Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.

Director of Plant Conservation; and President and CEO, Center for Plant Conservation

Dr. Joyce Maschinski serves San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance as Director of Plant Conservation, and fulfills a dual role as President and CEO for the Center for Plant Conservation. In these capacities, she leads efforts to conserve endangered plants locally, regionally, and nationally. At San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, we are concentrating on collecting seed of over 250 rare plant species known from San Diego County. Our work supports recovery of these species in the wild through collaborations with local land managers. For the Center for Plant Conservation, Joyce oversees the National Office operations and staff. She guides development of core programs, expands plant conservation best practices, and coordinates national and international outreach to train plant conservation professionals in support of our mission to prevent the extinction of rare plant species.

For 30 years, Joyce’s research interests have centered on understanding factors that limit reproduction, growth, and expansion of rare plant populations. She has examined the impact of human activities on rare plants and provided management solutions for the conservation of rare species. Hybridization, herbivory, habitat destruction, timber harvest, trampling, climate change, and fire threats to rare plants are among the factors she has studied. With colleagues at The Arboretum at Flagstaff, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, and the Science team at San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, Joyce has conducted over 88 reintroductions of 27 endangered plant species in desert, tropical, and Mediterranean ecosystems. Working with collaborators at the Center for Plant Conservation, she created guidelines for best practices for rare plant reintroduction.

Joyce earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Arizona, and her doctorate in Plant Ecology from Northern Arizona University. She then worked for two Center for Plant Conservation participating institutions: The Arboretum at Flagstaff, where she held positions as Curator of Plants, Interim Director, and Director of Research, and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, where she led the South Florida conservation program as a Conservation Ecologist conducting applied and theoretical research on rare plants of South Florida and Puerto Rico. In recognition of her work, Joyce received the Center for Plant Conservation Star Award in 2009, and with her team at Fairchild received the 2012 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Recovery Champions Award and the 2014 Deering Estate Foundation Conservation Partners Award.