Adina Merenlender

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Dr. Adina Merenlender, PhD, is a Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service Specialist at University of California, Berkeley in the Environmental Science, Policy, and Management Department, and is an internationally recognized Conservation biology known for land-use planning, Watershed management, landscape connectivity, and Natural history and stewardship training.

Early life and education

Merenlender was born in Seattle, WA and raised in west Los Angeles, CA.

Merenlender graduated from University of California, San Diego in 1985 with a BA in Biology, where she also received her MS from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in 1986. She was a visiting graduate student at Princeton University from 1990–1993, and she graduated from the University of Rochester in 1993 with a PhD in Biology.


After earning her PhD in Biology, Merenlender did her post-doctoral fellowship at the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University from 1993-1995, researching riparian plant and aquatic insect communities on Great Basin working lands under different livestock grazing regimes.[1] She started her career at UC Berkeley as Assistant Cooperative Extension Specialist and Adjunct Professor in 1995, at which time she moved to Mendocino County to conduct research at the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center, a 5,000-acre field station.

Upon arriving in California’s wine country, Merenlender conducted some of the first research in Vinecology,[2] the integration of ecological and viticultural practice to produce win-win solutions for wine production and nature conservation. The goal is a diverse landscape that yields sustainable economic benefits, species and habitat protection.[3] Merenlender continues to advance conservation in working landscapes to maintain biodiversity, provide goods and services for humanity, and support the abiotic conditions necessary for sustainability and resilience.[4][5][6] Her work across California’s North Coast vineyard landscape also includes watershed studies, revealing ways to avoid summer water withdrawals from streams to irrigate wine grapes, which is a necessary step to recovering California’s salmon runs.[7][8]

Merenlender led the earliest inquiries into the realized conservation benefits, or lack thereof, from conservation easements which spurred a large and still-growing body of scholarship on the topic.[9] She also provided some of the first evidence for the impacts of quiet recreation on meso-carnivores and sparked continued field research into recreation management to minimize these impacts.[10][11]

Merenlender started the California Naturalist Program, which to date has graduated over 4,000 certified California Naturalists. Building on the success of this program, Merenlender helped start the first public education and service program on climate stewardship, including writing Climate Stewardship: Taking Collective Action to Protect California with Brendan Buhler, which will be published by UC Press in 2021. The two programs provide collective impact on ecological health through community and citizen science.

In 2004, Merenlender was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Queensland Department of Zoology in Brisbane, Australia. She was also a Visiting Scholar at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City in 2008, and with the Cambridge Conservation Initiative through the University of Cambridge Zoology Department in 2019.

As president, Merenlender worked with the Governing Board and staff to reorganize the Society for Conservation Biology as a global network to preserve biodiversity.

Awards and honors

Published works

Merenlender has published over 100 scientific research articles focused on the underlying relationships between land use and biodiversity, and co-authored the only comprehensive book on wildlife corridor planning, titled Corridor Ecology: The science and practice of linking landscapes for biodiversity conservation,[12] with the first edition published in 2006 and the second in 2019. She also co-authored The California Naturalist Handbook,[13] published in 2013, as well as the forthcoming book, Climate Stewardship: Taking Collective Action to Protect California, due to be published spring 2021.

Selected Publications ELSEN, P.R., MONAHAN, W.B., DOUGHERTY, E.R., & MERENLENDER, A. 2020. Keeping pace with climate change in global terrestrial protected areas. Science Advances, 6. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aay0814

HILTY, J. A., KEELEY, A., LIDICKER, W. Z., & MERENLENDER, A. 2019. Corridor Ecology: Linking landscapes for biodiversity conservation and climate adaptation. Island Press.[14]

KREMEN, C. & MERENLENDER, A. 2018. Making landscapes that work for biodiversity and people in the Anthropocene. Science 362 304. DOI: 10.1126/science.aau6020[4]

KITZES, J. & MERENLENDER, A. 2013. Extinction risk and tradeoffs in reserve site selection for species of different body sizes. Conservation Letters, 6: 341–349. doi: 10.1111/conl.12015[15]

REED, S. E. & MERENLENDER, A. 2008. Quiet, Non-Consumptive Recreation Reduces Protected Area Effectiveness. Conservation Letters 1(3):146-154. DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2008.00019.x[10]

KONDOLF, G. M., ANDERSON, S., LAVE, R., PAGANO, L., MERENLENDER, A., & BERNHARDT, E.S. 2007. Two Decades of River Restoration in California: What Can We Learn? Restoration Ecology 15(3):516-523.[16]

NEWBURN, D., BERCK, P., & MERENLENDER, A. 2006. Habitat and Open Space At Risk of Land-Use Conversion: Targeting Strategies for Land Conservation. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 88(1):28-42.[17]

MERENLENDER, A., HUNTSINGER, L., GUTHEY, G., & FAIRFAX, S.K. 2004. Land trusts and conservation easements: Who is conserving what for whom? Conservation Biology 18(1):65-75. DOI:10.1111/J.1523-1739.2004.00401.X[9]


  1. Kennedy, Tom B.; Merenlender, Adina M.; Vinyard, Gary L. (2000). "A COMPARISON OF RIPARIAN CONDITION AND AQUATIC INVERTEBRATE COMMUNITY INDICES IN CENTRAL NEVADA". Western North American Naturalist. 60 (3): 255–272. ISSN 1527-0904.
  2. Viers, Joshua H.; Williams, John N.; Nicholas, Kimberly A.; Barbosa, Olga; Kotzé, Inge; Spence, Liz; Webb, Leanne B.; Merenlender, Adina; Reynolds, Mark (2013-03-15). "Vinecology: pairing wine with nature". Conservation Letters. 6 (5): 287–299. doi:10.1111/conl.12011. ISSN 1755-263X.
  3. Heaton, Emily; Merenlender, Adina M. (May 2000). "Modeling vineyard expansion, potential habitat fragmentation". California Agriculture. 54 (3): 12–19. doi:10.3733/ca.v054n03p12. ISSN 0008-0845.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Kremen, C.; Merenlender, A. M. (2018-10-18). "Landscapes that work for biodiversity and people". Science. 362 (6412): eaau6020. doi:10.1126/science.aau6020. ISSN 0036-8075.
  5. Muñoz‐Sáez, Andrés; Kitzes, Justin; Merenlender, Adina M. (2020-08-20). "Bird‐friendly wine country through diversified vineyards". Conservation Biology. doi:10.1111/cobi.13567. ISSN 0888-8892.
  6. Muñoz-Sáez, Andrés; Heaton, Emily E.; Reynolds, Mark; Merenlender, Adina M. (September 2020). "Agricultural adapters from the vineyard landscape impact native oak woodland birds". Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment. 300: 106960. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2020.106960. ISSN 0167-8809.
  7. Grantham, T. E.; Mezzatesta, M.; Newburn, D. A.; Merenlender, A. M. (2013-01-24). "EVALUATING TRADEOFFS BETWEEN ENVIRONMENTAL FLOW PROTECTIONS AND AGRICULTURAL WATER SECURITY". River Research and Applications. 30 (3): 315–328. doi:10.1002/rra.2637. ISSN 1535-1459.
  8. Grantham, Theodore E.; Newburn, David A.; McCarthy, Michael A.; Merenlender, Adina M. (May 2012). "The Role of Streamflow and Land Use in Limiting Oversummer Survival of Juvenile Steelhead in California Streams". Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 141 (3): 585–598. doi:10.1080/00028487.2012.683472. ISSN 0002-8487.
  9. 9.0 9.1 MERENLENDER, A. M.; HUNTSINGER, L.; GUTHEY, G.; FAIRFAX, S. K. (February 2004). "Land Trusts and Conservation Easements: Who Is Conserving What for Whom?". Conservation Biology. 18 (1): 65–76. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2004.00401.x. ISSN 0888-8892.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Reed, Sarah E.; Merenlender, Adina M. (2008-06-28). "Quiet, Nonconsumptive Recreation Reduces Protected Area Effectiveness". Conservation Letters. 1 (3): 146–154. doi:10.1111/j.1755-263x.2008.00019.x. ISSN 1755-263X.
  11. REED, SARAH E.; MERENLENDER, ADINA M. (2011-02-10). "Effects of Management of Domestic Dogs and Recreation on Carnivores in Protected Areas in Northern California". Conservation Biology. 25 (3): 504–513. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2010.01641.x. ISSN 0888-8892.
  12. "Corridor Ecology, Second Edition". Island Press. Retrieved 2021-02-16.
  13. The California Naturalist Handbook.
  14. Krogman, William (May 2020). "Corridor Ecology: Linking Landscapes for Biodiversity Conservation and Climate Adaptation (second edition). Jodi A. Hilty, Annika T. H. Keeley, William Z. Lidicker Jr., and Adina M. Merenlender. 2019. Island Press, Washington, D.C., USA. 350 pp. $40.00 paperback. ISBN: 9781610919517". The Journal of Wildlife Management. 84 (4): 829–829. doi:10.1002/jwmg.21836. ISSN 0022-541X.
  15. Kitzes, Justin; Merenlender, Adina (March 2013). "Extinction risk and tradeoffs in reserve site selection for species of different body sizes: Reserve design by species body size". Conservation Letters: n/a–n/a. doi:10.1111/conl.12015.
  16. Kondolf, G. M.; Anderson, S.; Lave, R.; Pagano, L.; Merenlender, A.; Bernhardt, E. S. (September 2007). "Two Decades of River Restoration in California: What Can We Learn?". Restoration Ecology. 15 (3): 516–523. doi:10.1111/j.1526-100x.2007.00247.x. ISSN 1061-2971.
  17. Newburn, David A.; Berck, Peter; Merenlender, Adina M. (February 2006). "Habitat and Open Space at Risk of Land‐Use Conversion: Targeting Strategies for Land Conservation". American Journal of Agricultural Economics. 88 (1): 28–42. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8276.2006.00837.x. ISSN 0002-9092.

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