Gretchen C. Daily, Ph.D.


Gretchen C. Daily, Ph.D.


Project Details

Societal Dependence on Natural Ecosystems

Daily used her Pew Fellowship to elevate public awareness of the value of ecosystems to society. To do this, she first launched a major effort to synthesize scientific understanding of ecosystem services. This first phase of the effort culminated with the publication of Nature's Services: Societal Dependence on Natural Ecosystems, an edited book that includes chapter contributions from 18 other Pew Fellows. This book, and the outreach activities associated with it, have catalyzed a tremendous amount of new and interdisciplinary research, and have spawned major international efforts to capture ecosystem service values in decision-making.

Daily's fellowship also advanced her research on the conservation value of human-dominated land in the tropics. Through this work, she supports and trains Latin American scientists.


Gretchen Daily is Bing Professor of Environmental Science in the Department of Biology; Senior Fellow in the Woods Institute for the Environment; and Director of the Center for Conservation Biology. She is also Chair of The Natural Capital Project, a partnership among The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund and Stanford University, whose goal is to align economic forces with conservation.

An ecologist by training, Daily's work spans scientific research, teaching, public education and working with leaders to advance practical approaches to environmental challenges. Daily's scientific research focuses is on biodiversity change; on the scope for harmonizing biodiversity conservation and agriculture; on quantifying the production and value of ecosystem services across landscapes; and on new policy and finance mechanisms for integrating the values of natural capital into major decisions. Her efforts span fundamental research and policy-oriented demonstration projects in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America and Oceania.

Daily works extensively with private landowners, economists, lawyers, business people and government agencies to incorporate environmental issues into business practice and public policy.

Daily received her B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Stanford University. Her recent honors include the 21st Century Scientist Award (2000), election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2003), the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (2005), and the American Philosophical Society (2008), The Sophie Prize (2008) and The International Cosmos Prize (2009). She serves on numerous boards, including the Beijer Institute for Ecological Economics (part of the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences) and The Nature Conservancy. She has published over 200 scientific and popular articles and her most recent book is The New Economy of Nature: The Quest to Make Conservation Profitable, with journalist Katherine Ellison.


International Cosmos Prize

2008 Sophie Prize



Ph.D., Stanford University
1992: Biological Sciences, California, USA

Masters of Science, Stanford University
1987: Biological Sciences, California, USA

Bachelor of Science, Stanford University
1986: Biological Sciences, California, USA


Stanford University
Senior Fellow, Institute for International Studies


The International Cosmos Prize
2009: Expo'90 Foundation

2008: Election to the American Philosophical Society

The Sophie Prize for environment and sustainable development
2008: The Sophie Foundation

2005: National Academy of Sciences

2005: Election to U.S. National Academy of Sciences

2003: American Academy of Arts and Scientists

David H. Smith Senior Scholar
2003: The Nature Conservancy

One of the 50 Most Important Women in Science
2002: Discover Magazine

21st Century Scientist Award

One of 20 Scientists to Watch
2000: Discover Magazine

1999: Aldo Leopold Leadership Program

The Century Club Member
1997: Newsweek Magazine

Marine Fellow
1994: Pew Fellows Program in Conservation and the Environment

Excellence in Science and Graduate Study
1992: Frances Lou Kallman Award

Best Paper Prize
1990: Environmental Conservation Annual Foundation

1988: The Nature Conservancy Center for Conservation Biology


  • Ellison, K. and G.C. Daily. 2003. Making conservation profitable. Conservation in Practice 4:13-19
  • Luck, G., G.C. Daily and P.R. Ehrlich. 2003. Population diversity and ecosystem services. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 18(7): 331-336
  • Luck, G., G.C. Daily and P.R. Ehrlich. 2003. Population diversity and ecosystem services. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 18(7): 331-336
  • Sanchez-Azofiefa, G.A. Daily, A.P. Pfaff and C. Busch. 2003. Integrity and isolation of Costa Rica's national parks and biological reserves: examining the dynamics of land cover change. Biological Conservation 109:123-135
  • Daily, G.C. and K. Ellison. 2002. The new economy of nature: the quest to make conservation profitable. Island Press, Washington, D.C.
  • Daily, G.C. and K. Ellison. 2002. The New Economy of Nature: The Quest to Make Conservation Profitable. Island Press/Shearwater Books (250 pp)
  • Hughes, J.B., G.C. Daily and P.R. Ehrlich. 2002. Agricultural policy can help preserve tropical forest birds in countryside habitats. Ecology Letter 5:121-129
  • Daily, G.C.. 2001. Ecological forecasts. Nature 411:245
  • Salzman, J., B. Thompson and G.C. Daily. 2001. Protecting ecosystem services: science, economics, and policy. Stanford Environmental Law Journal 20:309-332
  • Arrow, K., G.C. Daily, P. Dasgupta, S. Levin, K-G Maler, E. Maskin, D. Starrett, T. Sterner and T. Tietenberg. 2000. Managing ecosystem resources. Environmental Science and Technology 34:1401-1406
  • Daily, G.C. and B.A. Walker. 2000. Environmental sustainability: seeking the great transition. Nature 403:243-245
  • Daily, G.C., T. Soderqvist, S. aniyar, K. Arrow, P. Dasgupta, P. Ehrlich, C. Folke, A-M Jansson, B-O Jansson, N. Kautsky, S. Levin, J. Lubchenco, K-G Maler, D. Simpson, D. Starrett, D. Tilman and B. Walker. 2000. The value of nature and the nature of value. Science 289:395-396
  • Daily, G.C., P. Dasgupta, B. Bolin, P. Crosson, J. du Guerny, P.R. Ehrlich, C. Folke, A.M. Jansson, B-O Jansson, N. Kautsky, A. Kinzig, S. Levin, K-G Maler, P. Pinstrup-Andersen, D. Siniscalco and B. Walker. 1998. Food production, population growth, and the environment. Science 281:1291-1292
  • Daily G.C. (ed.). 1997. Nature's Services: Societal Dependence on Natural Ecosystems. Island Press (416 pp)
  • Hughes, J.B., G.C. Daily and P.R. Ehrlich. 1997. Population diversity: its extent and extinction. Science 278:689-692
  • Daily, G.C. and P.R. Ehrlich. 1996. Nocturnality and species survival. Proc. National Academy of Sciences USA 93:11709-11712
  • Daily G.C. 1995. Foreclosing the future. People and the Planet 4(4): 18-19
  • Daily G.C. 1995. Restoring value to the world's degraded lands. Science 269:350-354
  • Holl K.D., G.C.Daily and P.R. Ehrlich. 1995. Knowledge and perceptions in Costa Rica regarding environment, population, and biodiversity issues. Conservation Biology 9:1548-1558

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