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Are conservation organizations configured for effective adaptation to global change?

As the climate warms and other global changes progress, species move outside their historical ranges, new ecological communities form and ecosystems transition to new states. To cope, conservation organizations will need to adapt. But to what extent are conservation organizations configured in a way that positions them to adapt effectively and what steps can they take to enhance their adaptive capacity? Paul will examine these questions, discuss new resources to help conservation practitioners assess their adaptive capacity and explore new hypotheses about how the configuration of different organizations enables them to protect particular conservation targets and manage for particular biophysical changes that require coordinated management actions over different spatial and temporal scales.

Paul Armsworth is an Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His research examines how ecology and economics can be integrated to inform more effective conservation and natural resource management strategies. His research group collaborates closely with partners around the world drawn from public agencies, nonprofits and for profits as well as academics from a range of disciplines. Paul has authored over 90 peer reviewed publications and participated in a variety of national and international science panels.

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The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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