Paul Robbins talk & visit

Thursday, October 29, 2015 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm

As era of wildlife “enclosures” draws to a close and the frontiers of conservation begin to extend into wholly humanized landscapes, basic questions arise about the survival of people and other species. Are the Anthropocene landscapes of a quickly-changing planet amenable to the mission of Conservation Biology? Can chaotic, semi-humanized environments be coaxed to protect rare endemic species? When and under what political and economic conditions? Can well-being be assured for wildlife, owners, and workers? The research described here seeks to answer these questions by investigating biodiversity, plantation export economics, and labor dynamics in the booming commodity production landscapes of coffee, rubber, and arecanut in southern India.  The conclusion: wild species are thriving in places that are not wilderness at all, but their fates are intertwined with that condition and aspirations of the rural working poor.    
Paul Robbins is Professor and Director, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madson. His research addresses questions spanning conservation conflicts, urban ecology, and environment and health interactions. He has done extensive fieldwork in rural India, where he has focused his work on the politics surrounding forestry and wildlife conservation in Rajasthan, India, as well as recent research examining the wealth of biodiversity (frogs, birds and mammals) in commercial coffee and rubber plantations throughout south India. Robbins has also led national studies of consumer chemical risk behaviors in America, including research on the abiding passion of Americans for their lawns and mosquito management policies in the Southwest. Robbins holds a master's degree and doctorate in geography, both from Clark University. He was raised in Denver, Colorado.