Jury citation for the 2020 Volvo Environment Prize laureate
"Underlying the immediate crises that humanity is facing in 2020 are deeper challenges, none more important than halting the global decline in biodiversity while feeding a growing human population and addressing climate change. Professor Claire Kremen is a world leader in research and action to reconcile food production with biodiversity conservation and the maintenance of other ecosystem services. Her diversified farming systems approach, guided by the need for a fundamental change in agricultural systems, has created a new direction for sustainable food production. Combining field studies with conceptual and empirical research, her systems-oriented approach is built on a bottom-up integration of pollinators, invertebrates and other oft-forgotten but critical components of resilient ecosystems to create a more diversified farming system.
Professor Kremen developed techniques that farmers can apply on their own land, and has provided scientific advice, outreach, and policy guidance to local, national and international NGOs, farmers, academic groups, government agencies, and policy organizations for the maintenance and restoration of pollinator and invertebrate communities in agricultural landscapes. She is also a conservation visionary whose research bridges the gap that too often divides science and real-world conservation practice. For example, Professor Kremen’s contributions to terrestrial and marine conservation in Madagascar have been outstanding, documenting biodiversity patterns across the country, helping to establish the Madagascar’s largest national park, and re-training professionals from extractive industries for key staff positions in forest stewardship.
In summary, her work on diversified farming systems and conservation has helped us to understand how the increasingly globalized food system affects biodiversity, sustainability and equity, and - most importantly - how to significantly improve this system so that we can feed ourselves while protecting biodiversity and mitigating climate change. Professor Claire Kremen is a most deserving recipient of the 2020 Volvo Environment Prize."
Claire Kremen is Professor, President's Excellence Chair In Biodiversity at UBC, the University of British Columbia, Canada. She is an ecologist and applied conservation biologist working on reconciling agricultural land use with biodiversity conservation.
Before coming to UBC, Kremen held faculty appointments first at Princeton University and the University of California, Berkeley, where she also co-founded the Center for Diversified Farming Systems and the Berkeley Food Institute. Before those appointments, she worked for over a decade for the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Xerces Society, designing protected area networks and conducting biodiversity research in Madagascar, a biodiversity hotspot.