Dr. Howard Nelson

Conserving biodiversity beyond protected areas - valuing indigenous landscape solutions.


H Nelson with St Vincent Forestry Division, St Vincent - E Devenish-Nelson

H Nelson with St Vincent Forestry Division, St Vincent - E Devenish-Nelson




Howard P. Nelson earned his BSc. and MPhil. in Zoology at the University of the West Indies – St Augustine, and a dual PhD in Wildlife Ecology and Forestry from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Howard is a Senior Lecturer in Conservation Biology and Programme Leader for the Master’s in Wildlife Conservation at the University of Chester, in the United Kingdom. He was CEO of the Asa Wright Nature Centre in Trinidad, and worked as a policy specialist on wildlife, forests and protected areas for Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of the Environment. Dr. Nelson currently serves as a member of the Darwin Expert Committee of the UK government’s Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and on the boards of the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), and BirdsCaribbean. He and his students work on diverse conservation questions in the Caribbean including genetics of Grenada dove, abundance and distribution of Trinidadian cetaceans, climate-change impacts on dry forests and sustainable hunting. Howard has worked in the Caribbean for almost 30 years, including as a consultant for the FAO and UNDP, and his specialities include wildlife, forest and protected areas policy, planning and management, sustainable wildlife use, endangered species conservation, ecotourism and conservation training.



Presentation abstract

Howard P. Nelson, University of Chester, UK. Conserving biodiversity beyond protected areas - valuing indigenous landscape solutions


Protected natural areas (PNAs) remain the cornerstone of biodiversity protection frameworks globally. As 2020 approaches, the Aichi targets for PNAs loom large. Yet, even if we exceed these PNA targets, at least 90% of marine and 83% of terrestrial areas will remain unprotected worldwide. These areas outside PNAs can and do host important biodiversity elements and are critical to maintaining ecological processes and services. They are also central to ensuring ecological resiliency in the face of global environmental change. However, the challenge remains integrating such areas into whole-landscape approaches to biodiversity conservation. Are there lessons that we can learn from local, autochthonous informal efforts to manage biodiversity? Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) not only hosts tremendous biological diversity, but a diversity of social, economic and political circumstances that provides a rich laboratory of non-formal PNA and landscape management experimentation. Learning from such local experiments has the potential to provide new insight into a future for biodiversity beyond PNAs. In this talk, I share my experiences and insights of the opportunities and challenges in leveraging these local solutions in the LAC context.