Brent Loken

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Dr. Brent Loken
BornJuly 22, 1970
ResidenceStockholm, Sweden
Known forWork with EAT and in Wehea Forest, Borneo, co-discovery of Miller's grizzled langur in Wehea Forest
Scientific career
FieldsEcologist, conservationist, social scientist, social entrepreneur
InstitutionsIntegrated Conservation, Simon Fraser University
Brent Loken speaking about conservation in Borneo

Dr. Brent Loken is an interdisciplinary scientist, conservation scientist, and social entrepreneur. He has a PhD in Resource and Environmental Management from Simon Fraser University in Canada. For the past 20 years, he has been involved in coordinating, building, and organizing large projects and teams in various contexts around the world. Most recently as Executive Director and co-founder of the NGO Integrated Conservation. He has published a number of research papers, many of which have been featured in outlets such as National Geographic,[1] Scientific American [2] and CNN.[3] Brent has experience working with a diverse group of stakeholders including government officials, businesses, scientists, local communities and the media. He is currently working as the Science Liaison Officer for EAT, an Oslo based organization working to transform the global food system. Brent resides in Stockholm Sweden.


Brent Loken was born in Forest City, a small rural town in Iowa, where he developed a passion for wildlife and conservation. After earning a bachelor's degree in 1994 from Augustana College, Brent went overseas to work as a teacher of physics, chemistry and environmental science. In 2007, he was part of a team of teachers that helped to create the secondary department of Hsinchu International School. In 2009 he co-founded the nonprofit organization Integrated Conservation and has been involved in numerous conservation projects in East Kalimantan, Borneo. He is currently working as Science Liaison Officer for EAT.


Brent earned a bachelor's degree from Augustana College in 1994, a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2000 and a PhD in resource and environmental management at Simon Fraser University in 2016. In 2008, Brent earned National Board Certification in physics from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. As an educator, Brent developed courses such as Global Ethics[4] and used teaching methods such as differentiation.[5] He was awarded both the Trudeau Doctoral Scholarship and Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship to pursue his PhD studies. He is also a Resilience Alliance young scholar. He is currently a visiting scholar at the Stockholm Resilience Centre.


Brent co-founded the NGO Integrated Conservation (ICON) in 2009 after traveling to Borneo and witnessing the rapid loss of forests. His main work centers on research, outreach, education and development activities mainly in East Kalimantan, Borneo. He has organized and led biodiversity studies in some of the remotest forests in Kalimantan and has also led resilience assessments to help build more resilient locally managed forests. He is currently conducting research on the clouded leopard, Miller's grizzled langur, and orangutan and also on the integration of resilience and sustainability concepts into conservation projects in Kalimantan.

Brent was part of an international team of scientists from Indonesia, United States, Canada, and Czech Republic who discovered Miller's grizzled langur, an elusive and endangered primate, in Wehea Forest. This monkey was previously thought extinct by some scientists and was not known to exist in Wehea. The team has studied this new population and published their findings in the American Journal of Primatology.[6] Its rediscovery was announced by the press on January 20, 2012.[7][8][9][10] Brent described this discovery in a Quirks and Quarks interview titled, "Miller's Grizzled Langur, I presume".[11] An article written about Brent in The Vancouver Sun in February 2012 described him as an ecologist seeking middle ground between conservation and development.[12]

In June 2013, Brent published a paper in the American Journal of Primatology which described the surprising terrestrial behavior or Bornean orangutans. This was the first study which described terrestrial behavior in orangutans and received international press. He recently wrote a follow-up [1] to this article which was published in Oryx in January 2015. This research found that orangutans were most terrestrial in recently logged forest and seemed to opportunistically use logging roads for travel. However, they also found that orangutans were also terrestrial in primary forest. These findings were highlighted in Science[13] and also during an interview with Radio Canada International.[14] National Geographic Society featured this research in their article "4 Clever (and Kind of Sad) Ways Animals Adapt to Humans.[15] Recently, Brent published a paper in the journal Biological Conservation[16] which proposes a new method for estimating orangutan densities using camera traps. This method could be more accurate than using the traditional nest count methods.[17]

Healthy and Sustainable Diets[edit]

Soon after completing his PhD, Brent joined EAT, an Oslo based organization working to transform the global food system to feed 9 billion people healthy and sustainable diets. Brent decided to join EAT because he felt that he could have a larger impact working with an international organization. In addition, he came to realize that many of the environmental problems he was working on in Borneo were essentially rooted in food and agriculture. One example is the expansion of palm oil plantations on Borneo, which has led to wide spread deforestation and loss of biodiversity.

Research and Writing[edit]

Brent is an interdisciplinary scientist and is involved in research pertaining to the integration of sustainability science and resilience thinking into conservation and the role of NGOs, power and politics in conservation initiatives. His past research has focused on developing new techniques for estimating clouded leopard and orangutan densities, investigating orangutan terrestriality across various disturbance regimes and the impact of logging on mammal functional diversity. Brent has written about numerous topics ranging from education, to conservation, to social-ecological systems to rock climbing.


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  6. ^ Lhota, Stanislav. "Discovery of Miller's Grizzled Langur (Presbytis hosei canicrus) in Wehea Forest Confirms the Continued Existence and Extends Known Geographical Range of an Endangered Primate". American Journal of Primatology. 74: 193–198. doi:10.1002/ajp.21983.
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  16. ^ Spehar, Stephanie N.; Loken, Brent; Rayadin, Yaya; Royle, J. Andrew (2015). "Comparing spatial capture–recapture modeling and nest count methods to estimate orangutan densities in the Wehea Forest, East Kalimantan, Indonesia". Biological Conservation. 191: 185–193. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2015.06.013.
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