Wayne Spencer, Ph.D.

Chief Scientist Emeritus

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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.