Heather Tallis is
Global Managing Director, Lead Scientist for Strategy Innovation for The
Nature Conservancy. In this role, she leads a Strategy
Innovation Science Team that drives TNC science to unlock rapid,
large-scale change at the interface of the environment, society and the
economy. Tallis will explore new opportunities at the intersection of
conservation and human well-being and help to expand the impact of TNC
and conservation for both nature and people through new sector influence
and strategy development.
Tallis is a recognized scientific leader in bringing human well-being
considerations into conservation. Previously, Tallis served as the
first female acting chief scientist in the history of the Conservancy.
She directed the Human Dimensions Program, an initiative that
incorporates ecological, social and economic sciences so that human
well-being is integrated into conservation practice from the planning
Tallis has developed, planned and executed many
innovative research programs at the Conservancy, engaging with field
programs and driving organizational change. Her work on the ground is
aimed at better understanding and managing key connections between
nature and people, from pioneering new science for using watersheds as a
key part of water infrastructure for cities, to advancing both the
theory and practice of how nature’s benefits can be part of mitigating
development impacts. She is currently exploring new areas for
conservation, including the connection between nature views and
elementary school test scores, connections between time poverty and
conservation, and opportunities to address major public health issues
through conservation. Tallis co-led the re-design of the Conservancy’s
science-based approach to conservation, embedding key human well-being
considerations throughout the planning, implementation and evaluation
Prior to joining the Conservancy in 2013, Tallis was lead scientist at the Natural Capital Project,
where she led the development of a pioneering software application,
InVEST, that reveals the ecosystem services costs and benefits of land
and water use decisions.
Tallis has worked with governments,
corporations and non-governmental organizations to use science about
nature's benefits to inform a host of policy and planning decisions. She
has guided research with diverse stakeholders across the globe and
holds leadership and has held expert advisory roles with the World Bank and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences on
these topics. She has published widely in the scientific literature in
journals ranging from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences to Ecological Economics. Last year, she led a group of 240 authors in a comment in the journal Nature
calling for more inclusive and more diverse conservation—resulting in a
petition signed by thousands of scientists all over the world. This is
an area she continues to be dedicated to, hosting events and driving
research and programs towards shifting the face and focus of
Tallis holds a Ph.D. in zoology from the University
of Washington and Master’s degrees from the University of Otago and
University of California, Santa Cruz, where she is now adjunct faculty.
She is co-editor of the book Natural Capital: The Theory and Practice of Mapping Ecosystem Services, released by Oxford University Press in 2011.