Wendy’s goal is to improve the effectiveness of biodiversity conservation in the face of climate change. She is an Associate Professor at the University of Stellenbosch, and chairs the IUCN SSC Climate Change Specialist Group. Wendy recently led development of the IUCN SSC Guidelines for Assessing Species’ Vulnerability to Climate Change, and spearheaded IUCN’s trait-based approach to assessing species’ vulnerability to climate change. She currently coordinates the African component of the Species Spatial Planning for Protected Areas in Response to Climate Change (SPARC) project and lectures in Conservation Leadership.
Wendy initiated and led the IUCN Global Species Programme’s Climate Change Unit, Cambridge (2007-2013), where she developed of IUCN’s biological trait-based approach to assessing species’ vulnerability to climate change. This included its subsequent application to the world’s birds, amphibians, corals, and a range of other West African, Albertine Rift and Madagascan species. A native of South Africa, her previous roles included managing the South African National Biodiversity Institute’s Threatened Species Programme (2003-2007) where she initiated several Red Listing, atlasing and monitoring projects, and founded a scholarship for research on threatened species conservation. Prior to that, as a researcher in SANBI’s Climate Change and Biodiversity Group, Wendy studied Namib Desert Quiver Trees and documented some of the first evidence of climate change impacts in arid ecosystems and on plants.
Wendy has a PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand South Africa, and spent time as a visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge. She teaches on Conservation Leadership at the University of Cape Town and supervises a variety of students. Wendy’s main research areas include climate change vulnerability assessment, adaptation planning, biodiversity monitoring and indicators, African conservation and systems ecology. She has a specific interest in translating science for practical conservation use, and in fostering conservation leadership. Wendy has a great love for wild and remote places, where she can frequently (not) be found.