A Letter from the Dean

Dean Ackerly headshot

The bustle of a new academic year is always invigorating, and this fall has been especially so as we transition back to life on campus. I want to thank all those who performed essential functions on campus through the last year and a half—from facilities management to research operations. Whether on site or remote, everyone in the College rose to the challenge in support of our mission.

We’re all experiencing a “new normal” in this phase of the pandemic. As we also face drought, record high temperatures, and yet another season of widespread wildfires, our efforts to create a sustainable future are more important than ever.

Here we share two projects working toward that reality. First is the California Heartbeat Initiative, which is pioneering the use of drone flight data to provide information on how climate change is affecting California’s natural ecosystems. Next up is 30x30, the ambitious goal to preserve 30 percent of the world’s lands and waters by 2030. Our College has been conducting influential research in the fields of conservation and biodiversity for years, and now many of our faculty are involved in this initiative at the state, federal, and global levels.

The year 2030 is also significant to me in my role as dean, as we embark on a strategic planning effort to chart a path for Rausser College for the decade ahead. We’ll assess our research and curriculum priorities, our operations and finances, and our progress toward our diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.

Those just joining our community will play an especially important role shaping our future. Especially notable this fall are faculty recruited as part of two campus-wide cluster hires—one in climate equity and environmental justice and the other in Native American studies. We look forward to introducing you to their work.

I welcome your feedback at dackerly@berkeley.edu

Breakthroughs  magazine is published twice per year by Rausser College of Natural Resources at the University of California, Berkeley. To sign up to receive a print or digital copy of the magazine, please use the form at the link below.

Fall 2021 Masthead


David D. Ackerly


Julie Gipple

Associate Editor

Jacob Shea

Creative Director

Arnaud Ghelfi

Copy Editor

Laura Deck

Contributing Writers

Ann Brody Guy
Kara Manke
Kristin Baird Rattini
Jacob Shea
Kathleen Wong

Contributing Photographers

Alysha Beck
Joshua Bessex
Jim Block
Al Golub
Adam Sings in the Timber

Contributing Artist

Daniele Simonelli

Design & Production

l’atelier starno

Online Director

Joseph Bunik

Online Production

Anjika Pai,
Kelthie Truong

© 2021 by the Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved. Breakthroughs is a registered trademark.

Please direct correspondence to:

Rausser College of Natural Resources
University of California, Berkeley
101 Giannini Hall #3100
Berkeley, CA

Or email breakthroughs@berkeley.edu