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  • Society for Conservation Biology Newsletter Volume 17, Issue 3 August 2010 A tribute to Devra Kleiman, a pioneer in conservation biology Devra G. Kleiman died unexpectedly of cancer on 29 April 2010 in Washington, D.C. The news of her death at age 67 generated a spontaneous outpouring of tributes from hundreds of people around the world whom Devra had mobilized on a multitude of paths in conservation and science. Throughout her 40-year career, Devra Kleiman used innovative scientific approaches to address conservation issues and consistently modeled the collaborative processes that are critical for effective actions. In her own words, her interests and expertise were in “mammalian reproduction and behavior, zoo biology, conservation biology, organization development and institutional strategic planning, and program evaluation.” She authored over 150 scientific and popular publications, lectured widely, and was editor or coeditor of eight books and symposia, including the much referenced Wild Mammals in Captivity and Lion Tamarins: Biology and Conservation. Over her career, she served as a mentor and advisor for hundreds of students throughout the world. Devra is perhaps best known for her work with the golden lion tamarin, a small primate endemic to the Atlantic Forest of Brazil. In 1972, when she first became involved with this tamarin, there were at most several hundred animals in the wild and fewer than 75 in captivity. In 1974 Devra assumed responsibility for the tamarin studbook and began a collaborative, international effort to alter this species’ trajectory toward extinction. By 1980 the captive population was expanding rapidly, and zoos that owned golden lion tamarins agreed not to sell their stock so the animal no longer would be traded. Zoos that owned golden lion tamarins and those that had the animals on loan formed a consortium to cooperate in research and management. This agreement would become a model for future collaborations among zoos to manage captive populations of species and is seen today in the efforts of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to establish standard management concepts for species conservation. Devra was a founding member of the International Committee for the Conservation and Management of Lion Tamarins, which officially advised the Brazilian government on the management of the four species of lion tamarins in captivity and in the wild. She was an active participant in that body until a few days be- fore her death. Devra negotiated the 1990 transfer of ownership to the Brazilian government of all but five golden lion tamarins in captivity. Recently the Brazilian authorities have used the golden lion tamarin model as a template for creation of other international management committees and for regional conservation planning. In 1972 the Wild Animal Propagation Trust Conference on the Golden Marmoset took place at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Devra presented the final paper in the conference, in which she identified the importance of applying reproductive and behavioral science to the issue of captive breeding and laid out the roadmap that was to guide golden lion tamarin research. Devra was one of the early advocates and practitioners of applying science to captive breeding and conservation. Devra’s early research led to increased breeding success in the captive population of tamarins. As the captive population grew, plans began for reintroducing golden lion tamarins to Brazil’s first biological reserve, Poco das Antas, which had been gazetted in 1974. Devra’s insight was to ensure that ownership of the tamarins and the capacity to manage the wild population remained firmly in Brazilian hands. She was adamant that training and mentoring of Brazilian professionals be central to the effort. The reintroduction process, which began in 1984, eventually involved many Brazilian and international institutions that were informed by research on wild and reintroduced populations, the species’ habitat, and the social and economic contexts of their reintroduction. A critical component of the golden lion tamarin reintroduction program was education. Through teacher training, local community outreach, and partnerships with municipalities, the plight of the golden lion tamarin became a popular preoccupation, and the conservation success evinced national pride.
  • Landowners engaged in the process of preserving the animal, committing tracts of private land for groups of reintroduced tamarins. Translocations of tamarins among these private lands began in 1993. A second federal biological reserve, Uniao, was established in 1997, and in 2002 the process of creating corridors to link reserves and private lands began. In all, approximately 150 zoo-born tamarins were reintroduced in these reserves and private lands, with the population resulting from these reintroductions now standing at over 600 individuals. Ninety-seven percent of the animals in the latter population were born in the wild. As a result of efforts led by Devra and supported by the work of numerous collaborators, by 2007 the total number of golden lion tamarins in the wild, including the descendants of reintroduced animals, had risen to between 1000 and 2000. Moreover, there were over 480 golden lion tamarins in 140 zoos around the world. In 2003 the IUCN changed the status of the golden lion tamarin from critically endangered to endangered, a clear measure of program success. Devra continued her active involvement in the Associacao Mico-Leao-Dourado, the Brazilian nongovernmental organization she helped to create for conservation of the golden lion tamarin, until her death. Although probably most widely known for her work with the golden lion tamarins, Devra also was a major contributor to our understanding of the evolution of mating systems, reproductive and social behavior, and communication systems in mammals. Her research contributed substantially to the scientific knowledge about pandas, carnivores, rodents, and sloths. Devra’s involvement in research on captive animals, including her emphasis on scientifically based conservation planning, professional education, and international collaboration, became integral components of the conservation strategy for the giant panda. In 1972, when Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing arrived at the National Zoo from China, little was known about panda behavior. The animals were assumed to be solitary and therefore were kept apart in small, plain enclosures. Ling-Ling’s four pregnancies between 1983 and 1989 resulted in a stillborn cub and three cubs that died shortly after birth. During this time Devra and her colleagues tracked the pandas’ behaviors, concluding that the animals in fact were social. When the National Zoo’s second pair of pandas arrived in 2001, the animals were housed together in a large enclosure with diverse features such as trees and pools. In 2005 these pandas produced Tai Shan, the first cub born at the National Zoo that survived beyond birth. Devra Gail Kleiman was born on 15 November 1942 in the Bronx, New York. She obtained a B.S. in biopsychology from the University of Chicago in 1964 and a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of London in 1969. From 1969 to 1971 she was a National Institute of Mental Health postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Animal Behavior at Rutgers University, where she also served as assistant professor in the Department of Psychology. After experiencing hiring biases against women, Devra became one of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park’s first female scientists in 1972. She held the position of Reproduction Zoologist until 1979, when she became head of the Department of Zoological Research. She became the National Zoo’s Assistant Director for Research in 1984, continuing in that position until 1996, when she became Senior Research Scientist, a position she held until her retirement in 2001. After retiring Devra turned her focus to facilitation, team building, negotiation, and conflict management, earning a Certificate in Organization Development from the NTL Institute and starting her own consulting business, Zoo-Logic. Devra was one of the earliest advocates for evaluation of conservation efforts and continued her work in this area through 2009. She served as North American Section Chair for the IUCN Species Survival Commission Reintroduction Specialist Group and was a member of IUCN’s Primate Specialist Group and the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group. Devra was an elected member of the board of governors of the Society for Conservation Biology from 2003 to 2006. She served as a handling editor for the journal Conservation Biology since publication of the journal’s first volume in 1987. While still involved with the golden lion tamarin conservation program, she was an active participant in several other collaborations, including conservation of beach mice in Florida and recovery of Channel Island foxes in California. She also retained her position as adjunct professor of biology at the University of Maryland, a position she held since 1979. Throughout her illustrious career Devra was always ahead of her peers in the application of science to animal management and captive breeding, the development of cooperative breeding programs, and the concept of global captive management. She facilitated broad collaborations that included zoos, national
  • governments, and local communities; advanced the science of reintroduction; incorporated education and capacity building into reintroduction and field conservation efforts; and promoted the integration of critical evaluation into conservation initiatives. She consistently embodied creativity, innovation, and collabora- tion. We will miss Devra’s energetic, fearless, systematic marching into new territory, both geographic and scientific, leading collaborators in pursuit of a conservation goal. We will miss her not-so-gentle prodding to get things done, her outspoken manner, her boisterous laugh, her energy, her interest in our personal lives, and her e-mails. Romulo Mello, President of the Brazilian Chico Mendes Institute for Conservation of Biodiversity, said, “Devra was highly respected by managers and employees alike throughout our institute, by local communities in Brazil, also by scientists, educators, and conservationists around the world. She was regarded as a visionary leader by anyone who ever worked with her. Devra’s contributions to the conservation of the lion tamarins and their habitats since the 1970s, with dedicated and selfless se vice, were many and varied. She was certainly a key part to the initial movement to raise the lion tamarins’ conservation flag. Her contributions to environmental conservation in Brazil will never be forgotten. Devra was a remarkable leader, and knowing her personally. . . made us well aware of the difference she made in the lives of so many people, from conservation scientists to the local communities she worked with. Many will miss her.” In March 2010 the Municipal Council of Silva Jardim, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, voted to award to Devra the Medal of Honor “for her valuable contribution of service to environmental conservation and to the education of the youth of Silva Jardim.” The award was presented posthumously to the Associacao Mico- Leao-Dourado on 8 May 2010. Jeremy Mallison said, “It is now the responsibility of all those who have had the privilege to know Devra, and to have worked with her, to keep the flame of her highly motivated conservation spirit alight, as well as to ensure that all those programs that she was involved in continue to flourish and go from strength to strength.” As one of those whose careers in conservation biology were launched through Devra’s offer of an opportunity to collaborate, I offer this tribute on behalf of all those conservation biologists whose work and lives she influenced. We will keep her enthusiastic spirit alive by continuing and expanding her legacy of collaborative science-based conservation. Monetary contributions, in Devra Kleiman’s honor, to conservation of golden lion tamarins may be made to Save the Golden Lion Tamarin (online, www.SavetheLionTamarin.org; check, made out to Save theGolden Lion Tamarin in U.S. dollars and mailed to Save the Golden Lion Tamarin, 9604 Garwood Street, Silver Spring, MD 20901, USA.). Please indicate that the contribution is for the Devra Kleiman Fund to Save Golden Lion Tamarins. Also indicate the name to include in the fund’s donor registry and the email or mailing address to which an acknowledgment and receipt should be sent. Lou Ann Dietz President, Save the Golden Lion Tamarin 9604 Garwood Street Silver Spring, MD 20901, USA email louann.dietz@verizon.net
  • SCB is drafting a new Strategic Plan Since SCB was founded in 1985, it has grown and evolved in many exciting ways. We publish 3 scientific journals (Conservation Biology, Conservation Letters, Pacific Conservation Biology). Although SCB started as a rather American club, it now has Sections on every continent (except Antarctica), plus a Marine Section. By 2011, the International Congress of Conservation Biology will have been held on every continent except Antarctica, and every Section will have held at least one Section meeting. We have an active and effective policy program, and we own a small office building in Washington DC to house the policy program and other staff persons. We run the prestigious Smith Fellows program, bestow awards for conservation leaders at our International Congresses, and support 4 topical Working Groups. Many of these activities are the direct result of the Strategic Plan that the SCB Board of Governors adopted in 2005. It is now time to update the strategic plan for the next 5-year period (2011-2015). The Strategic Planning Committee, chaired by Board of Governors member Kate Christen, has been hard at work on the revision. Guided by feedback from the Board of Governors at the ICCB in Edmonton in early July, the Committee will post a revised Draft Strategic Plan at www.conbio.org/Draft2010StrategicPlan about the time this Newsletter arrives in your mailbox. Interested SCB members can provide comments to mullenm@si.edu by August 23, 2010.
  • Inquiring minds want to know...A note from the editor I recently received an inquiry from a reader regarding the newsletter: “Since I became a Conservation Biology subscriber I’ve been frustrated by the lack of creature identification and illustrator attribution for the wonderful drawings that appear in the SCB Newsletter. Lately my frustration has escalated to annoyance. May we please have titles for these meticulous illustrations? Thanks very much, K.C.” My reply: “Thanks for your interest in the illustrations used in the SCB newsletters. When I became editor in Jan 2010, I asked Erica Fleishman, the previous newsletter editor, about the images that she used for the newsletter. She referred me to Dover Publications (DoverPublications.com), which sells copyright-free illustrations for use. I purchased three of their books/CD collections of animal and plant illustrations. Some of these are labeled with the species name (the plant illustrations in particular), but the sources are generally not provided. So, while I would like to cite the original illustrator and species, I am not always able to do so. I’ll make an effort to include the species name where possible in upcoming newsletters. Thanks for your input!” And the response... “Maybe we should have a contest every issue to Name That Species!” So here is your challenge: Throughout this newsletter, you’ll find a small number in parentheses next to each line drawing. If you are so inclined, please submit your entries for the ‘Name That Species’ contest to sharon.collinge@colorado.edu by the following newsletter deadline (in this case, the next newsletter deadline is October 10, 2010). Thanks!!
  • News and Events in the Humanities Journeys (and Song) This morning I found myself at a conservation humanities event evocative of SCB’s next global journey to ICCB 2011 in New Zealand. This was a “waiata,” a Maori song and ceremony in celebration of the arrival of two kiwis at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, VA (for more about waiata, see www.korero.maori.nz/forlearners/waiata.html) . On an SCBI hilltop, facing the Shenandoah Mountains, John Mataira, Consul-General for the New Zealand Consulate in Los Angeles, offered the waiata to wish the North Island brown kiwis well in their new surroundings. Both birds came from the Ngati Hine people of New Zealand’s North Island. The male is Tamatahi (“first-born son”) and the female, Hinetu (“proud woman”). SCBI’s kiwi breeding program is focused primarily on studying behavior and boosting the ex-situ kiwi population using advances in reproductive technologies. This ceremony with Mataira, along with the Honorable Roy Ferguson, New Zealand Ambassador to the USA, several other New Zealand Embassy kiwis of the human variety, and keepers and other staff from NZP-SCBI emphasized the cultural dimensions of the birds’ long overseas trip and transfer of custody. Someday (a long time from now I hope) these birds’ bodies will be returned to the Ngati Hine for burial. At this writing, my family recently completed our own long roadtrip to ICCB 2010 in Edmonton, Canada, via several Badlands and Rocky Mountains parks in the western US and Alberta. While camping at Custer State Park in South Dakota I delved into “Nationalism, Nostalgia, and the Campaign to Save the Bison,” a chapter in historian (and close colleague) Mark Barrow’s Nature’s Ghosts: Confronting Extinction from the Age of Jefferson to the Age of Ecology. That chapter picks up the story of the bison’s early 20th century conservation following on decades of depredations--emblemized in the career of General George Armstrong Custer—that had brought the Plains Indians bison culture to the brink and beyond, and nearly annihilated the species itself. Barrow’s book results from two decades of researching, in archival and published sources “how and why naturalists,” and later ecologists, “became haunted by the specter of extinction and how changing practices within the field[s]. . . shaped their deepening engagement with that issue.” (See www.press.uchicago.edu/presssite/metadata.epl?isbn=9780226038148). Because he also gets the science, Barrow’s Nature’s Ghosts delivers a detailed and engaging history that also serves as a handbook of our biographical antecedents in wildlife biology and conservation, from Jefferson and Cuvier through William Vogt and Waldron D. Miller to Reed Noss and SCB. Barrow’s historical analysis provides a sympathetic yet solid yardstick for measuring the efficacy of our own present philosophies and ongoing actions in these fields. The Edmonton conference incorporated some great cultural events, including performances by environmental singers Holly Arntzen and Kevin Wright (www.hollyarntzen.ca), also known as the Artist Response Team (ART). Holly and Kevin are themselves clearly inveterate roadtrippers. Their work is all about conservation education, and they have developed the Voices of Nature Community Outreach Model, materials to help engage students and teachers at all levels, from Kindergarten to university (see www.CycleOfLife.ca). Their own environmental anthem, “I am the Future,” sung with a choir of Edmonton schoolkids, raised goose bumps in the Tuesday plenary crowd, and, like Mark Barrow’s biographies, compels some conservationist self-assessment (look for it on youtube). Holly has total energy for communicating a conservation message—and Kevin can improvise a drum out of anything. If the Artist Response Team is ever cruising through your part of the world, take any chance you can to get them in front of your chosen audiences. Conservation scientists need conservation singers. Kate Christen Humanities Representative SCB Board of Governors
  • christenc@si.edu Chapters Corner 2010 has been a busy year for Chapters, with many changes and additions to the Chapters’ roster of activities. Perhaps the most significant of the global changes is the recent expansion of the Chapters Committee. From 2003 to 2009, the Chapters Advisory Committee functioned as an extension of the Executive Office and was comprised of two to four members. In the summer of 2009, the Committee was officially incorporated into SCB’s bylaws and came under the purview of the Board of Governors. In May 2010, the renamed Chapters Committee (“Advisory” was dropped from the title) expanded to 12 members, each of whom is focused on specific programmatic or operational functions of Chapters. The new Committee members are each capable, committed, and energetic supporters of Chapters, and all have previous experience as a leader of one or more Chapters. SCB couldn’t ask for a better group of people to lead the Chapters into a new era of local activity, subgroup partnerships, and global contributions. If you are interested in a particular aspect of Chapter activity or have an idea you’d like to share, please contact the appropriate Committee member listed below. Email addresses can be found at www.conbio.org/Activities/Committees/Chapters/. The Edmonton global meeting saw the most Chapter events ever offered at one conference. Numerous workshops, planning sessions, gatherings, and outreach activities were undertaken. Some of the highlights included: the Chapters Capacity-Building Workshop on Friday July 2nd with two guest speakers talking about improving leadership and fundraising for Chapters; an evening dinner retreat at a local park that included a roundtable conversation about Chapter projects and successes; and the annual All Chapters Business Meeting that included representatives of more than 40% of all Chapters, the North America and Europe Sections, and the original founders of the Chapters idea (started 20 years ago). A total of eight Chapter-specific events were held, and the results are increases in communication among Chapters and other SCB subgroups, capacity-building, and interest in Chapters throughout SCB. SCB now has 34 Chapters worldwide, with several more in the works. The newest additions to the SCB family since last summer include groups in Cuba, Nigeria, and Victoria University at Wellington (New Zealand). Chapters Committee 2010: Fiona Nagle Chair; Chapters Representative to the SCB Board of Governors Aletris Neils New Chapters; Representative to the North America Section; Sub-Chair Evi Paemelaere Secretary; Special Projects Jessa Madosky Financial Affairs Jessica Pratt Conferences Cameron Kovach Public Policy Scott Taylor Education; SCB Education Committee Liaison Sadie Ryan Student Affairs; SCB Student Affairs Sub-Committee Liaison Carolina Garcia Representative to the ANA Section Adam Zeilinger Social Media Networking Kelly Pennington Webmaster Laura Walko Executive Office Liaison (part-time member) Fiona Nagle Chapters Representative SCB Board of Governors
  • Updates from SCB’s policy program SCB Policy Progress Summer 2010 Edmonton Conference Sets New Standard for Science-Policy Content From the first solicitation of symposium topics to the dozens of workshops, symposia, and meetings that directly brought science to current policy questions, to the audio recordings yet to be completed, SCB’s Edmonton International Conference on Conservation Biology clearly set a new and higher standard for policy-relevant presentations. Before the conference, leaders of the Canadian portions of The Wildlife Society and SCB met with Michael Hutchins, Executive Director of TWS, and John Fitzgerald, Policy Director of SCB to explore extending their current Washington-based collaboration to the Federal and Provincial policy arenas of Canada. During the Conference, leaders of the North America Section and its chapters met to outline their top areas of interest and expected emphasis in policy, which, like their counterparts in the southwest last fall, fell squarely within the four corners of biodiversity, climate change, energy and water – much like the ancient Greeks’ four elements of earth, air, fire and water. Section Presidents Highlight Policy Plans and Achievements, Including Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services The Presidents of SCB’s global sections also met to discuss with interested members their policy visions as they have evolved since the publication of their papers in Conservation Biology. Highlights included a report from Martin Dieterich, President, SCB Europe, and Oceania Section’s James Watson on their sections’ leadership in helping SCB win the formal and final recommendation approved in international negotiations in June that the U.N. establish an Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). IPBES will bring independent science to conservation treaty bodies and meetings beginning next year if all goes as planned after final approval at the UN General Assembly meeting on the International Year of Biodiversity high level meeting in September. Africa, NA, and the policy office have also assisted in this process, in collaboration with UNEP, IUCN and other interested organizations. The hope is that IPBESW will improve upon the model established by the IPCC by allowing for more forthright and expeditious statements but also clearly pegging their findings to peer-reviewed studies. For more on IPBES, go to http://ipbes.net/ Majority Leader Reid Is Still Trying to Assemble an Energy and Climate Bill That 60 Will Support After Obama Asks for Senate Action, Without Saying What He Needs In his speech from the Oval Office of the White House to the nation on the Gulf oil spill, President Obama urged the Congress to enact comprehensive energy reform legislation, referring in part to the climate bills that have been considered so far. President Obama has met with Democratic and Republican Senators who have been active in climate and energy legislation to see what common ground they can find. For example, Senator Lugar has an energy only bill that would build more nuclear plants. Senator Bingaman and others have been are working on a utilities-only bill. Utilities in mid-July upped the ante and asked that Congress preempt or block not only greenhouse gas limits that the EPA might put in place using the Clean Air Act but also a raft of other pollution limits from sulfur to mercury limits long delayed by the Bush Administration, in exchange for agreeing to support new legislative limits on greenhouse gases from utilities. This gambit by the utilities may be intended to make preemption of just the greenhouse limits and not the immediate disease or neurological damage inducing pollutants appear to be a reasonable compromise
  • but it has begun to backfire as people began to focus on the problems inherent in both of these proposed bargains. After being merged with the House Markey-Waxman bill, any Senate bill would probably insulate polluters from science-based air pollution limits that EPA will otherwise need to adopt and enforce under current law just as Markey and Waxman’s House approved bill would. As we go to press, the Senate appears to be moving toward steps to improve the laws governing oil and gas extraction and to enhance renewable energy and efficiency and backing away from legislating a cap and trade limit for carbon or other greenhouse gases. The House Natural Resources Committee on July 15th approved its “CLEAR” legislation to reform energy leasing on and off shore. It incorporated a number of elements included in the list of SCB’s 2008 recommendations for the Obama Administration for improving Scientific Integrity in the management of natural resources. Several of these related to conflicts of interest, ethics rules, transparency improvements, whistleblower protection and adherence to the best available science form a core set that have been shared by an informal coalition of government reform organizations. The Obama Administration overall has yet to do what SCB recommended for climate and energy in late 2008, which is to compile an interagency climate mitigation and adaptation plan and then ask Congress for new authority only where current law is lacking. As we discussed in our transition Recommendations, in our Climate Policy Principles, in previous Policy Insiders, and in our comments on the proposed Ozone Rule, the Obama Administration has more tools in their toolbox already for addressing these problems directly and indirectly than they appreciate. They could use them swiftly while telling Congress just exactly what, if anything, they need in addition to the existing laws. Many of these laws were summarized in an article earlier this year in the Environmental Law Reporter, by Curtis Moore, “Existing Authorities in the United States for Responding to Global Warming”. Moore helped write them as counsel to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. It is copyrighted by the Environmental Law Institute which can be accessed at www.eli.org. The Council on Environmental Quality has produced an interim report on their interagency adaptation plan due October 5th, but they have not expanded it to cover mitigation, which is the other wheel of the bicycle that can take us far enough and fast enough to survive while adaptation alone moves like a unicycle – hard to balance, slow and dangerous – and is therefore never recommended as the only solution to adopt by anyone who has studied either one. Oil Spill and Oil Sands – Going to Extremes for Fossil Fuels In the testimony of Dominick DellaSala, North America Section President-elect in early March of 2009 SCB recommended that the Congress and the Administration halt new oil and gas leasing and consider buying back some of the more dangerous ones until the Administration had developed climate action plan and the leasing process had been reviewed thoroughly. That was not done and leases and new drilling continued to be permitted until well after the gulf oil spill. Since the early days of the gulf oil spill, SCB has been working informally with coalitions and to a limited extent with our former Executive Director and his new boss at the former Minerals Management Service highlighting possible solutions from the licensing to remediation. We are now reviewing legislation that is moving in Congress and will be offering suggestions for that as well, primarily in the form of technical assistance. Some may recall the John Grisham novel and movie of the early 90s entitled “The Pelican Brief” in which oil interests went to great lengths to prevent a powerful legal brief on their conspiracy to drill despite nearby threatened pelicans, from being filed or published. SCB must, in essence, now file a science- based Pelican Brief with every relevant policy maker, updated for today’s twin Gulf and climate challenges, with both restoration and prevention in mind. One such “brief” is our comment on the draft environmental impact statement for the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline designed to take tar sands products from near the whooping cranes’ northern nesting sites past habitat of endangered black 8
  • footed ferrets to near the cranes’ wintering habitat on the Gulf of Mexico. We describe that and other policy news in our Policy Insider posted on our home page at www.conbio.org. SCB’s Tar Sands Analysis Makes News in Alberta On the eve of a workshop and symposium on the Alberta “oil” sands we released our own comments on the State Department’s draft EIS for the proposed pipeline permit that Secretary Clinton may grant if she finds it in the national interest. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s TV story and interview with Policy Committee Chairman Jeff McNeely and Policy Director John Fitzgerald is here: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/edmonton/story/2010/07/07/edmonton-keystone-alberta-texas- conservation.html As we go to press, the US Senate is considering expanding, extending or ending its ban on the purchase of tar sands products and other high-carbon fuels by the U.S. Defense Department. As the SCB Newsletter speaks to members across all of their areas of interest, its space for policy news is very limited. To get more policy details more often, you can check the policy website at www.conbio.org/resources/policy, where you can see such postings as the latest Policy Insider, an electronic newsletter on policy developments of, by or for SCB members and friends. You can also add your name to the policy list serve that carries occasional postings of interest at: http://list.conbio.org/mailman/listinfo/policy John Fitzgerald, Policy Director, SCB 1st SCB Policy Round Table at ICCB 2010, Edmonton Canada By Delali Dovie, SCB Africa Section President The SCB Policy Round Table at the ICCB 2010 Conference was an initiative by the Regional Sections and Working Groups. The Round Table centred on the theme, “Priorities for Policy-Relevant Conservation Research: A View from SCB Regional Sections”. The event, a follow up on the Conservation Focus Areas papers put together in Conservation Biology Vol 23(4), 2009: 797-846 by the Regional Sections was introduced by Delali DOVIE (the Moderator), followed by briefing on SCB’s policy aspirations by John FITZGERALD, SCB Policy Director. With objectives to engender discussion and share lessons with participants at the ICCB meeting, the panel presented their positions on conservation research, science and policy. Over fifty congress participants were present at the Round Table, represented by engineers, social scientists, policymakers, managers and broad spectrum of conservation scientists. Issues ranged from the challenges of conserving biodiversity and the Millennium Development Goals in Africa, through conflicts between growth, infrastructure and biodiversity in the Asian region, and onto attempts to seriously engage a broad spectrum of disciplines to conserve biodiversity within the Austral and Neotropical America region from enhanced capacity. Top issues on the agenda for Europe were evaluating effectiveness of EU conservation directives in meeting targets, minimising biodiversity loss and as a cultural landscape, confronting land use challenges. The Marine Section emphasized its newly found grounds of making policy effective in conserving marine biodiversity, and also seizing the opportunity to announce the 2nd International Marine Conservation Congress in 2011. In North America, using science to inform policy issues has become very relevant, but requires putting the right people in right places to act appropriately to minimise environmental disasters such as the BP Gulf of Mexico Oil spill. In Oceania, the focus was on habitat loss and degradation, overexploitation, pollution, and human population growth. The impacts of Global Climate Change and the identity of the SCB in advancing the science of conservation were crosscutting. A synthesis was done by the Working Groups through the Social Science Working Group (Tara TEEL, President) which clearly indicated that there was not a single conservation challenge and issue that was not linked to social causes. Hence there was the need to consciously and actively mainstream the objectives of social and biophysical sciences to conserve biodiversity, and the SCB was in a sole position to do that. An observation was made by the Working Group for Ecological Economics and Sustainability Science (Brian CZECH, President) on the logic of steady state economy, calling for openness in dialogue to pave way for positions by professional organisations such as the SCB.
  • Following the panel presentations were passionate and open discussions on neutralising disciplinary territoriality, bridging of ideological divides of professions, and information sharing through teaching, collaborative research and meetings. There was feedback that the Round Table could become a pivotal platform to enable the membership of the SCB to engage their executives from the Regions, Working Groups, and Chapters, as well as the Executive Office and the Board of Governors. This they said will enhance the spirit of commitment and willingness to sustain their memberships, and urge others on, whilst reaching out to a new constituency of social scientists and policymakers. The speakers were: Africa (Ron ABRAMS, Financial Monitoring and Evaluation Officer), Asia (Simon NEMTZOV, President), Austral and Neotropical America (Patricia MAJLUF, President), Europe (Martin DIETERICH, President), North America (Dominick DELLASALA, President), Marine (Chris Parson, President & Leslie Cornick, Policy Officer), Oceania (James WATSON, President). Delali DOVIE (President, Africa Section) co-organized the event with Martin DIETERICH & Tara TEEL. Thanks to Lori STRONG, Mara ERICKSON, Heather DECALUWE, Laura WALKO and Fiona NAGLE for their support. The well attended event gave hope for a similar 2nd delivery at the 2011 ICCB meeting in Christchurch, New Zealand.
  • Updates from Regional Sections and Working Groups Oceania SCB Chapter in Wellington The SCB chapter in Wellington is up and running. They’ve already been involved in little blue penguin conservation and writing submissions for the mining debate. If you’re interested in getting involved, please contact Roz on rosalynn.anderson-lederer@vuw.ac.nz. SCB 2011 Conference The 25th Annual Conference of SCB will be held in Christchurch 29th November – 2nd December 2011 so start saving and planning now. Our website will be available soon. We hope to see you all down here! SCB-Oceania Conference in 2012 Where should we hold the SCB-Oceania Conference in 2012? Are you willing to host it? The SCB-O board is looking for ideas and hosts for the SCB-Oceania conference in 2012. Contact James Watson, SCB-O Board President, if you’d like to volunteer or discuss options: james.jameswatson@gmail.com Spate of gecko poaching in New Zealand highlights legal issues with wildlife smuggling By Wendy Jackson and Jo Hoare Forty-three species of geckos are currently recognised in New Zealand, of which 20 species are considered to be either threatened or declining. These geckos are grouped into two major genera: Hoplodactylus, the ‘brown’ geckos and Naultinus, the ‘green’ geckos. Brown geckos are mostly nocturnal (active at night), but green geckos are unusual in that they are active during the day (which is a secondarily derived trait). The green geckos, in particular, are targets for poachers, because of their spectacular bright green (and sometimes bright yellow) colouration. Geckos are found throughout New Zealand on both main islands and most offshore islands. They inhabit a wide range of altitudes (from sea level to c. 2200 m) and a variety of habitat types (forest and scrub, tussock grasslands, rock outcrops and scree). New Zealand geckos are unusual in that they give birth to live young rather than laying eggs; the only other geckos that do this live in New Caledonia. In New Zealand, geckos are extremely slow breeding and long-lived: some geckos have been shown to live for at least 42 years in the wild. Their K-selected life history strategy makes populations particularly vulnerable to a range of threats (primarily predation by introduced mammals and habitat destruction), but also exacerbates the impacts of additional pressures such as poaching. In recent months, poaching has emerged as a key threat for New Zealand lizards, particularly green geckos. Since January 2010, four individuals have been sentenced for their roles in the attempted smuggling of a total of 60 native lizards out of New Zealand. Most recently, in June, seven forest geckos were stolen from a Northland conservation park. These incidents correlate with international demand for these lizards, which have been advertised on various European reptile trade websites. Under the Wildlife Act 1953 full protection is given to all New Zealand lizards. The current penalties under this Act are a maximum prison sentence of 26 weeks OR a fine not exceeding $100,000 plus $5000 per animal taken (considerably less than the value of these animals on the black market). In addition, New Zealand geckos are also listed on Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which is implemented in New Zealand through the Trade In Endangered Species Act 1989 – TIES Act). The Society for Research on Amphibians and Reptiles in New Zealand, among others, is advocating for harsher penalties imposed on those caught poaching native fauna, particularly lizards. This call comes in the wake of the smugglers’ trials, held earlier in 2010: one of the judges observed that higher penalties might deter others from attempts to smuggle endemic wildlife. Kate Wilkinson, New Zealand’s Conservation Minister, has stated that there would be a Department of Conservation review. “They are
  • looking at how appropriate it is to increase penalties, and if we increase the maximum imprisonment penalty, whether that would be sufficient to stop [smugglers] ever coming back into the country,” she said. Results of this review have not yet been released. If you’re reading this newsletter and are interested in what SCB-O are up to, then consider joining our section: http://www.conbio.org/Sections/ If anyone has anything they’d like to see added to the next newsletter (required by September 1st 2010), please contact Nicky on Nicola.Nelson@vuw.ac.nz Nicola Nelson Africa Policy Activities The active involvement of the Section in the SCB Policy Committee is no means by chance but a conscious effort to harness lessons in using good conservation science to influence the appropriate scaling of Regional and Global Policy Initiatives (e.g. Millennium Development Goals). Africa Section members in government and policy positions have become part of the infrastructure capacity building that would enable the Section to influence conservation thinking across the African Continent. Conservation work on the continent by Africans and non-Africans form part of this infrastructure to contribute to the much needed science. Thus most, if not all copies of reports and documentation of research and projects carried out on the continent by conservation professionals should be left with relevant institutions on the continent. Whilst the Africa Section has been calling for this compromise, it has also positioned itself as a clearing house. As a result, the Section performs various database searches for compilation of on-going conservation work in Africa but mostly scientific publications. This effort includes improving scientific and cultural communications, with an emphasis on continued increases in the numbers of Africans practicing conservation as professionals as SCB members. A special focus area has been the Young Women in Conservation Science to become conservation think tanks in their institutions, and supported with an Award. (Contribute to Award & process by contacting the Chair, P.Barnard@sanbi.org.za). Inter-Organisational Collaboration The Section has scaled up its activities from the intra-collaboration with other functionaries of the SCB to organizations with similar objectives to make science available for conserving biodiversity. The first of which will be the 2nd Regional Meeting of the Section to be jointly held with the global meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) in Tanzania in 2011. Although a significant proportion of the terrestrial area defined as the tropics is located on the African continent, exhibiting high conservation potential, the SCB despite a membership of >10000, has been poorly represented in Africa. The joint meeting, however, is not merely to fix this anomaly in the history of SCB and similarly for ATBC. Rather, it is to highlight the wealth of opportunities that exist for conservation biologists globally to make significant contributions to improving the conditions of both humans and ecosystems in some of the poorest areas of the continent. Mentoring and Membership For the African continent and its natural resources, an emerging concern has been integrating top down and bottom up conservation effectiveness. A priority lately has been the impacts of global environmental change on biodiversity, and implications for livelihood security. The Reponses by the global policy community has been slow due to limited capacity on the continent and thus becoming an important program area for the Section to continue with its mentoring scheme. This implies raising our membership for which we encourage readers of this message to contact us on how they will be able to contribute in terms of information dissemination and membership sponsorship. Contact: ademolaajagbe@gmail.com Delali BK Dovie Africa Section President North America
  • Europe In 2009, the Europe section had been charged by the global Board of Governors (BoG) with the establishment of an ad hoc committee to develop strategies and activities in connection with SCB involvement in the Intergovernmental Panel on Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity (IPBES). The IPBES is a mechanism currently developed under UNEP hospices. It is conceived to mirror the IPCC and targeted at improving the biodiversity science – policy interface by providing reliable knowledge to the policy sector. Bengt-Gunnar Jonsson, member of the Europe Section Board, has effectively chaired the newly established IPBES ad hoc committee. The ad hoc committee succeeded in sending members from different sections to represent the SCB at the inaugural meetings in Nairobi (Kenya) and Pusan (Korea). The ad hoc committee provided a position statement for the decisive UNEP meeting in Pusan. The document can be downloaded from the SCB policy website (http://www.conbio.org/activities/policy/docs/SCB%20IPBES%20Statement%206-4-2010.pdf). The Pusan meeting has recommended the establishment of the IPBES to the UN general assembly. The Europe Section was well represented at the ICCB 2010 in Edmonton. The section president Martin Dieterich organized the symposium “Nature Conservation in Human dominated landscapes” focusing on European conservation issues and Euroepean conservation research. IPBES was an integral part of the discussions during the IPCC and the cooperation between sections on the IPBES was strengthened. The ICCB has served as a first outlet for the new Europe Section information booklet. In a rather laborious process requiring different rotations the booklet was produced under the leadership of Barbara Livoreil, chair of the communications committee. The booklet informs about the Europe Section (structure, activities, committees) and is designed to serve as a tool to increase membership and membership involvement. The next meeting of the Europe Section Board of Directors will be held in October in Paris upon invitation by the UNESCO Division of Ecology and Earth Services. The Policy Committee (PC) will meet September 3 – 5 in Stuttgart (Germany). Members interested to actively participate in the PC are invited to attend the meeting in Stuttgart. For more information please contact the PC chair Nuria Selva (nuriaselva@poczta.onet.pl). Marine The International Whaling Commission 2010 The 62nd Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) took place in Agadir, Morocco – a modern coastal tourist resort, lacking the history and charm of much of the rest of Morocco. Agadir has sold out to cheap mass tourism, with characterless hotels emptying out onto a beach where alternatively leathery or sunburnt tourists frolic in the sea, next to sewage outfall pipes emptying the untreated waste of the tourist’s hotels into the waters next to them. It was here that decisions were made that will affect the management and conservation of the world’s whale stocks for years to come. Three parts of the IWC contained elements that would be of particular interest to SCB members: the Scientific Committee meeting, the Conservation Committee meeting and the main Commission meeting itself. Scientific Committee The IWC scientific committee meets for nearly two weeks, and the 150-200 participant scientists and mathematicians discuss many technical issues related to whale stocks, such as the latest survey data, quota calculation systems and stock structure. Several sub-committees and working groups specifically deal with issues related to conservation, but probably the areas of most conservation interest were the small cetacean sub-committees and the environmental concerns standing working group. Small Cetaceans For political reasons not all IWC member nations attend the small cetaceans sub-committee. Somewhat paradoxically, because of this the sub-committee does not get mired in some of the political fighting that
  • overwhelms many other sub-committees. As a result, this is probably one of the most effective sub- committees in terms of progressing conservation actions. This year, however, lack of funds and, to a certain extent, political apathy did somewhat limit the sub-committee’s activities. The main topic of review was small cetaceans in western Africa. Scientists from several West African countries attended the meeting (such as Benin and Nigeria), but some other scientists could not attend due to lack of funding, and many IWC West African member nations refused to send scientists – for example, despite the location there wasn’t a single scientist from Morocco. The few West African scientists who attended tried their best to provide information, but due to a lack of marine research capacity in their home countries much of information they possessed was relatively limited and there were many gaps in data. Nonetheless, there was information of major conservation interest including: • High levels of marine plastic debris and other anthropogenic trash are being reported from the West African marine environment; • Shark finning operations and other fisheries are using small cetaceans as bait; • Some locations have directed small cetacean hunts; • Consumption of small cetaceans as “ aquatic bush meat” occurs in several locations; • Live captures of bottlenose dolphins (and other species) for captive display have occurred; • These directed takes appear to be linked to declining fisheries in West Africa (a depletion in which European operations play a major role). As a result of the concern for the above, in particular the marine bushmeat issue, the sub-committee decided to make “marine bushmeat” a priority topic for the future. Of the African small cetaceans, Atlantic humpback dolphins (Sousa teutzii) were particularly highlighted. From recent genetic studies Atlantic humpback dolphins appear to have very low genetic diversity and are genetically separate from other Sousa species. Moreover, the species may have been extirpated in several locations and it was proposed at one point that Atlantic humpback dolphins are one of the top five endangered small cetacean species, although it gets little international attention. To try to gain more information on the status of these animals, several recommendations for further research on the species were proposed. Another major item was the rejuvenation of the “Small Cetacean Research Fund,” thanks to a generous donation of AU$500,000 by the Australian Government to the fund, to promote conservation-related research on small cetaceans. It was proposed that maximum grants from this fund to any specific project would be US$50,000. There was some debate about how widely the possibility for applying for funds would or should be advertised and it was proposed that the research grant fund could be used to fund attendance of participants to the meeting (which would have helped to get more West African participants to the meeting this year, for example). In addition, several other small cetacean populations of conservation interest were discussed. The substantive decline in the Gulf of California harbor porpoise, or vaquita (Phocoena sinus), was highlighted: numbers have declined from a population estimate of 567 in 1997 to c. 250 animals in 2008. The vaquita is arguably the most threatened small cetacean species at present (since the declared extinction of the Chinese river dolphin or baiji) and the main reason for its decline is bycatch in fishing gear. A “refuge” area with fishing restrictions has been designated in core vaquita habitat, but at any particular time about half of the population is believed to be outside of this refuge. As fishermen frequently fish on the borders of the refuge (as they consider fish catches to be higher there), fishing effort is effectively higher around the refuge. As a result of this one recommendation of the committee was to increase the size of the refuge. There have been attempts to ‘buy out’ fishermen that fish in the vaquita’s habitat, which has reduced fishing effort by 40%, but there are still approximately 1000 active fishing vessels. Due to a lack of alternative forms of local employment, it has been difficult to decommission the local fishing fleet to a greater extent. The Mexican government gave a commitment in 2008 to reach a zero bycatch rate within 3 years, but there is no evidence this is occurring. Also, regulations have led to fishermen no longer reporting and presenting vaquita bycatch, so accurate bycatch data are limited. It was emphasized in the sub-committee meeting that more than one animal bycaught is unsustainable.
  • In addition to proposing an expansion of the refuge, the sub-committee also recommended efforts to shift fishing gear to a type less likely to result in entanglement. Harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) have been discussed at the IWC in the past, primarily over concerns about unsustainable levels of porpoise bycatch in many parts of the world. This year, discussions on porpoises were limited. Recent European Union regulations (regulation 812/2004) have tried to reduce porpoise bycatch in European waters by introducing observers schemes and requiring the use of ‘pingers’ on nets. However, smaller vessels (<15m) are excluded from this regulation, and due to potentially substantial bycatch of harbor porpoise by these small vessels, the sub-committee recommended that the EU regulation be extended to encompass these boats. Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) were also discussed, as there is considerable concern for an isolated population of this species in Cambodia. Mortality levels are high for a population of approximately 70 animals. There are no obvious causes of this mortality; however, there is extremely intensive dolphin watching concentrated on this population. Originally dolphin watching was developed as an attempt to give dolphins value, but the situation has spiraled out of control. The Cambodian government has effectively taken over the dolphin watching industry due to the income it generates and has a near monopoly on dolphin watching boats (only 2 out of nearly 20 are local-owned boats, and the government receives a share of the ticket sales from even these two boats). The government has gone as far as removing posted educational materials on the conservation status of these animals. Researchers in the area gave proposals for shifting dolphin watching effort from boat-based to land-based. It was recommended by the Scientific Committee that the Cambodian government and its relevant agencies reduce dolphin watching intensity, and the small cetaceans sub-committee specifically mentioned eliminating or greatly reducing the use of entangling fishing gear, which can cause mortality of these dolphins. Environmental Concerns The Standing Working Group on Environmental Concerns is the largest of the various sub-committees of the IWC Scientific Committee. The main theme for this year’s meeting was the effect of “masking noise” in the marine environment, i.e. levels of low frequency anthropogenic sound, particularly sound from shipping and oil and gas exploration, that can ‘drown out’ the acoustic communication of cetaceans. For example, the impacts of shipping noise on large whale ‘communication space’ in the Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary were modeled, and it was shown that the range to which whales could communicate (for reproductive purposes, for example, i.e., identifying potential mates) would be dramatically reduced. Concerns were expressed about this masking effect and efforts to reduce noise from shipping through engineering fixes and new oil and gas exploration methods were encouraged. There was also a presentation on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and its implications for cetaceans. There was a lot of concern about the potential toxic effect of oil dispersants as well as the oil itself on the marine ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico. There has been little research into the toxic effects of oil on cetaceans and so the possible effects on cetaceans are largely guesswork, although dolphins have stranded in the spill-affected area. The Scientific Committee recommended that baseline surveys of cetacean abundance should be conducted to determine cetacean distribution and abundance before oil and gas exploration activities and extraction are initiated. Moreover, impacts on cetaceans should be considered during oil spill contingency plans. One of the most worrying issues under this agenda item was a discussion of the possible effects on the Arctic ecosystem should a blowout scenario, such as has been experienced in the Gulf of Mexico, happen there. The nature of the weather, the ice cover and the chemistry of polar waters could make dealing with a blowout technically impossible and the impacts on the Arctic marine ecosystem could be catastrophic. Other items discussed in the standing working group included the State of the Cetacean Environment Report (an annual digest of environmental research on cetaceans) and an associated review of cetacean literature that determined that almost half of the scientific papers published on cetaceans are related to conservation. The ongoing work of the IWC’s “Pollution 2000+” project to investigate the effects of PCBs and other pollutants on cetacean body systems, as well as of the sub group working on disease threats to cetaceans, was also discussed.
  • Finally, under the agenda item on climate change, an upcoming workshop on the impacts of climate change on small cetaceans was discussed and plans are afoot to hold this meeting later in the year in Vienna, Austria. Other items Scientific data suggest that gray whales off Washington State may encompass two separate stocks. This will have implications for requests by the Makah Tribe of Washington State to conduct an aboriginal hunt targeting migrating whales and probably delay permission for any such hunt until the biological implications of these findings are understood. Also concerning gray whales, it was suggested that the critically endangered western Pacific gray whale population may be being displaced from their feeding grounds near Sakhalin Island because of oil and gas development in the region. Regardless of the type of abundance estimate model used, the most recent circumpolar evaluation of Antarctic minke whale numbers is approximately half that of the previous survey (from the 1980s). What is the reason for such a decline? One possibility is that retreating ice may have led to a shift in minke whale distribution, but a real decline in numbers is not out of the question. The resident, non migrating population of humpback whales in the Arabian Sea currently consists of less than 100 individuals. Concerns were expressed repeatedly about the status of this stock. From genetic analyses of whale products being sold in Korean and Japanese markets, more individuals were identified genetically than were reported as coastal bycatch. This suggests, at best, bycatch levels of whales are higher in these coastal waters than are being reported, and at worst that there may be illegal take occurring. Conservation Committee This committee resulted from a 2003 resolution of the IWC and its aims are to: • Assess progress made in the conservation of whales • Prepare conservation recommendations for the IWC • Implement conservation programs • Help to focus public and private resources on key conservation issues facing cetaceans The work of the Conservation Committee (CC) is somewhat limited by the fact that not all IWC member countries attend its meetings (which has, as with the small cetaceans sub-committee of the Scientific Committee, prevented the CC from becoming mired in political back and forth that has stalemated other parts of the IWC). One area that the CC has been focusing on is the impact of ship strikes on large whales. To further develop its work, a joint workshop is being held on this issue (primarily focusing on ship strikes in the Mediterranean and Canary Islands) in Monaco in September. The IWC has developed a ship strike database, primarily through data contributed by researchers rather than shipping interests, and this database currently contains information on approximately 1000 struck animals. Whalewatching management is another area of interest for the CC and discussions on how the IWC could be more engaged in whalewatching management continued this year. Particular aims for the IWC regarding whalewatching include assessing the range and scope of whalewatching activities, investigating and promoting sustainable whalewatching practices and developing the economic potential of whalewatching. The CC has established a Standing Working Group to discuss this , and the group is currently planning a workshop in Argentina in November 2010, to develop a 5 year plan of action. The development of conservation management plans for critical populations is another objective of the CC and a draft of the first of these plans for western gray whales was presented. Hopefully these plans will help focus conservation actions internationally. It was proposed that the Arabian Sea humpback whale population, mentioned in the Scientific Committee section above, would benefit from a similar conservation management plan. The Belgian government also introduced a proposal whereby the CC would consider the development of conservation management plans for small cetaceans. Finally, another meeting, outside of the IWC, was highlighted: the upcoming Second International Congress on Marine Mammal Protected Areas, which will be held in Martinique, Lesser Antilles, from 7-11 November 2011. The Commission Meeting
  • This year’s meeting was rather unusual – in part because the Chair of the Commission (the Commissioner from Chile) withdrew at the last minute because of “illness”, although in reality his absence was due to dissatisfaction from both the Chilean government and demonstrations by the public over the way in which the Commissioner had represented the policy of Chile at the IWC (Chile is one of the staunchest pro whale conservation/anti-whaling nations in the Commission). The Vice Chair of the Commission was also mired in controversy after having been recorded by reporters for the UK’s Sunday Times in a bribery sting operation. So it was under somewhat controversial leadership that the 62nd meeting of the IWC progressed this year. In a highly criticized move, much of the main part of the Commission meeting was held in closed door sessions, as discussions were undertaken to assess the potential for passage of a ‘deal’ whereby takes of whales under the highly controversial Japanese ‘scientific whaling’ program would be reduced, in exchange for a resumption of commercial whaling under an arbitrary quota (although the proponents put forward that this did not technically overturn the current whaling moratorium). The deal was primarily being brokered by the US and New Zealand governments. To cut a long story short, the deal was dead in the water, with insufficient support to even be put to a vote, primarily because of dissatisfaction from two main blocs of pro-whale conservation/anti-whaling countries (i.e., Latin/South America and European member nations). As a result the whaling moratorium stands for another year. Chris Parsons President, SCB Marine Section SCB Observer at the IWC Social Science Working Group The SSWG Welcomes New Board Members The Social Science Working Group (SSWG) recently held elections for five board seats: representatives of economics, political science, sociology, and two at-large positions. Please welcome the following new board members (a brief bio for each is included below): Steven Brechin, Sociology Representative Steven Brechin is Professor of Sociology, Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, Syracuse University. His research explores public attitudes, knowledge and values about nature and the environment. He also investigates the social dimensions and equity concerns of biodiversity/ nature conservation activities, especially in the developing world. With collaborators, Brechin is exploring the cross-cultural meanings of environmentalism; the sociological study of complex formal organizations, especially international governmental organizations, NGOs and NGO-State relationships particularly around conservation protection issues. Brechin sits on four editorial boards: Organizations & Environment; Social Science Quarterly, International Journal of Biodiversity Science & Management, and Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy. He is currently serving as Associate Editor for Conservation Biology. Brechin is also an invited member of two IUCN commissions, the Environmental, Economic and Social Policy where he was a member of the Steering Council (2003-2008), and the World Commission on Parks and Protected Areas. Brechin received his PhD from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and has held faculty appointments at Princeton University, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Meredith Gore, At-Large Representative Meredith Gore is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University (MSU). Her current research interests focus on public perceptions of wildlife and environmental risk, human-wildlife interactions, community-based natural resource management, conservation criminology, and program evaluation. Members of the Gore lab are currently working researching public perceptions of risk related to human-wildlife interactions in Caprivi, Namibia; risk information seeking and processing regarding wildlife disease in the Midwest; risk and conservation messaging about diving with white sharks; sourcing Hawksbill turtle products using mDNA extraction techniques; and the conservation ethics of post-recovery wolf management in Michigan. Dr.
  • Gore is a member of MSU’s Environmental Science and Policy Program and serves as core faculty with the Center for Advanced International Development and the Center for Gender in Global Context Dr. Gore is also a member of the Conservation Ethics Group. In addition to leading an annual study abroad program to Madagascar to explore biodiversity conservation and livelihood preservation, she teaches courses on methods and research in human dimensions of fisheries and wildlife conservation; conservation criminology; and gender, justice and the environment. Dr. Gore received her PhD in Natural Resource Policy and Management from Cornell University, a MA in Environment and Resource Policy from The George Washington University, and a BA in Anthropology and Environmental Studies from Brandeis University. Christina Ellis, At-Large (Student) Representative In 2009 Christina began a PhD in Resource Management and Geography at the University of Melbourne, Australia. In 2010 she will begin her field research for a thesis titled: Political ecology of resource wars and biodiversity: an evaluation of gorilla conservation in World Heritage Sites, Democratic Republic of Congo. This thesis project captures her approach towards biodiversity conservation: using social science approaches to illuminate the complex social, economic and political causal mechanisms of conservation crises so that conservation, as a discipline, can advance towards systematic examination of the effectiveness of different practices in meeting the diverse set of modern conservation objectives. During her doctoral research Christina will continue to work with conservation NGOs including IUCN, CIFOR and WWF. From 2000-2009 Christina worked for the Jane Goodall Institute and WWF coordinating programs for more effective conservation of great apes, with a base in Cameroon. Her educational background is in environmental studies (MES York University, thesis on the role of women in the commercial bushmeat trade in Cameroon) and anthropology (BA honours University of Alberta, thesis on maternal kin relationships in rhesus macaques on Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico). Christina is a member of SCB since 1996, and a member of the Africa Committee of SCB and served on its board of directors in 2007. Congratulations also to the following individuals who were re-elected for another term on the board: Murray Rudd, Economics Representative Murray Rudd is a Lecturer in Environmental Economics in the Environment Department, University of York in the UK. Prior to joining York, he held a Canada Research Chair in Ecological Economics at Memorial University of Newfoundland and a senior economist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, where he worked on economic analyses of proposed aquatic species listings under Canada’s Species at Risk Act. Murray’s research at York focuses on environmental valuation and policy analysis, with a special emphasis on watershed, fisheries, and SSWG issues. Murray holds undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Agricultural Economics from UBC and a PhD in rural policy and economics from Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Daniel Miller, Political Science Representative & SSWG Secretary Daniel Miller is a doctoral student in the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on how governance and politics shape conservation and development outcomes in the context of global climate change, with an emphasis on the role of external funding agencies. His primary geographic areas of interest include West Africa and Southeast Asia. Before beginning his PhD studies, Dan served for five years as Program Associate for Conservation and Sustainable Development at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. His work at MacArthur centered on grantmaking around the themes of the social context of conservation and adapting conservation in the face of climate change. Prior to that, he worked as a rural community development advisor for Yayasan Dian Tama, a local NGO, in Indonesian Borneo. Dan earned his Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In addition, we’d like to thank the following individuals transitioning off the board this year for their valued commitment and service to the SSWG. These individuals have played an important role in advancing the mission and efforts of the SSWG:
  • Michael Mascia (World Wildlife Fund), former SSWG President & outgoing SCB Board Social Science Representative Solange Bandiaky (Rights and Resources Initiative), outgoing At-Large Representative Annie Claus (Yale University), outgoing At-Large (Student) Representative A Special Note of Thanks We’d especially like to take this opportunity to thank Mike Mascia, to whom we are extremely grateful for the leadership and vision he has provided to the SSWG over the years. Mike has worked tirelessly throughout his career to help bridge the gap between the natural and social sciences to improve biodiversity conservation. He was the force behind the establishment of the SSWG in 2003 and served as the group’s President during its first five years. Mike continues to show amazing dedication to advancing the cause of integrating social science into conservation practice and to the activities of the SSWG. For these efforts, we are truly thankful! Social Science Well-Represented at SCB Annual Meeting The 2010 ICCB meeting in Edmonton featured a wide array of opportunities to engage with the social dimensions of conservation. With more than a dozen workshops and short courses and over 15 symposia, not to mention a variety of contributed papers, addressing the social aspects of biodiversity conservation, social science content at the meeting was extensive. In addition, the SSWG held a productive business meeting with nearly 50 people in attendance and co-organized a social event with SCB’s Oceania Section. During the social, participants were able to enjoy informal conversation and look ahead to the next ICCB in Christchurch, New Zealand on the theme of “Engaging Society in Conservation.” Below we offer some additional highlights of SSWG-sponsored activities featured at the Edmonton meeting. The Role of the Social Sciences in Conservation Planning SSWG President Tara Teel and Michael Manfredo (Colorado State University) organized and led this one-day short course, which has been a recurring training event at SCB annual meetings since the first offering in 2007 in South Africa. Over 20 people participated in this year’s course that emphasized the overall need for social considerations in conservation, contributions of specific social science disciplines (with a particular focus on social psychology) to conservation planning, and social science concepts that can be employed to improve understanding of the human dimensions of conservation. Methods for Applying Social Science to Understand Conservation Problems This one-day short course was attended by more than 20 participants representing a diversity of nationalities and research interests ranging from coral reef conservation in Australia to bison restoration in Chihuahua, Mexico. The course presented methods for conducting nominal groups, focus groups, and social surveys for use in addressing applied conservation issues. Participants were provided with an overview of the different methodologies and then engaged in group exercises that demonstrated the application of each technique to the topic of climate change adaptation at a local level. Together with a collection of electronic resources given to participants, this course provided a platform for developing greater capacity in the use of social science methods in a conservation context. Conservation and Collaboration with Indigenous Peoples: Lessons Learned and Best Practices From July 6-8th, 29 people including representatives from eight aboriginal groups across Canada and their conservation partners met to share experiences of, and insights into, developing effective collaborative relationships for conservation. The meeting proved to be a great opportunity to exchange ideas and compare initiatives occurring on both treaty and non-treaty territory. A “Best Practices and Lessons Learned” document describing how best to establish and maintain collaborative relationships with communities from an aboriginal perspective is now in development. Members of the Haida Nation,
  • Kluane Nation, Hul’qumi’num Treaty group, Luk’sel K’e Dene, Wemindji Cree, Nunastiavut Government, Walpole Island First Nation and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks along with representatives from Parks Canada, UNESCO, Ecotrust Canada and a number of academics attended. The meeting was made possible through a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, on which the SSWG is a partner and Robin Roth, SSWG Membership Committee Chair, is the lead investigator. Conservation in a Rapidly Changing World: Revitalizing Paradigms and Practice Approximately 60 people participated in this one-day workshop that was organized by SSWG Vice President Richard Wallace and co-led by Douglas Clark (University of Saskatchewan), Susan Clark (Yale University), David Lavigne (International Fund for Animal Welfare), and Timothy Ragen (U.S. Marine Mammal Commission). Workshop participants explored practical methods of overcoming the limitations of scientific management and the narrow disciplinary confines present in many conservation science programs, while pursuing interdisciplinary conservation goals that integrate all areas of knowledge and expertise pertinent to addressingbiodiversity complex problems. Workshop participants will continue to communicate about common goals and needs, and share resources concerning effective conservation paradigms and practice. The Promises and Perils of Paying for Conservation in a Changing World Former SSWG President Mike Mascia and James Igoe (Dartmouth College) organized a successful two- part symposium on the topic of conservation finance. At least 150 attendees heard from a dozen different speakers who presented new data on topics ranging from emerging sources of funding for conservation such as reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+) to the little-known, but growing phenomenon of protected area downgrading, downsizing, and degazettement (PADDD). The presentations spurred lively dialogue across disciplines and perspectives and even drew media coverage. Stories about SSWG Secretary Daniel Miller’s research on foreign aid for conservation over the past three decades were featured in Nature and The New Scientist as a follow-up to the symposium: http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2010/07/biodiversity_aid_lags_in_corru.html http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19128-rio-hopes-of-conservation-cash-w Conservation Design for Human Beings: Agency, Identity, and Successful Institutions Over 50 people participated in this symposium which aimed to capitalize on the opportunity for interdisciplinary interaction offered by the conference. Organized by Gene Myers (Western Washington University), the symposium consisted of a series of individual presentations covering a diverse array of conservation topics and challenges that could be framed by overall perspectives on the intersection of psychology and institutions. Following these presentations, time allowed for productive dialog with the audience and among panelists. SSWG Communications Throughout the ICCB meeting SSWG members contributed content and updates to the SSWG discussion list, Facebook Page, and Twitter. Links to the SSWG website and these social media outlets are provided below. To help with our efforts in building a global conservation social science community, we encourage all interested SCB members to use and contribute to these media. Ideas for innovative ways to enhance our communication activities are always welcome. Please contact SSWG Secretary and Communications Committee Chair Daniel Miller (dcmille@umich.edu) with suggestions. SSWG Website: http://www.conbio.org/workinggroups/sswg/ SSWG Discussion List: http://www.conbio.org/workinggroups/sswg/GetList.cfm SSWG on Twitter: http://twitter.com/SCB_SSWG (Username: SCB_SSWG)Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/SCBs-Social-Science-Working-Group/107162223336 Finally, if you’re an SCB member who’s interested in joining the SSWG, it’s free! You simply need to update your affiliations as part of your “member profile” once you’re logged in to your SCB member homepage. Tara Teel, SSWG President Daniel Miller, SSWG Secretary
  • Conservation Biology editorial office’s report for the 2009 journal year Erica Fleishman, Margaret Flagg, Ellen Main, and Gary Meffe The editorial office of Conservation Biology is pleased to report on the journal’s operations and transitions during 2009. The journal’s impact factor for 2008, the most recent year for which data were available, was 4.705, the highest for the journal to date. In addition to individual and institutional subscriptions, the journal is available for free or at very low cost to more than 3000 libraries in the developing world through various philanthropic initiatives in which our publisher, Wiley-Blackwell, participates. In 2009, according to Wiley-Blackwell, there were more than 570,000 downloads of articles published in Conservation Biology. By the end of 2009, more than 11,000 people were registered for free email delivery of the journal’s table of contents, an increase of 6% from 2008. Operations We received 745 submissions in 2009, which is the third highest number of submissions in the period of record and an increase of 5.8% from 2008. We received a record high of 207 inquiries from prospective authors whether their manuscript was appropriate for the journal. Of the manuscripts received in 2009, 291 (39%) were rejected by the editor in chief without further review. Most of these rejections reflected content that was inconsistent with the scope of the journal, such as work on single species in small geographic areas with limited transferability. From August through December, 22 manuscripts (3%) were rejected on the basis of a recommendation from an associate editor (see below) without further review. Handling editors recommended rejection of an additional 213 manuscripts (29%), usually after receiving two or more independent reviews. Thus, as of 5 April 2010, 526 (71%) of manuscripts submitted in 2009 had been rejected. Of the manuscripts submitted in 2009, 181 (25%) were accepted as of 5 April. Decisions on 30 manuscripts (4%) were pending, and 8 manuscripts had been withdrawn. All of these percentages are similar to those for the past several years. Table 1. Number of submissions to Conservation Biology Year Number of Change from manuscripts previous year (%) 1998 614 6.0 1999 581 -5.3 2000 580 -0.2 2001 643 10.9 2002 573 -10.8 2003 613 7.0 2004 707 15.3 2005 780 10.3 2006 805 3.2 2007 711 -11.7 2008 704 -1.0 2009 745 5.8 The mean time in review for manuscripts submitted in 2009 and for which decisions had been made by 5 April was 59 days, a decrease of 6 days (approximately 10%) from 2008 (Figure 1). Although this change is favorable, time in review has fluctuated within an 8-day range since 2004, and annual fluctuations of similar magnitude likely are inevitable.
  • Figure 1. Mean time in review for manuscripts submitted in 2009 and for which decisions were made by April 2010. Time from acceptance to print publication increased by 10% from 2008 to 2009 (from 214 to 236 days; Figure 2), likely reflecting a backlog of manuscripts awaiting publication. Nevertheless, time from submission to print publication decreased slightly, from 333 days in 2008 to 325 days in 2009 (Figure 3). Figure 2. Mean number of days from acceptance to publication (print and Early View) for manuscripts submitted in 2009 and for which decisions were made by April 2010. Since Early View (online publication of an article in advance of print publication) was implemented by Wiley-Blackwell in 2008, the mean number of days from acceptance to publication and from submission to publication has decreased substantially. For papers submitted in 2009, time from acceptance to publication was 148 days (Figure 2) and time from submission to publication was 251 days (Figure 3). The time from receipt of the final version of a manuscript by Wiley-Blackwell to Early View publication averaged 46 days, a reduction of 15% from 2008. Figure 3. Mean number of days from submission to publication (print and Early View) for manuscripts submitted in 2009 and for which decisions were made by April 2010.
  • For many years, the editorial office has recorded either the country or the geographic region associated with the address of the first author of accepted manuscripts. As of August 2009, we are tracking the country associated with the address of the first author of all submissions; those data will be available for the 2011 report (Wiley-Blackwell also tracks these data). Between 2008 and 2009, the percentage of accepted manuscripts for which the first author was based in the United States decreased from 48% to 40% (Figure 4). Representation of Australia increased from 9% to 13%, and representation of Asia increased from 4% to 7%. Percentages for other countries and regions were similar between the two years. Figure 4. Region associated with address of first author on manuscripts submitted in 2009 and accepted by April 2010.
  • Transition in Operations In November 2009, following direction of the Board of Governors and the urging of Wiley-Blackwell, Conservation Biology implemented ScholarOne Manuscripts, a web-based workflow for submission and review of manuscripts. As of June 2010, the workflow seems to be operating fairly well. Some operator- driven problems with the workflow were apparent almost immediately after the launch and were corrected. As editors of several journals that also use ScholarOne told us, other problems or undesirable features become apparent only when the number of manuscripts at a given stage in the editorial process is relatively high. Conservation biology traditionally has recognized four types of stochasticity that increase the probability of extirpation or extinction. Similarly, we have identified four types of stochasticity inherent to ScholarOne. 1. Genetic. Arises when authors, editors, or reviewers do not read and follow instructions. 2. Demographic. Occurs when an element of the workflow or a task performed by an author, editor, or reviewer has not been configured or described optimally by the editorial office. As our experience increases, we strive to eliminate this form of stochasticity. 3. Environmental. An endemic feature of ScholarOne that is applicable across all journals. The editorial office can report the apparent design flaw to Wiley-Blackwell and Thomson Reuters (the producer of ScholarOne), but it is outside our control. 4. Extreme events. Like all software, ScholarOne sometimes behaves in inexplicable or unpredictable ways. Reactions of handing editors to implementation of ScholarOne have ranged from enthusiasm to displeasure. Some have commented that reviewers have been more difficult to secure (although invitations to reviewers can be personalized by the editors) and that the process of obtaining reviewers and making recommendations is unnecessarily complex. Others believe that the system greatly simplifies the review process. The editorial office generally has found the system useful for organizing manuscript files and for identifying manuscripts for which the review process seems to have stalled. We have too few data to gauge whether implementation of ScholarOne will be associated with changes in turnaround times. As always, time in review and time in revision are the greatest determinants of turnaround times. At the request of the editorial office, with the exception of one page of general information, all web content related to Conservation Biology is now maintained by Wiley-Blackwell. The SCB’s website provides links to that content. Revised Design The design of the covers and table of contents of Conservation Biology were revised by Autumn-Lynn Harrison and Ellen Main. The new design debuted with the February 2010 issue. In 2010 cover photographs will be of images taken by professional photographers who belong to the International League of Conservation Photographers. Wiley-Blackwell generously agreed to provide honoraria to photographers whose images are used on covers. In late 2010, all parties will decide whether to continue the partnership. Marketing We are working with Wiley-Blackwell to market Conservation Biology more creatively and aggressively. For example, Wiley-Blackwell printed wallet-size informational cards that are easy for the editorial office and associate editors (see below) to distribute whenever there is an opportunity. As part of promotional efforts associated with the International Year of Biodiversity, Wiley-Blackwell offered us the opportunity to compile several virtual issues of Conservation Biology. Virtual issues include 10-15 published articles from a given journal in a particular subject area. Access to the articles within a virtual issue are available free of charge on the web. We compiled three virtual issues of Conservation Biology that include new articles and articles that are older but still relevant and that provide historical context: “Connectivity and Corridors,” “Climate Change,” and “Conservation Social Science.” Wiley-Blackwell took the lead in publicizing the availability of these virtual issues to audiences beyond Conservation Biology’s regular readership.
  • Editorial Transitions In late July 2009, Erica Fleishman began handling new submissions while Gary Meffe continued handling manuscripts that were submitted previously. Fleishman became editor in chief on 1 January 2010. The transition generally has been smooth, in large part thanks to the extraordinary patience and guidance of Margaret Flagg and Ellen Main as well as the Board of Editors and our partners at Wiley-Blackwell. The new associate editors, Steve Brechin, Mick McCarthy, Tim McClanahan, and Javier Simonetti, have improved our ability to evaluate the scientific quality, practical relevance, and fit to the journal’s scope of submissions. Please direct questions or other feedback on Conservation Biology to Erica Fleishman, efleishman@conbio.org.
  • Announcements Smith Fellows 2011 Call for Proposals Announced The Society for Conservation Biology is pleased to solicit applications for the David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship Program. These two year post-doctoral fellowships enable outstanding early-career scientists to improve and expand their research skills while directing their efforts towards problems of pressing conservation concern for the United States. Each Fellow is mentored by both an academic sponsor who encourages the Fellow’s continued development as a conservation scientist, and a conservation practitioner who helps to connect the Fellow and her/his research to practical conservation challenges. Fellows will spend up to four weeks per year during their fellowship attending orientation and training events. These offerings provide opportunities to cultivate professional networks and to gain better understanding of applied research needs. Fellows will participate as a group in three or more of these Program-sponsored meetings, conferences, or professional development events each year. The Program especially encourages individuals who want to better link conservation science and theory with pressing policy and management applications to apply. We envision that the cadre of scientists supported by the Smith Fellows Program eventually will assume leadership positions across the field of conservation science. Fellows are selected on the basis of innovation, potential for leadership and strength of proposal. The deadline for receipt of application materials is 24 September 2010. The Program expects to select four Fellows in January 2011 for appointments to start between March and September 2011. Fellowship awards include an annual salary of $50,000, benefits, and generous travel and research budgets. For detailed proposal guidelines, please visit http://www.conbio.org/smithfellows/apply/. Questions may be directed to Shonda Foster, Program Coordinator, by emailing sfoster@conbio.org. Call for 2010 SCB Award Nominations Edward T. LaRoe III Memorial Award The Edward T. LaRoe III Memorial Award is given annually to an individual with a distinguished record of research and outstanding application of science to the conservation of our biological resources. The intent of the award is to recognize the innovative application of science to resource management and policy. Although all scientists are eligible for the award, because of Edward LaRoe’s distinguished career as a public servant, preference is given to employees of governmental resource management agencies or science agencies. Nominations should be in the form of a nominating letter, two letters of support, and the resume of the nominee. Nominations must be received by 1 October 2010. Distinguished Service Awards SCB annually presents up to five awards to individuals or institutions for distinguished service in the field of conservation biology. Nominations can be for individuals or institutions working in academia, government, non-government organizations, journalism and other institutions. Nominations for individuals or institutions, including a nomination form and a minimum of two supporting letters, must be received by 1 October 2010. The form is available at http://conbio.org/SCB/Activities/Awards/. Letters and form must be submitted as a single document in Word. Early Career Conservationist Award is for achievement by professionals early in their careers (no more than 10 years since leaving school). SCB will not apply an age criteria in order to enable eligibility for individuals who might have come to conservation as a second career.
  • Nomination forms can be found at http://www.conbio.org/Activities/Awards/. Please send nominations for all awards to Steven Beissinger (beis@berkeley.edu). If the nominator does not have internet access, contact Steven Beissinger, Dept. of Environmental Science, Policy &Management, 137 Mulford Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA. Graduate and Professional Courses: Conservation Conflict Resolution January 10-21, 2011 Smithsonian-Mason Conservation Program held at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Front Royal, Virginia, USA. See www.conservationtraining.si.edu or contact zootraining@si.edu for more information. Conservation Conflict Resolution, an intensive 10-day experiential training course, is a must for anyone addressing conservation conflicts, whether these are conflicts between people and wildlife or between people about wildlife or other natural resources. To reach our conservation goals more effectively, we need to better analyze conflict dynamics, anticipate and address arising conflicts, and reconcile old conflicts which impede new progress. This graduate/ professional course, offered by the Smithsonian- Mason Global Conservation Studies Programs, is hosted at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. Employing principles developed by HWCC—the Human Wildlife Conflict Collaboration—a leading organization in conflict resolution training, this course teaches participants strategies and processes for effectively addressing conservation related conflict, including: the role of neutrality in conflict prevention and reconciliation; effective conflict resolving communication techniques; and how to apply conflict analysis and process models to develop real-life conflict resolution plans. A collaborative learning approach combined with peer-to-peer consulting among participants and instructors are course hallmarks that provide rich classroom experiences and a unique post-course professional network. Course fee: $2,500 (includes meals/ accommodations). Earn Continuing Education Units; graduate credits available for qualified applicants at additional cost through George Mason University. Visit www.conservationtraining.si.edu or contact zootraining@si.edu for more information. “What you taught in the course has opened my eyes to look at the [hu]man-animal conflict and other problems in [my part of India] from a different perspective. I am totally recharged and ready to go back to the field.” Harshawardhan Dhanwatey, 2010 Conservation Conflict Resolution participant Strategic Conservation Using a Green Infrastructure Approach September 13-17, 2010 Shepherdstown, WV Register now for the September offering of Strategic Conservation Using a Green Infrastructure Approach being held September 13-17, 2010 at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV. This highly-acclaimed introductory course provides participants with a strategic approach for prioritizing conservation opportunities and a planning framework for conservation and development - integrating the green and the grey. Participants will experience firsthand how the green infrastructure approach can be used to connect environmental, social, and economic health across urban, suburban, and rural settings. Participants will also learn how green infrastructure planning can serve as a tool to inform land use decisions and build consensus among diverse interests. Limited scholarship assistance is available. Registration deadline: August 20th. For more information, please go to http://www.conservationfund.org/node/239. Contact: Katie Allen 698 Conservation Way The Conservation Fund--Conservation Leadership Network Shepherdstown, West Virginia 25443 USA Phone: (304) 876-7925 E-mail: kallen@conservationfund.org
  • Upcoming meetings of interest 12th Annual BIOECON Conference “From the Wealth of Nations to the Wealth of Nature: Rethinking Economic Growth” Venice, Italy September 27-28, 2010 The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, in association with the Basque Centre for Climate Change, Conservation International, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the United Nations Environment Programme, announces the Twelfth International BIOECON Conference “From the Wealth of Nations to the Wealth of Nature: Rethinking Economic Growth”. The Conference will be held at the Centro Culturale Don Orione Artigianelli, Venice, Italy, on September 27th-28th, 2010. The Conference targets researchers, environmental professionals, international organizations and policy-makers who are interested in working towards a better, more effective stewardship of natural capital. The central theme will focus on the identification of the most effective and efficient instruments for biodiversity conservation, such as auctions of biodiversity conservation contracts, payment-for-services contracts, taxes, tradable permits, voluntary mechanisms and straightforward command and control measures. Special attention will be given to the role of public bodies/NGOs in the creation of innovative mechanisms for the delivery of ecosystem benefits and in promoting the participation of a wider range of economic agents (business/families/local communities) in biodiversity conservation. We will also focus on policy reforms in specific sectors, including agriculture, urban planning and green buildings, fisheries, forests, industry, renewable energy, waste management and water, tourism and transport, focusing on the roles of each in green economic development. In addition, particular attention will paid to analyses of the impacts and dependencies of different businesses on biodiversity and ecosystems, and the potential contributions of corporations to a more resource-efficient economy. The role of biodiversity as an employment generator will also be addressed. Finally, we will take a close look the beneficiaries of biodiversity and ecosystem services, exploring the potential use of these resources for poverty alleviation, and with examples of successful policies to this end. For more information: www.bioecon.ucl.ac.uk/ Seabirds: Linking the global oceans 1st World Seabird Conference September 7-11, 2010 Victoria, Canada Although numerous professional seabird groups and societies are active around the globe, conducting studies and promoting conservation, there has yet to be a single, global meeting to host seabird scientists, conservationists, and policy-makers. The goal of this first World Seabird Conference (WSC) is to provide this opportunity, and in so doing heighten awareness, focus, and attention on the world’s seabirds. A successful WSC will provide a blueprint for seabird science, information management and exchange, and management/conservation activities for the next decade. The scientific program includes Primary Symposia, Special Paper Sessions, Contributed Papers and Posters and a series of special Workshops. www.worldseabirdconference.com/ International Meeting on Marine Resources November 16-17, 2010 Peniche, Portugal The IMMR 2010 was planned to communicate the new scientific knowledge on marine resources for the understanding and sustainability of our planet. Our scientific programme has all the focus on innovative
  • research in the fisheries and management, aquaculture, conservation and biodiversity, marine biotechnol- ogy, seafood technology and also on new resources areas. The regular programme will be sustained by several international experts that kindly share scientific knowledge through state-of-the-art lectures as well as by young researchers with the latest scientific innovations, discoveries and practices on important subjects in the multidisciplinary field of marine resources. Altogether, we are convinced that the IMMR 2010 will be a prominent scientific meeting as well as a rewarding and effective event for all the participants. For more information: http://www.immr.ipleiria.pt/ Society for Ecological Restoration International 4th World Conference on Ecological Restoration 20th Annual Meeting of the Society Merida, Mexico, August 21-25, 2011 The Society for Ecological Restoration International (SER) World Conference on Ecological Restoration is an important forum for addressing the global challenges of biodiversity and habitat loss, climate change, and sustainable development. The Mayans, renowned for their architectural, artistic, mathematical, and scientific achievements, left us a series of gigantic stone monuments and pyramids with precise astrological computations that reflect their understanding of the symbiotic relationship between the earth and the cosmos, and which many have interpreted as prophecies. The Mayans believed that these celestial cycles coincided with the development of our collective consciousness, and that the movements of the heavenly bodies exert influences upon the earth’s biosphere. As we approach the last year of the present great cycle (3113 BC – 2012 AD) and enter the “Age of the Fifth Sun”, the planetary alignment on December 21, 2012 forecasts major shifts in our evolution that afford us tremendous opportunities for the renewal and restoration of harmony between nature and culture. Closes December 1, 2010 The Society for Ecological Restoration is now accepting proposals for special sessions, symposia, workshops and training courses at its 4th World Conference on Ecological Restoration in Mérida, Mexico. The deadline for submitting a proposal is December 1, 2010; however early submissions are encouraged, and proposals will be considered in the order in they are received. For more information: http://www.ser2011.org/en/ Landscape Ecology International Conference Forest Landscapes and Global Change: New Frontiers in Management, Conservation and Restoration Bragança, Portugal - September 21 - 27, 2010 Ongoing changes driven by environmental, technological, political, economic and social factors produce additional challenges for forest landscape ecologists and managers by creating new and multiple contexts for their activities. Climate change, urban sprawl, agriculture abandonment, intensification of forestry and agriculture, changes in energy generation and use, expanding infrastructure networks, increased habitat destruction and degradation and other processes of change occur at faster rates. These processes affect structure, disturbance regimes, productivity, carbon sequestration, and biodiversity in forest ecosystems and landscapes at increasing rates. Rapidly changing landscapes therefore expand the frontiers of the current and future activity of scientists and managers. This IUFRO Landscape Ecology international conference aims to bring together scientists, planners, and managers in order to share science and experiences on approaches, methods and tools to assess change, to forecast change in structures and processes, and to optimize goods and services provided at multiscale-multifunctional levels under a context of change. Fore more information: http://www.ipb.pt/iufro2010/ Adapting Conservation to a Changing Climate Natural England - BES Conference
  • January 11-12, 2011, Charles Darwin House, London, England Natural England and the British Ecological Society are organising a two-day conference in January 2011, exploring how practical conservation measures can facilitate adaptation to climate change. There is much interest in approaches allowing conservation and climate change adaptation objectives to be met simultaneously, with what is sometimes called ecosystem-based adaptation, for example, identifying where creating wetlands can provide flood defence. This conference will provide a timely review and synthesis of this area of research, as well as of adaptation within the conservation sector itself. Effective adaptation research requires a strong partnership between researchers, practitioners and policy makers. It is essential that adaptation measures are developed on the basis of sound science, combined with a rigorous assessment of their feasibility and acceptability to society. This conference will therefore bring scientists together with policy makers and those who are actually implementing adaptation measures. http://www.britishecologicalsociety.org/policy/future_meetings.php The Third International Conference on Drylands, Deserts and Desertification: The Route to Restoration November 8-11, 2010 Sede Boqer Campus, Israel The International Conference on Drylands, Deserts and Desertification (DDD) has emerged as an important global gathering of scientists, field workers, industry, government, NGO and international aid agency officials from over 50 countries. The conference brings together experts, officials and lay people concerned about land degradation and development. The presentations consider practical solutions for sustainable and prosperous livelihoods in the drylands. The rich variety of perspectives creates a stimulating, interdisciplinary and compelling meeting. The program combines plenary lectures and panels, parallel sessions, workshops, field trips and social events. The four day conference provides an opportunity for a diverse group of experts, policy makers and land managers to consider a range of theoretical and practical issues associated with combating desertification and living sustainably in the drylands. The thematic focus of the 3rd conference will consider the restoration of degraded drylands. This “positive” orientation embraces the notion that trend need not be destiny, and that most desertified lands, ecosystems and economies can at least rehabilitated. Local case studies will be highlighted along side of success stories from around the world with an emphasis on quantitative indicators of progress. In addition additional sessions will be held considering a broad range of topics associated with sustainable living in the drylands and desertification. www.desertification.bgu.ac.il/