Associate Vice President, Conservation Science and Climate Adaptation
National Advocacy Center - Washington, DC
Climate change is the defining conservation challenge of our time. Unfortunately, the impacts of global warming are not just in the distant future, but are with us here and now. As a result, it will be important not only to rapidly reduce our emissions of carbon into the atmosphere, which will reduce the long-term effects of warming, but also to prepare for and adjust to the inevitable warming that already is upon us and likely to get worse. I joined the National Wildlife Federation in the Fall of 2008 to do just that – focus on safeguarding wildlife from the impacts of climate change.
I began my professional career carrying out botanical explorations of the tropical rainforests of South America, and have spent the past 30 years using scientific data and knowledge as a tool for better protecting our most threatened species and ecosystems. As part of my work over the years with organizations such as The Nature Conservancy and NatureServe, I have witnessed and documented the threats to our wildlife and wild places from things such as rampant development, ecosystem degradation and the unchecked spread of invasive species. It is clear, though, that the effects of rapid climate change represent an unprecedented danger to our natural heritage, and attacking this peril requires a similarly unprecedented response.
As the National Wildlife Federation's Associate Vice President of Conservation Science and Climate Adaptation, I lead the organization's Climate Change Safeguards team, which focuses on better understanding the vulnerabilities of our species, ecosystems, and communities to the impacts of climate change, and developing innovative policies and management strategies to address those impacts. I also work closely with many governmental agencies and private organization’s to help advance the use of sound climate science in conservation and natural resource management. This includes work to develop adaptation guidance for agencies such as the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Department of Defense, and collaboration with efforts such as the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Climate Adaptation Fund. I currently serve as chair of the Department of Interior’s Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science, am a member of the Science Advisory Board of the Department of Defense Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, and a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Climate Change Specialist Group.
The National Wildlife Federation has emerged as a leader in the new field of climate change adaptation, and has been especially effective at bringing together members of the conservation community - including federal and state agencies, academics and other non-profits - to advance this new discipline. In 2011, NWF worked together with a number of partners to publish a ground-breaking guide to climate change vulnerability assessment. This guide, Scanning the Conservation Horizon, is now being used by federal and state agencies across the country to help begin the process of adapting to “the new normal.” Building on the success of that effort, NWF convened another expert workgroup to develop guidance on how to actually put adaptation principles into practice and in 2014 published the now widely used guide Climate-Smart Conservation. In recognition of our work helping the conservation community incorporate climate considerations into its work, in 2016 NWF was the recipient of the prestigious new National Climate Adaptation Leadership Award.
Addressing the impacts of climate change will entail making a number of difficult choices. We can make a difference, though, and NWF has an important role to play in helping safeguard the nation’s cherished plant and animal species.
- Small-Lorenz, S., Stein, B.A., Schrass, K., Holstein D.N., and Mehta, A. V. 2016. Natural Defenses in Action: Harnessing Nature to Protect Our Communities. Washington, DC: National Wildlife Federation.
- Beever, E. A., O’Leary, J., Mengelt, C., West, J. M., Julius, S., Green, N., Magness, D., Petes, L., Stein, B., Nicotra, A. B., Hellmann, J. J., Robertson, A. L., Staudinger, M. D., Rosenberg, A. A., Babij, E., Brennan, J., Schuurman, G. W., and Hofmann, G. E. 2016. Improving conservation outcomes with a new paradigm for understanding species’ fundamental and realized adaptive capacity. Conservation Letters 9: 131–137.
- Stein, B.A., P. Glick, N. Edelson, and A. Staudt (eds.). 2014. Climate-Smart Conservation: Putting Adaptation Principles into Practice. Washington, DC: National Wildlife Federation.
- Stein, B.A., A. Staudt, M.S. Cross, N.S. Dubois, C. Enquist, R. Griffis, L.J. Hansen, J.J. Hellmann, J.J. Lawler, E.J. Nelson, A. Pairis. 2013. Preparing for and managing change: climate adaptation for biodiversity and ecosystems. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11: 502-510.
- Stein, B. A. and M. R. Shaw. 2013. Biodiversity conservation for a climate-altered future. In S. Moser and M. Boykoff eds. Successful Adaptation: Linking Science and Practice in Managing Climate Change Impacts. New York: Rutledge Press.
- Stein, B. A., P. Glick, N. Edelson, and A. Staudt. 2013. Quick Guide to Climate-Smart Conservation. Washington DC: National Wildlife Federation.
- Stein, B. A. and A. Staudt (eds.). 2012. Adaptation to impacts of climate change on biodiversity, ecosystems, and ecosystem services. In: M. Staudinger, N. Grimm, A. Staudt, S. Carter, F. S. Chapin III, P. Kareiva, M. Ruckelshaus, B. A. Stein. Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity, Ecosystems, and Ecosystem Services: Technical Input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment. Cooperative report to the 2013 National Climate Assessment.
- Glick, P., B. A. Stein, and N. Edelson. 2011. Scanning the Conservation Horizon: A Guide To Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment. Washington, DC: National Wildlife Federation.
- Glick, P., H. Chmura, and B. A. Stein. 2011. Moving the Conservation Goalposts: A Review of Climate Change Literature. Washington, DC: National Wildlife Federation.
- Fleishman, E. et al. (incl. B. A. Stein). 2011. Top 40 priorities for science to inform U.S. conservation and management policy. BioScience 61: 290-300.
- Hoffman, M. et al. (incl. B. A. Stein). 2010. The impact of conservation on the status of the world’s vertebrates. Science 330: 1503-1509.
- Glick, P., A. Staudt, and B. Stein (2009), A New Era for Conservation: Review of Climate Change Adaptation Literature. Washington, DC: National Wildlife Federation.
- Stein, B. A. 2009. Bridging the gap: Incorporating science-based information into land use planning. In: R. Kihslinger and J. McElfish, eds. Nature-Friendly Land Use Practices at Multiple Scales, pp. 42-53. Washington, DC: ELI Press.
- Staudt, A., B. Stein, P. Glick, D. Inkley, and S. Malloch (2008), More Variable and Uncertain Water Supply: Global Warming’s Wake-Up Call for the Southeast United States. Washington, DC: National Wildlife Federation.
- Stein, B. A. and K. Gravuer. 2008. Hidden in Plain Sight: The Role of Plants in State Wildlife Action Plans. Arlington, VA: NatureServe.
- Stein, B. A. 2008. Biodiversity and the military mission. In: N. Benton, D. Ripley, and F. Powledge eds., Conserving Biodiversity on Military Lands: A Guide for Natural Resources Managers. Arlington, VA: NatureServe.
- Stein, B. A., C. Scott, and N. Benton. 2008. Federal lands and endangered species: The role of military and other federal lands for sustaining biodiversity. BioScience 58(2):339-347.
- Ewing, R., J. Kostyak, D. Chen, B. Stein, and M. Ernst. 2005. Endangered by Sprawl: How Runaway Development Threatens America’s Wildlife. Washington, DC: National Wildlife Federation, Smart Growth America, and NatureServe.
- Stein, B. A. and W. Wagner. 2005. Current plant extinctions: Chiaroscuro in shades of green. In: G. A. Krupnick and W. J. Kress, eds., Plant Conservation: A Natural History Approach, pp. 54-66. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- in, B. A., L. S. Kutner, and J. S. Adams, eds. 2000. Precious Heritage: The Status of Biodiversity in the United States. New York: Oxford University Press. [Note: [This is considered by many to be a seminal volume on US species and ecosystems and has been referred to by Dr. E.O. Wilson of Harvard as the “definitive text on US biodiversity.”