Report to: Forests & Climate Change Senior Director, Forest Conservation
Job type: Full-time.
Location: Flexible in a country where WCS operates.
Direct reports: none
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a US non-profit, tax-exempt, private organization established in 1895 that saves wildlife and wild places by understanding critical issues, crafting science-based solutions, and taking conservation actions that benefit nature and humanity. With more than a century of experience, long-term commitments in dozens of landscapes, presence in more than 60 nations, and experience helping to establish over 150 protected areas across the globe, WCS has amassed the biological knowledge, cultural understanding and partnerships to ensure that vibrant, wild places and wildlife thrive alongside local communities. Working with local communities and organizations, that knowledge is applied to address species, habitat and ecosystem management issues critical to improving the quality of life of poor rural people whose livelihoods depend on the direct utilization of natural resources.
Conserving and restoring ecological integrity is a key theme across WCS’s global conservation program. The post described here will focus on high integrity forests and peatlands. We conduct a significant part of this work in the context of a multi-organization Forests for Life Partnership (FFL), and the new WCS cross-regional High Integrity Peatlands (HIP) initiative.
Our landscape programs span the world from boreal Canada to Melanesia, with a particular concentration in the three key tropical forest regions of Amazonia, Central Africa and Asia-Pacific. This landscape work is complemented by engagement in policy and finance mechanisms at national, regional and global level informed by the best available science. Examples of our work to mobilize the evidence, policy commitments and finance necessary to ensure a future for high-integrity forests and peatlands include:
To support the growth of this program, WCS seeks to hire an Ecological Integrity Research Specialist who can conduct innovative and technically strong analytical work regarding the ecological integrity of forests and peatlands.
The Ecological Integrity Research Specialist will support the Forests & Climate Change Program’s Senior Director for Forest Conservation and Director for Science in building our science program on high integrity forests and peatlands to maintain and expand WCS science leadership, in ways that inform and influence global policy, and implementation of solutions in the field.
This will include work with holistic metrics that describe overall integrity trends (such as the Forest Landscape Integrity Index), as well as more focused work on the relationship between integrity measures and specific ecosystem properties, such as carbon stocks and flows, biodiversity, or resilience. The Ecological Integrity Research Specialist will engage in the scientific debate around these concepts including through peer-reviewed publications, make key evidence available across the organization to inform relevant field programs, and support the work of WCS colleagues in relevant policy fora and conservation finance initiatives.
Workplans will be developed on an annual and semi-annual basis, linked to the broader strategy of the Forest and Climate Change team. Outputs will include contributions to internal and donor-facing documents, peer-reviewed publications, grey literature studies, and other external communications.
Examples of tasks related to this post that are already underway or anticipated to begin in the near future are listed below:
Ensuring timely annual updates of the Forest Landscape Integrity Index and supporting practical applications within WCS, by its FFL partners and within the wider scientific community.
Supporting the testing, application and refinement of other ecosystem integrity metrics, including those applicable across multiple ecosystem types.
Development of the framework and use cases for a WCS internal data platform which makes actionable data on ecological integrity trends available across our global programs.
Supporting use of integrity analytics at regional, country and site scales in the context of the innovative finance initiatives and of large-scale conservation programs in key regions,
This is a rapidly evolving field and the specialist will need to be flexible to respond to emerging priorities as they are identified by Forests & Climate Change program leadership. They will also be expected to contribute to the WCS agenda on the science and practice of conserving ecological integrity.
PhD in relevant scientific field.
In-depth expertise in technical topics closely relevant to the post.
Track record of peer-reviewed publications.
Inquiring, curious mind with a desire to understand underlying principles and processes and an aptitude for communicating complex information to colleagues.
Ability to collaborate with other scientists on joint analyses/publications.
Ability to work across multiple teams within WCS, including interacting with non-specialist staff and in cross-cultural contexts.
Willingness to travel periodically (scientific meetings, conferences, visiting field programs) –roughly 10% of time.
Excellent spoken and written English.
3+ years of of pre- or post-doctoral work experience, ideally including exposure to relevant policy processes, spatial planning and/or other aspects of practical field conservation.
Strong quantitative and geospatial skills, including coding/programming proficiency in work environments like R, Phyton and Google Earth Engine.
Familiarity with use of remote sensing data to examine ecosystem structure, carbon stocks, land cover change, human pressure etc.
Foreign language competency/fluency, particularly in at least one of French, Spanish, Portuguese and/or Indonesian.
Substantial experience in one or more tropical forest countries
WCS is an equal opportunity employer dedicated to hiring and supporting a diverse workforce. We are committed to cultivating an inclusive work environment and look for future team members who share that same value.
Please submit a CV, detailed cover letter describing specific experience in the skills listed above or other relevant skills not mentioned, and contact information for three references on or before June 16, 2023.