Dr. Justina Ray is Executive Director and Senior Scientist of Wildlife Conservation Society Canada. In addition to overseeing the operations of WCS Canada, Justina is involved in research and policy activities associated with conservation planning in northern Canadian landscapes, with a particular focus on caribou and wolverine.
The questions that drive her research are rooted in evaluating the role of shifting landscapes in biodiversity decline and/or change in forested ecosystems. These issues include quantifying the impacts of development activities on biodiversity and surveying and monitoring species of conservation concern.
Justina has been appointed to numerous government-led science advisory panels in Canada on endangered species listing, recovery of species at risk (including caribou), and land use planning.
Justina has authored or co-authored more than 40 book chapter, journal, or popular articles, and has published three books, including Caribou and the North: A Shared Future (Dundurn Press, 2008).
She is Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto (Faculty of Forestry) and Trent University (Biology Department), and Research Associate at the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation Biology at the Royal Ontario Museum.
While climate change is generally the top environmental issue preoccupying most Canadians these days, the gradual loss of biodiversity is a matter with important growing consequences to our well-being and that of our planet. In an introduction to the theme of this year’s Muskoka Summit on the Environment, Justina Ray will provide an overview of the nature and scope of this problem and the emerging scientific consensus regarding the links between the degrading status of biodiversity and the health of the world’s ecosystems. This will be followed by an exploration of the role of science in both improving our understanding of the issue and informing public policy responses that seek to balance the urgency of the problem with socio-economic considerations.