Conservation Conversation


This issue we focus on JNCC's Director of Evidence and Advice, Paul Rose. The role involves overseeing all of JNCC’s international, European and evidence related work. Paul has been part of the UK delegation to meetings of the Convention on Biological Diversity since the 4th meeting of the parties in Bratislava in 1998 and has led on JNCC’s work to support the UK Biodiversity Action Plan since 1997. Prior to working for JNCC, Paul worked for Wetlands International, the RSPB, the British Trust for Ornithology and the Open University.


Q. Species that inspired you as a child?

A. I am afraid the boring predictable answer - birds! But I was always interested in other things, plants, butterflies, moths, fungi, etc as well.


Q. What are your main concerns for the natural world?

A. Very few people, and even fewer influential people, understand how critical the natural world is to the lifestyle they desire. It is really important to reconnect people with nature. The developed world's lack of knowledge of the natural processes on which it depends would be regarded by many undeveloped communities as astonishingly ignorant.


Q. What do you do away from the office?

A. Lots of DIY, running, gardening. I gave up classic car restoration 25 years ago but seem to spend a very large amount of my time at the moment on my son's Triumph Spitfire!


Q. What is your favourite place?

A. I truly value diversity so I like many places. My favourite is certainly somewhere in the UK, maybe the West Kyle of Bute - sea lochs, uplands, forest  and traditional lifestyles all tightly interwoven in a stunningly beautiful landscape. But if you ask me next year it might have changed.


Q. Who is your human hero in the natural world?

A. I've never thought about it. Looking after the natural world is such an important and complex issue that I don't believe any single view will ever deliver substantial benefits. We need powerful partnerships that include the big global development businesses and trade organisations. This has yet to be achieved so my hero hasn't materialised yet.


Q. If you could dine with any four guests who would they be?

A.  Aristotle - just imagine trying to classify living things in the fourth century! Charles Darwin for obvious reasons. The scientist Eric Charnov. So much of what we do is about finding the right balance and Charnov's optimality theory taught me to think in this way. David Cameron because if I could be the first person to really understand Big Society, JNCC could be on to a good thing.


Q. Desert Island Disc?

A. I've never bought any music of any kind. The washing of the waves, cicadas, the fluid calls of shorebirds and tree frogs are all that I require in the way of noise.


Q. What would you like to achieve in your new role?

A. A secure future for JNCC that still provides rewarding employment for its staff and benefits to the natural environment. I know this is what you would expect me to say but it's true.


Q. If you could choose another job or career, what would it be?

A. No idea. I decided to be a 'Naturalist' at eight years old and I have never considered anything else. I detoured slightly into a university research role on the way and soon turned back so I can't imagine doing anything else.


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