Phoebe Barnard

Affiliate Professor

Phoebe Barnard

B.Sc. (Hons), Biology, Acadia University 1983
M.Sc. (distinction), Zoology, University of the Witwatersrand 1990
Ph.D., Animal Ecology, Uppsala University 1994

Phone: (360)914-2307 (cell)

FitzPatrick Institute


I’m an environmental and societal futures analyst and sustainability strategist, global change ecologist, biodiversity conservation biologist, climate risk and resilience specialist, policy wonk and film coproducer – Chief executive officer at the Stable Planet Alliance, and affiliate prof at UW Bothell and UW Seattle. I work at the intersection of science, society, sustainability, policy, planning and media storytelling.


Teaching is one of life’s greatest passions for me. I’ve taught mainly masters students in both classroom and remote African field settings about environmental futures, conservation biology and climate change, natural history, bird ringing, ecology and evolutionary biology, global and national public policy, environmental leadership, and science communications around biodiversity and climate change. 


I’ve worked on diverse sustainability and biodiversity issues, large and small — from ecoregional and national biodiversity and climate change strategic planning, policy and implementation, and the global status and trends of ecosystems and their ability to support human health, livelihoods and wellbeing (in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment), to ecological vulnerability and adaptation of endemic birds of the fynbos biome. I was previously lead scientist of the South African National Biodiversity Institute’s Climate Change Bioadaptation Division and founding head of its Biodiversity Futures Program, co-leading an international and interdisciplinary global change ecology team of postdocs, PhD and MSc students, and coworkers from the universities of Durham, Cambridge University/ RSPB, Cape Town, Stellenbosch, KwaZulu-Natal, Cape Peninsula Technology, and Queensland. Our work has shed light on patterns of biodiversity and endemism, past, present and future in southern Africa, and on endemics’ vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in fragmented, fire-prone landscapes.

Selected Publications

  • Barnard P. 2023. Earth at the crossroadsThe Ecological Citizen 6(2): epub-086-epub-088.
  • Barnard P. 2022. How investments in the Earth’s future should be made by Patagonia and others. Letter to The Guardian, 23 Sept 2022.
  • Barnard P. 2022. The box and the crossroads. Imagine Magazine, online (by invitation), 18 June 2022:
  • Barnard P, Dillard C. 2022. Access to family planning takes on new urgency in a post-Roe, hotter world. Ms Magazine, News & Opinion (Global), 10 July 2022.
  • Barnard P, Moomaw WR, Fioramonti L, Laurance WF, Mahmoud MI, O’Sullivan J, Rapley CG, Rees WE, Rhodes CJ, Ripple WJ, Semiletov IP, Talberth J, Tucker C, Wysham D, Ziervogel G. 2021. World scientists’ warnings into action, local to global. Science Progress, 11 Nov 2021. Read and sign the paper and see summary in 15 world languages + author info at
  • Barnard P, Moomaw W. 2021. Six areas where action must focus to rescue this planet. The Conversation, 12 November 2021.
  • Barnard P. 2021 (blog). Climate change preparedness: how do we get from here to there? drawn from unpublished manuscript: Ziervogel G, Barnard P, Chapman A, Holloway A & Small J. Incorporating climate change preparedness into municipal and provincial planning.  Lessons learned from two climate planning workshop series held in Western Cape, South Africa.
  • Ripple WJ, Wolf C, Newsome TM, Barnard P, Moomaw WR. 2021.  The climate emergency: 2020 in review.  Scientific American, 7 Jan 2021.
  • Coetzee A, Barnard P, Pauw A. 2021. Reliability and quality of artificial nectar feeders for birds in the Cape Floristic RegionOstrich 2021:1-6. 
  • Lee, A.T.K., Barnard, P., Fraser, M., Lennard, C., Smit, B. and Oschadleus, H.D. 2020. Body mass and condition of a fynbos bird community: investigating impacts of time, weather and raptor abundance from long-term citizen- science datasetsOstrich 91(2): 142-157. IF: 0.628
  • Ripple, W.J., Wolf, C., Newsome, T.M, Barnard, P., Moomaw, W.R., Law, B.E., Maas, B. 2020. The climate emergency, forests, and transformative changeBioScience 70(6): 446-447.      
  • Ripple, W.J., Wolf, C., Newsome,T.M., Barnard, P., Moomaw, W.R. (and 13,766 scientist signatories from 156 countries). 2020. World scientists’ warning of a climate emergencyBioScience 70:8-12.
  • Barnard P. 2019. Tracking species in space and time: citizen science in Africa. Pp. 570-572 in: Wilson J & Primack, RB (eds). Conservation Biology in Sub-Saharan AfricaSinauer Associates. Published online 9 September 2019.
  • Osinubi, S.T., Dalton, D., Barnard, P. and Ryan, P. 2018. A tale of three kings: study of the intra-African migration of the woodland kingfisher. Poster paper, International Ornithological Congress, Vancouver, Canada, August 2018.
  • Coetzee, A., Barnard, P. and Pauw, A. 2018. Urban nectarivorous bird communities in Cape Town, South Africa, are structured by ecological generalization and resource distributionJournal of Avian Biology.
  • Coetzee, A. and Barnard, P. 2018. Nectar quandary: surviving the suburbs.  African Birdlife: July/August 2018: 70-72. 
  • Barnard, P.  2017. Climate change, biodiversity early warning systems, and Africa’s futureAfrica Conservation Telegraph 12 (1). Published January 2017.
  • Barnard, P., Altwegg, R., Ebrahim, I. and Underhill, L.G.  2017.  Early warning systems for biodiversity in southern Africa – how much can citizen science mitigate imperfect data?  Biological Conservation 208:183-188. (published online 27 Sept 2016).
  • Chambers, L.E., Barnard, P.,  Poloczanska, E.S., Hobday, A.J., Keatley, M.R., Allsopp, N and Underhill, L.G. 2017. Southern hemisphere biodiversity and global change: data gaps and strategies. Austral Ecology 42:20-30. (Published online 24 Aug 2016)
  • Lee, A.T.K. and Barnard, P.  2017. How well do bird atlas reporting rates reflect bird densities? Correlates of detection from the Fynbos biome, South Africa, with applications for population estimation, Ostrich 88:1, 9-17, DOI: 10.2989/00306525.2016.1219413.
  • Lee, A.T.K., Altwegg, R. and Barnard, P.  2017. Estimating conservation metrics from atlas data: the case of southern African endemic birds. Bird Conservation International:  DOI: 10.1017/S0959270916000307.
  • Lee. A.T.K., Wright, D. and Barnard, P. 2017. Hot bird drinking patterns: drivers of water visitation in a fynbos bird community. African Journal of Ecology 55: 541-553.
  • Mackay, B., Lee, A.T.K., Barnard, P., Moller, A.P. and Brown, M. 2017. Urbanization, climate and ecological stress indicators in an endemic nectarivore, the Cape sugarbird.  Journal for Ornithology DOI: 10.1007/s10336-017-1460-9.
  • Sutherland, W.J. Barnard, P., Broad, S., Clout, M., Connor, B., Côté, I.M, Dicks, L.V., Doran, H., Entwistle, A.C., Fleishman, E.,Fox, M., Gaston, K.J., Gibbons, D.W. Jiang, Z, Keim, B., Licorish, F.A., Markillie, P., Monk, K.A., Pearce-Higgins, J.W., Peck, L.S., Pretty, J., Spalding, M.D., Tonneijck, F.H., Wintle, B.C.  and Okendon, N. 2017.  A 2017 horizon scan of emerging issues for global conservation and biological diversity. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 32: 31-40).
  • Barnard, P. 2016. Meet the conservationist:  a passion for the ocean – Kerry Sink.  Africa Conservation Telegraph 10(1). Published online 22 April 2016). 
  • Barnard, P. 2016. Biodiversity horizons. SANBI Science. Published online 29 June 2016.
  • Barnard, P. 2016.  Women in science, changing how the world works.  SANBI Science.  Published online 27 Sept 2016.
  • Barnard, P., Altwegg, R., Ebrahim, I. and Underhill, L.G.  2016.  Early warning systems for biodiversity in southern Africa – how much can citizen science mitigate imperfect data?  Biological Conservation (in press, Sept 2016).
  • Coetzee, A., Pauw, A., Geerts, S. and Barnard, P. 2016.  Do sunbirds like pink flowers?  Promerops, Magazine of the Cape Bird Club 305:13. (March 2016).
  • Cunningham, S., Madden, C., Barnard, P. and Amar, A. 2016. Electric crows: power lines, climate change and the emergence of a native invader. Diversity & Distributions 22:17-29. (Published online 18-12-2015; published in hard copy Jan 2016)
  • Huntley, B., Collingham, Y.C., Singrayer, J.S., Valdes, P.J., Barnard, P., Midgley, G.F., Altwegg, R. and Ohlemueller, R. 2016. Explaining patterns of avian diversity and endemicity: climate and biomes of southern Africa over the last 140,000 years. Journal of Biogeography 43(5):874-886. (Print May 2016; online Feb 2016). DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12714.
  • Lee, A.T.K. and Barnard, P. 2016. How well do bird atlas reporting rates reflect bird densities?  Correlates of detection from the fynbos biome, South Africa, with applications for population estimationOstrich/
  • Osinubi, S.T., Hand, K., van Oijen, D.C.C., Walther, B.A. and Barnard, P. 2016. Linking science and policy to address conservation concerns about African land use, land conversion and land grabs in an era of globalization. African Journal of Ecology 54:265-267.
  • Barnard, P. 2015. Lanner Falcon hunting large forest hornbills in the east Usambara Mountains, TanzaniaOrnithological Observations 6: 26-28. ISSN 2219-0341.
  • Barnard, P. 2015.  South Africa must start managing its retreat from the coast.  The Conversation 8 May 2015.
  • Barnard, P. 2015. Fast, cheap calories may make city birds fat and sick.  The Conversation  4 June 2015.
  • Barnard, P. 2015. The health of city birds can tell us what we’re doing wrongSunday Weekend Argus 7 June 2015.
  • Barnard, P. 2015. Early warning systems help track the weather and can do the same for speciesThe Conversation 28 August 2015.
  • Barnard, P. and Ryan P. 2015. Fire in the city. African Birdlife May/June 2015: 14-16.
  • Heystek, A., Pauw, A. and Barnard, P. 2015. Proteaceae nectar sources for nectarivorous birds at landscape level. South African Journal of Botany 98:179-180, May 2015, doi:10.1016/j.sajb.2015.03.047.
  • Lee, A.T.K. and Barnard, P. 2015. Endemic birds of the Fynbos biome: a conservation assessment and impacts of climate change. Bird Conservation International,  Available on CJO 2015 doi:10.1017/S0959270914000537.
  • Lee, A.T.K., Barnard, P. and Hockey, P.A.R. 2015.  Population metrics for fynbos birds, South Africa: densities, detection- and capture rates from a Mediterranean type ecosystem. Ostrich DOI: 10.2989/00306525.2015.1021287.
  • Maron, M., McAlpine, C., Watson, J.E.M., Maxwell, S. and Barnard, P. 2015. Climate-induced resource bottlenecks exacerbate species vulnerability: a review. Diversity & Distributions. DOI: 10.1111/ddi.12339.
  • Barnard, P. 2014. Letter to the Editor [Volume 14 No. 4 (2014)] on gluten, nutrition, food security and health in Africa.  African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development 14(4), 9 June 2014. ISSN 1684 5374.
  • Barnard, P. 2014. Climate change adaptation.  Tsevhi – the Informer. August 2014: 5-6.
  • Downs, C, Harebottle, D., Dodman, T., Ndiaye, A, Barnard, P.,  Huntley, B., Ogada, D., Botha, A. and Ng’weno, F. 2014. Birds in a changing environment: Report on the 13th Pan-African Ornithological Congress in Arusha, Tanzania. Ostrich 85:1, iii-vi. DOI 10.2989/00306525.2014.912452
  • Collingham, Y.C., Huntley, B, Altwegg, R., Barnard, P., Beveridge, O.S. Gregory, R.D., Mason, L.R. Oschadleus, H.D., Simmons, R.E., Willis, S.G. and Green, R.E. 2014.  Prediction of mean adult survival rates of southern African birds from demographic and ecological covariates. Ibis (in press, 29 July 2014)
  • Heystek, A., Geerts, S., Barnard, P. and Pauw, A. 2014. Pink flower preference in sunbirds does not translate into plant fitness differences in a polymorphic Erica species. Evolutionary Ecology, DOI 10.1007/s10682-014-9693-z
  • Huntley, B., Midgley, G.F., Barnard, P. and Valdes, P.J. 2014.  Persistent climatic suitability at sub-orbital time scales in Cape centres of biological diversity. Journal of Biogeography 41: 1338-1351
  • Lee, A.T.K. and Barnard, P. 2014. Aspects of the ecology and morphology of the protea seedeater, Crithagra leucopterus, a little-known Fynbos endemic.  African Zoology 49(2):295-300.
  • Lee, A.T.K. and Barnard, P. 2014.  Have elaborately ornamented birds evolved extra means to escape predatorsFynbos Endemic Birds Survey Blogspot 4 January 2014.
  • Lee, A, Barnard, P. and Wright, D. 2014. The bold and the beautiful: Orange-breasted Sunbird. African Birdlife 2(3):61.
  • Rahlao, S.J., Milton, S.J., Esler, K.J. and Barnard, P. 2014. Performance of invasive alien fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum) along a climatic gradient through three South African biomes. South African Journal of Botany 91:43-48.