Conservation as if People Mattered

Speaker Biographies

  Dr. James Acheson, professor of anthropology and marine sciences at the University of Maine
Jim Acheson is an anthropologist whose specialty is economic anthropology. He has had a long term interest in the culture and social organization of Maine fishing communities, and the social science aspects of fisheries management. In recent years, much of Acheson's research has focused on using rational choice theory to understand the conditions under which people will constrain their own exploitive efforts in the common good and develop effective conservation institutions. Recently, he has devoted considerable time to understanding the social, cultural and economic factors underlying the development of legislation in the Maine Lobster Industry. The Maine lobster industry is very unusual in that catches have been very stable for more than half a century, and it is one in which fishermen have consistently supported effectively conservation legislation. Currently he is Principal Investigator of a project entitled "Case Studies in Co-Management" sponsored by Sea Grant which is studying the implementation of the Maine Lobster Zone Management Law, one of the first true co-management laws in the United States.  Acheson has aPh.D. in Social Anthropology from the University of Rochester.

 Robin Alden, Executive Director, Penobscot East Resource Center
Robin Alden is Executive Director of Penobscot East Resource Center, a community organization based in Stonington ME working to secure a future for fishing communities in eastern Maine through community-based marine stewardship. Alden was Maine Commissioner of Marine Resources from 1995 to 1997, responsible for Maine's marine and anadromous fishery management and enforcement and for aquaculture in the state. For twenty years she was publisher and editor of Commercial Fisheries News, a regional fishing trade newspaper that she founded in 1973 and later became publisher and editor of the company's new publication, Fish Farming News. She was instrumental in starting the annual Maine Fishermen's Forum in the mid-1970s and received the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment Visionary Award in 1997 and the Maine Initiatives Social Landscape Artist ward with her husband, Ted Ames in 2007. Alden has a B.A. in Economics from the University of Maine.

Dr. Xavier Basurto, Duke University and the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University
Trained as a marine biologist, Xavier Basurto gradually shifted to study the human processes surrounding biodiversity conservation. This disciplinary voyage has carried him from his native Mexico to North America, India, and Central America, forging close collaborations with Elinor Ostrom (at Indiana University) and Daniel Janzen in Costa Rica. He is currently Assistant Professor of Sustainability Science at the Duke Marine Lag of the Nichols School of the Environment at Duke University and Visiting Research Associate at the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University.

Jessica Brown, Senior Vice President for International Programs Quebec-Labrador Foundation/Atlantic Center for the Environment (QLF)
Jessica Brown works with the Quebec- Labrador Foundation/Atlantic Center for the Environment (QLF), a bi-national NGO working in rural areas of New England and eastern Canada, with international exchange programs in the Caribbean, Latin America, Central and Southeastern Europe, and the Middle East. As Senior Vice President for QLF's International Programs, she is responsible for capacity-building and peer-to-peer exchange activities on themes such as stewardship of cultural landscapes and private land conservation. A new QLF initiative focuses on fostering citizen participation in conservation in rural communities of Andean South America. Over the past decade she has worked closely with the US National Park Service's Conservation Study Institute on projects related to civic engagement and building partnerships for protected areas. Jessica chairs the Protected Landscapes Task Force, a global working group of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas. Recent publications include The Protected Landscape Approach: Linking Nature, Culture and Community, and the launch of a new series on Values of Protected Landscapes and Seascapes. She received an M.A. in International Development from Clark University, and a B.A. in Biology and Environmental Studies from Brown University. She lives in Newbury, Massachusetts with her family.

Randall Curtis, Senior Policy Advisor, International Government Relations, The Nature Conservancy
Randall Curtisis currently responsible for advising on the development and implementation of a strategy for building up The Nature Conservancy'sinternational infrastructure policy program. Until recently he was the Director of Multilateral and Bilateral Institutions working onbuilding relations with multilateral and bilateral institutions, including USAID and the GEF, resulting in increased funding for biodiversity conservation worldwide. He started with the Conservancy in 1987 as Director of the Costa Rica Country Program. Then as the Director for the Conservation Finance and Policy program in Latin America and the Caribbean, he was involved in arranging debt-for-nature swaps using commercial and bilateral debt and in establishing environmental trust funds to manage the proceeds from swaps and other sources. He has also helped TNC's international partners with carbon finance projects and watershed management tools such as water use fees and with private lands conservation tools such as easements and land trusts. Prior to joining the Conservancy, he worked on international market development for irrigation equipment, a rural credit program in Central America, a community land trust in Maine, and famine relief shipments to Africa. Fluent in Spanish and French, he is a graduate of Bowdoin College and the American Graduate School of International Management.

Anne Hayden, Principal, Resource Services
Anne Hayden is an independent consultant in Brunswick, Maine, specializing in analysis of natural resource and environmental issues.  She is currently working on an assessment of the potential impacts of climate change on Maine’s lobster fishery.  Anne has been an adjunct lecturer in Environmental Studies and Coastal Studies Scholar at Bowdoin.  She has a BA in American History and Literature from Harvard and an MS in Environmental Studies from Duke.

Martha Lyman, Community Forest Collaborative
Martha (Marcy) West Lyman is a partner in the Community Forest Collaborative, a partnership of the Trust for Public the Northern Forest Center and the Quebec-Labrador Foundation/Atlantic Center for the Environment. Marcy's thirty-year career in conservation has included work in natural resource policy at the state, regional and national level on issues related to forest policy, river management, acid rain and climate change. For the last ten years she has conducted research in, developed programs for and written about the field and practice of community-based natural resource management and community forestry. Marcy received her undergraduate degree from Radcliffe College/Harvard University, worked towards a Master's degree in botany/plant ecology at the University of Missouri/Columbia and received an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government/Harvard University.   She lives in Manchester, New Hampshire with her family.

Dr. Stan Stevens, Associate Professor of Geography, Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Stan Stevens is a cultural geographer whose work in cultural and political ecology focuses on Indigenous peoples, land use, conservation, and social justice issues in Nepal.  He has worked closely with Sherpa communities in and around Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park for more than twenty-five years on a series of collaborative research projects and advising Sherpa leaders on conservation programs and Indigenous rights issues.  Currently he is assisting Sherpa leaders in their efforts to gain respect and support for their conservation stewardship of the Mt. Everest region, including recognition of their community conserved areas.  He is the author of Claiming the High Ground: Sherpas, Subsistence, and Environmental Change in the Highest Himalaya and the editor and main contributor to Conservation Through Cultural Survival: Indigenous Peoples and Protected Areas.

Ashish Kothari, Environmental Studies Program Mellon Global Scholar
Ashish Kothari is the Environmental Studies Program's Mellon Global Scholar for the fall of 2008.   He is the College's second Global Mellon Scholar.  He will be teaching a course in Environmental Studies and Asian Studies titled Development and Conservation in India. Mr. Kothari is from Pune, India where he works with Kalpavriksh Environmental Action Group, a national NGO he helped found as a school student in 1979. Kalpavriksh ( focuses on the conflicts and complementarities between development and environment, as also between conservation and people's livelihoods. Mr. Kothari has served as the co-chair of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Theme on Indigenous/Local Communities, Equity, and Protected Areas ( He has been a member on the Steering Committees of both the World Commission on Protected Areas and the Commission on Environmental, Economic, and Social Policy (CEESP) of the IUCN. He has been on the Board of Greenpeace International and is currently Chair of the Board of Greenpeace India. He is also on the governing board of the Bombay Natural History Society. Mr. Kothari has also been involved with a number of people's movements against destructive development projects, including the anti-Narmada Dam movement, or those working for alternatives such as the Beej Bachao Andolan (Save the Seeds Movement). He has also served on numerous panels and committees for regional and national agencies in India.  He was a member of the panel that developed the National Wildlife Action Plan for India's Ministry of Environment and Forests. He was technical coordinator of India's National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan process. He has a graduate degree in Sociology from the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi and has taught at the Indian Institute of Public Administration. He has written or edited over 30 books and over 200 articles on topics ranging from the impact of development projects such as large scale dams to the role of community based conservation. He also has an interest in photography and his photographs have been published in several magazines, newspapers, and books.