Dr James Watson, CEED researcherAustralia has a stronger voice in conservation, with the election of CEED researcher Associate Professor James Watson as president of the Society for Conservation Biology.

Dr Watson, 37, principal research fellow from The University of Queensland’s School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, is the first Australian and youngest President-elect since the society was founded in 1985.

“The Society for Conservation Biology is the world’s most active conservation science organisation, with more than 10,000 members and a number of journals,” Dr Watson said.

“Its mission is to advance the science and practice of conserving Earth's biological diversity.

“My focus will be on engaging more young people from around the world in conservation activities, and reframing conservation science to be more solution-oriented.

“Thanks to current technology, students have a greater awareness of how the world’s iconic landscapes are changing and are exposed to more diverse perspectives on possible solutions, like the desire for social equity as well as ecological sustainability in areas threatened by commercial expansion.

“I’m keen to provide young people with opportunities that go beyond presenting a conference paper, to encourage involvement with policy and treaty development and the wider community, and opportunities to access mentoring from experienced members of the society.”

Dr Watson plans to establish more local student chapters of the SCB, such as the one thriving at UQ, which he helped establish in 2010.

He was the only Australian chosen from more than 800 international nominations to join the 25-person IPBES taskforce which will encourage scientists, policy makers and indigenous communities to share ecosystem knowledge and respond to the global biodiversity crisis....read more