Research Associate & Lead Scientist
Stanford University, Department of Biology; Natural Capital Project
Heather Tallis is a Research Associate in the Department of Biology at Stanford University. She is also Lead Scientist of the Natural Capital Project, a new partnership among Stanford, The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund designed to align economic forces with conservation. She leads the development of a decision support tool, InVEST, that reveals the costs and benefits of land use decisions, in biophysical and economic terms. Heather also guides the application of InVEST by national, provincial and municipal governments, agricultural industry, water associations, and NGOs in China, Ecuador, Colombia, Tanzania and the United States.
With a background in biogeochemistry and ecology, Heather has led research in terrestrial and marine systems designed to improve best management practices. In the US, she has used coastal ecology research to inform oyster aquaculture production, biogeochemistry and trophic ecology to recommend sustainable timber management practices, and ecosystem ecology to advance conservation planning methods. Abroad, Heather’s work in traditional knowledge systems has helped secure indigenous property rights and curb rapid forest loss. She has also used isotope chemistry and estuarine ecology to suggest optimal hydropower management for revenue and environmental benefits.
Her current projects focus on developing ecosystem service metrics and a framework for including ecosystem services in permitting and mitigation for major industrial sectors. She is also examining ecosystem service management as a climate adaptation strategy and mapping and modeling the institutional connections between ecosystem services and beneficiaries.
She received an M.S. in chemical oceanography from the University of California at Santa Cruz, an M.S. in marine ecology from the University of Otago in New Zealand and a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Washington.
"Heather is co-editor of the book, Natural Capital: Theory and Practice of Mapping Ecosystem Services, released by Oxford University Press in 2011."