Reed Noss

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Reed Noss (born 1952) is a conservation biologist, writer, photographer, and professor emeritus at the University of Central Florida.


  • Science, as traditionally defined, is fundamental to conservation biology but does no good if isolated from "softer" issues such as ethics, sociology, and political strategy. Indeed, there is nothing more dangerous than science in an ethical vacuum.
  • ... We cannot get big grants to do field work anymore. ... Will the next generation of conservation biologists be nothing but a bunch of computer nerds with no firsthand knowledge of natural history? ... The naturalists are dying off and have few heirs.
  • Many university departments—especially the traditional resource disciplines such as fisheries, wildlife, range management, and forestry—are closely tied to industry or hook‐and‐bullet recreation and treat conservation biology with anxiety or disdain.
  • Among the common changes in forests over the past two centuries are loss of old forests, simplification of forest structure, decreasing size of forest patches, increasing isolation of patches, disruption of natural fire regimes, and increased road building, all of which have had negative effects on native biodiversity.
  • No thoughtful persons could stand beneath one of these immense trees, gaze up into its canopy, and help but think that here is a remarkable organism—so much more than all the board-feet of lumber that men might cleave from it.
    • (2000)"More than big trees". The redwood forest: History, ecology, and conservation of the coast redwoods. pp. 1–6.  (quote from p. 1)
  • Nature no longer entertains us when conserving it becomes inconvenient.
  • The main lesson that emerges from this volume is that sea level rise, combined with human population growth, urban development in coastal areas, and landscape fragmentation, poses an enormous threat to human and natural well-being in Florida. How Floridians respond to sea level rise will offer lessons, for better or worse, for other low-lying regions worldwide.

Forgotten Grasslands of the South: Natural History and Conservation (2012)

  • Endless fascination with nature—nothing more and nothing less—is the key to enlisting people in the fight to save biodiversity.
  • A few human generations ago, grasslands were abundant across much of the South; today there are rare. Driving through the region today, one mostly sees agricultural fields, pine plantations, dense and mostly young hardwood forests and swamps, and, increasingly, urban sprawl.
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