The recipient of the 2018 Aldo Leopold award is Dr. Steve Goodman of the Field Museum of Natural History. Although the primary focus of Dr. Goodman’s research has been on the mammals of Madagascar, he has conducted research in numerous other African countries. His principal research interests are: 1) inventories of unknown or poorly known forested areas, 2) describing new species and elucidating the evolutionary history of Malagasy mammals, 3) application of gathered data in the advancement of conservation programs, and 4) capacity building for Malagasy conservation biologists, particularly graduate students.
Dr. Goodman is a founder of the Association Vahatra, a grass-roots organization that promotes conservation of Madagascar’s native fauna while training the next generation of Malagasy scientists in ecology and conservation biology. Over the last three decades, Dr. Goodman has helped create a whole generation of biologist and conservationists by training dozens of Malagasy graduate students and hundreds of undergraduates in modern ecological techniques, including best practices for field surveys, museum collections, data acquisition, and analysis. He has actively applied their distribution and abundance data to various large-scale conservation projects and were vitally involved in the 2003 national plan to triple the size of the protected areas system. Every letter of support highlighted the profound and lasting impact he has had, not only on the understanding of mammalian taxonomy and conservation, but on the Malagasy people as well.
To date, Dr. Goodman has received numerous awards from other organizations for his major contributions, including the Biodiversity Leadership Award (Bay and Paul Foundation, 2004), the Conservation Leadership Award (World Wildlife Fund, 2004), and was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 2005 and an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow in 2013.