Many clients designing strategies, programs, and projects in complex ecological and social situations have used my services to assess or analyze needs, opportunities, and challenges in an objective way. This information feeds into the strategic planning and program design process, refining thinking about theories of change, development hypotheses, results chains, results frameworks, and performance indicators. In essence, these are a type of rapid, interdisciplinary applied research. Clear communication of the findings in language that is understandable to the end users of the information is essential, and often requires bridging the communication gap between scientists and non-scientists, and scientists and policy-makers.
I have extensive experience with a standard kind of analysis required by the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act – Tropical Forests and Biodiversity (FAA 118-119) Analyses – which are a mandatory input for the USAID country strategy development process. I have led more than a dozen of these analyses, including:
- Jordan Biodiversity Analysis, 2019
- Ukraine Biodiversity Analysis, 2017
- Guatemala Tropical Forest and Biodiversity Assessment, 2016
- Rwanda Environmental Threats and Opportunities Assessment, 2014
- Mozambique Environmental Threats and Opportunities Assessment, 2013
- Bolivia Tropical Forestry and Biodiversity Assessment, 2008
The UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme coordinates an international network of biosphere reserves, laboratories for understanding how humans affect ecosystems and models for how we can heal the human-nature relationship. I have worked in 34 biosphere reserves in 17 countries, and in the fall of 2018 researched and wrote a book of essays about the Cascade Head Biosphere Reserve in Oregon, The View from Cascade Head: Lessons for the Biosphere from the Oregon Coast, to be published by Oregon State University Press in 2020. Examples of my work on biosphere reserves can be found at:
- “Cascade Head, Oregon’s Biosphere Reserve: A Laboratory for Exploring the Relationship of People and Nature,” seminar presentation at the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center, Newport, OR, December 6, 2018
- Cascade Head Biosphere Reserve, Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, December 10, 2018
- La Reserva de la Biosfera Mariposa Monarca y el papel del comportamiento de la gente en su conservación. A report for WWF-México, Programa Mariposa Monarca, April 2004.
Ecosystem services are a topic of special interest and expertise at Bruce Byers Consulting. Ecosystem services are one of three general types of benefits that biodiversity provides to humans, the others being ecosystem products and non-material benefits. Interest in ecosystem services is growing rapidly, but a lack of conceptual clarity about the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem services is common. My work on conserving ecosystem services seeks to clarify definitions and identify mechanisms for conserving these invaluable aspects of our planet’s life support systems.
- Strengthening the Information Base of Natural Habitats, Biodiversity and Environmental Services in the Shire Basin. LTS International, January 2016.
- Ecosystem Services: What Do We Know and Where Should We Go? 2008
- Defining Ecosystems Services Presentation English Version, 2007
- Defining Ecosystem Services Presentation Spanish Version, 2007
Ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation are another focus of my work. As extreme meteorological events and climate risks increase on our warming planet, working with nature rather than against it is the only way to increase societal and ecological resilience. For examples of my work on ecosystem-based adaptation, see:
- USAID Mozambique Coastal City Adaptation Project (CCAP) Midterm Evaluation, January 2017
- Assessing the Relationship of Climate Change, Forests, and Ecohydrology in Honduras Presentation to ACES 2014 Conference Washington, D.C., December 11, 2014
- Vulnerability and Resilience to Climate Change in Southern Honduras, 2013
- Integrating Climate Change Adaptation into Biodiversity and Forestry Assessments and Programming. Background paper for USAID ARCC Project, June 2013