The trouble with nature

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Online seminar followed by Q&A – all welcome. NB – all times given in UK time.

The fabric of life on Earth is unravelling, and this decade will be crucial in exacerbating this trajectory or bending it. Professor Sandra Diaz will explore three major factors that have contributed to the present situation: the multidimensional nature of biodiversity, teleconnected socio-economic drivers, and the prevalent social narratives linking humans with the rest of life on Earth. She will also discuss how they can be harnessed in the quest for better futures.

Sandra Díaz is interested in plant functional traits and general patterns of functional specialization, their effects on ecosystem properties and their interactions with global change drivers. She constructed the first global quantitative picture of essential functional diversity of vascular plants – the global spectrum of plant form and function – providing a backdrop for evolutionary, ecological and biogeochemical modelling studies and co-founded the world’s first and largest communal dataset of plant traits TRY. She has advanced theory and practical implementation of the concept of functional diversity and its effects on ecosystem properties and benefits. She combines her plant ecology studies with interdisciplinary work on how different societies value and reconfigure biological communities and ecosystems.

Sandra’s permanent position is as Professor of Ecology at Córdoba National University, and as senior member of the National Research Council of Argentina. She founded Núcleo DiverSus on Diversity and Sustainability. She co-chaired the Global Assessment of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and spearheaded the pluralistic conceptual framework IPBES Assessments, including the notion of nature’s contributions to people. In 2019 she was elected Foreign Member of the Royal Society.