’s Global Economics and Social Science Program.


  • Liber Ero Postdoctoral Fellow, IRES, University of British Columbia
  • Banting Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, University of Washington
  • Affiliate Researcher, Center for Ocean Solutions, Stanford University

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Photo credit: Sameer Shah