Seeing the Forest AND the Trees

methow…from the Methow Valley News… an interview with Peter Morrison, founder of the nonprofit Pacific Biodiversity Institute.

“We’ve focused on integrating landscape-level view and analysis with field-based studies. We actually use mobile GIS – where we can bring up the same kind of information we have on the computer screen in the field. When you’re on the ground, it’s hard to see the forest for the trees – you see the details. More and more, in conservation biology and ecology, people are trying to step back more and see the big picture, too. It’s gotten almost as though too many people are just looking at it from space and don’t have that field-based experience. A lot of stuff done now is off in the theoretical realm, just looking at the data on computers.”

“Through computer analysis, are you looking to see if you find what you expect, in terms of wildlife and habitat?”

“Yes, and to look at things like landscape fragmentation and connectivity, because almost all of our species and ecosystems really depend on being connected with something. They don’t just exist in a vacuum. That’s one of the biggest challenges that a lot of the species and plants face, that their habitat has been fragmented so much by human development and activity that they can’t move around.”