Wayne Spencer, Ph.D.

Chief Scientist | Head of Science Leadership Team

Dr. Spencer is a wildlife conservation biologist with over 35 years of professional experience in biological research and conservation planning. He specializes in the practical application of science to resources management, design and management of nature reserves, and recovery of endangered species. He has conducted numerous studies on rare and sensitive mammals, with particular focus on forest carnivores (martens and fishers) and endangered rodents (Pacific pocket mouse and Stephens’ kangaroo rat). Dr. Spencer has prepared habitat conservation plans (HCPs), habitat management plans (HMPs), and natural community conservation plans (NCCPs) for numerous sensitive species in California, including the first NCCP plan ever permitted (Poway Subarea NCCP/HCP). He also uses ecological expertise to guide large-scale efforts to conserve ecological connectivity and wildlife movement (such as the South Coast Missing Linkages Project and the California Essential Habitat Connectivity Project) as well as to restore and sustain resilient forest conditions in the face of changing climate and wildfire regimes (such as the Sierra Nevada Forest Resilience Initiative). Because he combines ecological research with real-world conservation planning experience, Dr. Spencer is often asked to lead science advisory processes for regional conservation and recovery plans, such as the California Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta Conservation Plan. He currently leads large teams working to conserve the endangered distinct population of fishers in the Sierra Nevada and the endangered Stephens’ kangaroo rat in southern California.


Conservation of Tejon Ranch
CBI contributes to assessment, planning, and implementing a landscape reserve
Biodiversity Hotspot, S. Orange County
Global and regional ecological significance
"Missing Middle" of a Wildlife Corridor
The mid-section of the Puente-Chino Hills Wildlife Corridor

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Good News for Stephens' kangaroo rat
The US Fish and Wildlife Service recently reclassified the Stephens’ kangaroo rat (Dipodomys stephensi, or SKR) from the direst classification under the Endangered Species Act of Endangered to the lesser category of Threatened. Although one might think that an organization called the Conservation Biology Institute (CBI) might lament such a decision or charge that it is political, our kangaroo rat expert and Chief Scientist, Dr. Wayne ...

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