Wendy Foden is a conservation biologist who focuses on providing scientifically robust and pragmatic support for biodiversity conservation in the face of climate change.
Wendy headed the IUCN Global Species Programme’s Climate Change Unit from 2007 to 2013, where she led development 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 where she initiated several atlasing and conservation assessment projects, founded a scholarship for research on threatened species conservation, and working with local and international NGOs. 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 chairs the IUCN SSC Climate Change Specialist Group and is leading development of the IUCN Guidelines for Assessing Species’ Vulnerability to Climate Change. She has a PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand, and recently completed a visiting fellowship at the University of Cambridge. She serves as a trustee of the Environment Africa Trust and on the committee of the Young Women Conservation Biologist group of the Society for Conservation Biology’s Africa Section. 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.