Current projects linking ecological research and management, integrating ecological science into decision-making and education.
Strategies for Developing and Innovating Living Stocks Collections
ESA Science Office staff, in collaboration with the Meridian Institute, organized a workshop on “Strategies for Developing and Innovating Living Stocks Collections,” held on August 20th and 21st, 2012. The National Science Foundation-sponsored workshop brought together managers of living stocks collections, policy professionals, and agency representatives to craft strategies for developing and innovating the nation’s living stocks collections. A full workshop report is available here.
Science staff worked in partnership with The Wildlife Society (TWS) and the Meridian Institute on a National Partners Dialogue workshop held November 30 – December 1, 2011 for the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center. The workshop brought together about 50 stakeholders to provide feedback on the Center’s operation and organization since its beginning in 2009. The ESA team previously led a series of workshops to guide Center development in 2009. The report and additional information on the Center is available at https://nccwsc.usgs.gov/, and the Science Office has paper copies of the report for anyone interested.
Workshop on Strategies for Sustainability of Biological Infrastructure
ESA Science staff hosted a workshop on Strategies for Sustainability of Biological Infrastructure, in partnership with the Meridian Institute and sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The November 2010 invitation-only workshop brought together managers of various biological research infrastructure projects, including databases, field stations, and living stocks collections. The workshop identified the challenges to keeping long-term biological infrastructure projects operational, investigated different sustainability models, and developed recommendations for future collaboration. Click here to read the full workshop report.
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ESA Science staff worked in partnership with The Wildlife Society (TWS) and the Meridian Institute to help the U.S. Geological Survey plan a new National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center. ESA and its team members supported meetings of an Interim Steering Committee charged with developing priorities and a structure for the Center; managed a comprehensive review workshop for stakeholder input; and prepared a final report to guide Center development. A December 2008 workshop brought together more than 200 representatives from state and federal agencies, academia and nongovernmental organizations to outline the strategic direction for the Center.
Production of fuels from plants and agricultural and forestry wastes can reduce both society’s dependence on fossil fuels and net emissions of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the major contributor to global warming. Expanded use of this bioenergy requires assuring that its production and consumption are truly sustainable. ESA has explored the ecological dimensions of biofuels through a number of activities. A position statement on Biofuels and Sustainability was issued in January 2008, followed by our conference and workshop (see below) in March 2008. A series of Biofuels and Sustainability reports sponsored by the Energy Foundation, explores the production and use of biofuels from an ecological perspective.
Conference and Workshop on the Ecological Dimensions of Biofuels: Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington, D.C., March 10 – 12, 2008
ESA explored biofuels and sustainability in a one-day conference, which attracted approximately 330 attendees, and a two-day workshop , with 45 participants. Conference attendees heard invited presentations by leading scientists on a variety of topics related to the ecological dimensions of biofuels. Workshop participants developed a report summarizing opportunities for additional research and strategies for how key stakeholders could respond to those needs. Details, including links to conference products and other sources of information on the ecological dimensions of biofuels, are available at www.esa.org/biofuels. You may also contact Dr. Clifford Duke, ESA Director of Science Programs, 202-833-8773 ext. 202,
For additional sources of information on the ecological dimensions of biofuels, click here.
Issues in Ecology uses commonly-understood language to report the consensus of a panel of scientific experts on issues related to the environment. The audience for Issues in Ecology includes decision-makers at all levels for whom an objective presentation of the underlying science will increase the occurrence of ecologically-informed decisions. Issues in Ecology aims to build public understanding of the importance of the products and services provided by the environment to society. Recommended policy or management actions are not necessary, but may be included in Issues. The text for Issues in Ecology will be reviewed for technical content by external expert reviewers. While each Issue will stand alone, ESA will also consider publishing up to four Issues under one theme that address different aspects of broad ecological issues, such as the carbon cycle, ecology and agriculture, or causes or effects of climate change.
The goal of this project, conducted in collaboration with the Union of Concerned Scientists, is to increase the public’s awareness of the importance of ecosystem services. We have developed a series of toolkits for scientists and other professionals to use in addressing local media, community groups, state legislators or other audiences. The toolkits provide background information on specific ecosystem services, as well as general tips and suggestions for developing presentations or writing articles for a non-scientific audience.
NBII Pollinators Website
“In collaboration with the former National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII), the Science Office worked to develop a Pollinators web site encompassing a wide range of information on pollinators and organized in a centralized location. The site included text and links to other sites that housed image galleries, identification guides, datasets, fact sheets, species profiles, and monitoring protocols. This project ended with the termination of NBII in January 2012.”
Peer Review Facilitation
A fundamental role of the Science Office is to link the ecological research and management communities. One way that we do this is by facilitating the peer review of planning and management documents prepared by government agencies and other organizations.
Following a request from an organization, Science staff assemble a panel of ecologists with appropriate expertise to review one or a series of documents. A review panel chair or ESA staff may prepare a synthesis of all reviews if requested. Financial support for reviewer honoraria and ESA staff time is provided by the organization requesting the review. Organizations interested in assistance with a peer review should contact Science Director Dr. Clifford Duke (email , phone 202-833-8773 x 202).
We also maintain a list of scientists interested in providing reviews of future documents or programs within their areas of expertise. If you would like to be considered as a reviewer, contact Science Programs Manager Jill Petraglia Parsons (email , phone 202-833-8773 x 209). Examples of peer review facilitation by the Science Office are provided below.
Review of Historic Range of Variability Assessments
The most recent scientific peer review managed by the Science Office consisted of eight assessments of the historic range of variability of Rocky Mountain ecosystems for the U.S. Forest Service’s Region 2. The Office organized a panel of five scientists to review each assessment; one of the reviewers served as review panel chair, synthesizing all reviews. The Office worked with the review panel chair to identify additional reviewers as needed, acted as liaison between reviewers and authors to answer questions about the assessments, and transmitted each individual review, as well as the synthesis, to the Forest Service upon completion. These eight assessments included Bow National Forest, Big Horn National Forest, Pike and San Isabel National Forests, Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, Grand Mesa National Forest, South Central Highlands, Shoshone National Forest and wetland and riparian ecosystems.
USGS Biological Resources Discipline Program Review
The Science Office was part of a team led by RTI International that conducted a peer review of USGS Biological Resources Discipline programs. A final review panel meeting was held in August 2009 and a report was completed in February 2010. ESA’s roles include helping develop the review methodology, identifying candidate review panelists, and participating in review panel meetings and report preparation.
USGS Gap Analysis Program (GAP) Review
In 2008, the Science Office managed a peer review of the USGS Gap Analysis Program (GAP). A panel of experts in conservation biology and policy reviewed GAP existing standards and project protocols to develop a state-of-the-art awareness of these programs. The panel report discussed the current needs of conservation in practice and assess how GAP’s mapping and modeling programs might be modified to be of the most benefit to society.
Other Peer Reviews
Science Office staff have also facilitated peer reviews of conservation assessments for the Greater sage-grouse and Gunnison’s sage grouse; a conservation strategy for the Greater sage-grouse; a Forest Service response to a Data Quality Act-based challenge of management recommendations for the northern goshawk; and a demographic report on the northern spotted owl.