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  September 11, 2000

Renowned Tropical Ecologist To Launch
This Year's Environmental Lecture Series

Dan Janzen, one of the world's most respected tropical ecologists, will kick off the 1999-2000 Teale environmental lecture series on Sept. 22 with a presentation titled "Tropical Conservation Through BioDiversity Development: The Only Hope." The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 4 p.m. in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.

Janzen helped create the 323,600-acre Guanacaste Conservation Area in Costa Rica, a living laboratory of restoration biology, the purpose of which is to restore an entire ecosystem of dry tropical forest, along with adjacent ecosystems of rain forest, cloud forest and marine environments, in order to assure the survival of its biodiversity in the future.

Janzen, a MacArthur Fellow and the Thomas E. and Louise G. DiMaura Endowed Term Chair in Conservation Biology at the University of Pennsylvania, is well known for his ideas linking tree species diversity, tree spacing, and herbivore pressure in tropical forests, among other topics.

"Dan Janzen has played a pivotal role in the study and conservation of tropical organisms, as both researcher and activist," says Robin Chazdon, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. "His landmark publications on ecological interactions in tropical ecosystems have stimulated many other studies. And his work in broadening the area and the concept of Guanacaste National Park as a pioneering project in biocultural conservation has inspired similar conservation activities throughout the world."

He has championed the cause of biodiversity conservation, fund raising for land acquisition to extend protected areas of this region, large-scale restoration of tropical ecosystems, and large-scale, all-taxa, biodiversity inventory projects.

Since 1985 Janzen has been a technical advisor for Area de Conservacion Guanacaste surrounding Guanacaste National Park, where thousands of hectares of cattle pasture are regenerating back to tropical dry forests.

"If a large wildland is to survive today, it must be conserved by an ecosystem approach for sustainable use of biological diversity," says Janzen. "Conservation into perpetuity demands the abandonment of models in which society is fenced out and the wildland placed in passive institutional custody."

He says conserved wildland, such as the Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, "requires the same intensity of care and thinking as any highly successful agroscape or urban center."

Janzen also has worked to develop innovative ways to bring biodiversity education to the people who live and work in the Guanacaste Conservation Area, and was instrumental in developing the Costa Rican Institute of Biodiversity.

Janzen has researched the tropics for nearly 50 years and has written more than 360 articles and book chapters. Honors include the 1999 Award for Tropical Forest Restoration by the Society for Ecological Restoration and the 1997 Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences.

The Edwin Way Teale Lecture Series on Nature and the Environment, now in its fourth year, brings eminent scholars and scientists to UConn to address national and international issues relating to the environment.

This year's lectures are:

Oct. 11 - "Dividing the Waters: The Challenge of Sustaining People and Ecosystems in a New Era of Scarcity," by Sandra Postel, director of the Global Water Policy Project in Amherst, Mass. and visiting senior lecturer in environmental studies at Mount Holyoke College.

Nov. 2 - "Swampwalker's Journal: Reflections on 50 years of Turtles and Wetlands," by David Carroll.

February (date to be announced) - "Making Parks Work," by John Terborgh.

March 8 - "Tropical Forests: For Whom and For What?" by Jeffrey Vincent.

April 22 - "The Concept of the Intrinsic Value: Theoretical and Pragmatic Considerations," by J. Baird Callicott.

All lectures in the series are at 4 p.m. in the Dodd Center, except the April 22 lecture, which starts at 8 p.m.

Carol Davidge