Gretchen C. Daily is Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, Director of the Tropical Research Program of the Center for Conservation Biology, and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for International Studies at Stanford University.
An ecologist by training, Dr. Daily works to develop a scientific basis—and political and institutional support—for managing Earth’s life support systems. Her efforts span basic science, environmental policy analysis, teaching, and public education.
Upon receiving her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Stanford University in 1992, Dr. Daily was granted the Frances Lou Kallman Award for Excellence in Science and Graduate Study; and in 1994, she was then named a Pew Fellow in Conservation and the Environment. She became a fellow of the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program in 1999; and, a recipient of the 21st Century Scientist Award in 2000. In 2003, was named a Smith Senior Scholar of the Nature Conservancy, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In 2008, she received the Sophie Prize. The Sophie Foundation recognized Daily for her leadership in ". . . the debate on sustainable development and conservation of biological diversity. As a scientist she has shown that there are different ways to put a value on nature. She has shown us that there are also economical arguments for conserving species and eco-systems and demonstrated how this dimension can be included in political decisions. She is an outstanding scientist with a personal strength that has contributed new depth to the eco-system thinking/approach."
Dr. Daily has published over 125 scientific and popular articles. Her most recent book is The New Economy of Nature: The Quest to Make Conservation Profitable, coauthored with journalist Katherine Ellison (2002, Island Press). Her other books are Nature’s Services: Societal Dependence on Natural Ecosystems (Daily, G, Ed., 1997, Island Press) and The Stork and the Plow: The Equity Solution to the Human Dilemma (Ehrlich, P, A Ehrlich, and G Daily, 1995, Putnam Press). She has served on the board of editors for Ecological Applications, Ecological Economics, Ecosystems, and the Encyclopedia of Biodiversity.
Dr. Daily’s primary scientific efforts concern the future course of extinction, the resulting changes in the delivery of ecosystem services, and novel opportunities for biodiversity conservation. She is developing Countryside Biogeography, a framework for forecasting changes in biodiversity, supported by field research, remote sensing, and theoretical modeling. Also, Dr. Daily is investigating Ecosystem Services, assessing their dependence on biodiversity, their susceptibility to human impacts, and priorities for their conservation. Finally, Dr. Daily is developing an interdisciplinary framework in Conservation Finance, for assessing the scope and efficacy of diverse institutional mechanisms that aim to align economic incentives with conservation.
Through university teaching, public speaking, and communication through the media, Dr. Daily conveys the importance and relevance of environmental science to diverse audiences. She continues to work extensively with economists, lawyers, business people, and government agencies to incorporate environmental issues into business practice and government policy.