Take the sustainability research leadership survey
Jul14

Take the sustainability research leadership survey

Calling ecological researchers around the globe: How do you collaborate across disciplines and institutional sectors? A guest post by Josh Tewksbury, natural historian, global hub director of Future Earth, board member for the Leopold Leadership Program, and a research professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder     The Leopold Leadership Program, Future Earth, START, and researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder would like 15 minutes of your time for a survey they have co-developed. The anonymous results will help them learn how to facilitate capacity for transdisciplinary research on sustainable development around the world. take the survey   Who: graduate students and post-docs; pre-, post-, and non-tenure-track folks in academic institutions; and researchers working in NGOs, think tanks, government, and the private sector Why: To build understanding of the skills, tools, competencies, and other capacities which researchers need in order to construct usable knowledge for sustainable development Intended outcomes: 1) A peer-reviewed paper; 2) a white paper to inform funding communities about where the gaps are; 3) data to inform program strategies for our organizations and for funders Time commitment: 10-15 minutes to complete the survey   Future Earth, the Leopold Leadership Program, and START, a global science capacity building organization, want to gain a greater understanding of the barriers, motivations, skills and competencies that researchers face as they attempt to work across disciplines and with non-research professionals.  The three organizations collaborated with Amanda Carrico an expert on survey design at the University of Colorado Boulder, to come up with the first global assessment focusing on these issues. The first survey is now live.  It takes about 15 minutes to complete and focuses on the skills, tools, and capacities which researchers need in fields critical to conservation and sustainable development in order to co-construct credible, relevant scientific knowledge with users of that knowledge. In addition, the survey explores the motivations for this work, and the barriers researchers face when they go down this path. The survey and associated information are anonymous. Our goal is to capture the diversity we need to provide some of the first global information on training needs for researchers who want to work across disciplines in fields related to conservation and sustainable development. We want to hear from people across the research community: graduate students and post-docs; pre-, post-, and non-tenure-track folks in academic institutions; and researchers working in NGOs, think tanks, government, and the private sector. We have results from almost 90 countries so far, but the penetration in ecology is still low. I would love to use the results of the survey to learn how ecologists see these problems, compared with, for example, economists, or engineers. The results from this...

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Simoneta Negrete-Yankelevich and Ezatollah Karami win the #ESA2016 Whittaker Award
Jun06

Simoneta Negrete-Yankelevich and Ezatollah Karami win the #ESA2016 Whittaker Award

The Robert H. Whittaker Award recognizes an outstanding ecologist in a developing country who does not currently reside in the United States and is not a U.S. citizen. Whittaker, a prolific plant community ecologist, is most widely known his five-kingdom taxonomic classification system for living things, which drew from his early, influential work on trophic levels, environmental gradients and community classification and became a standard feature of late twentieth century biology textbooks. His diplomatic efforts to mend tensions with European ecologists brought him recognition and respect internationally. The Whittaker Award is open to ecologists at any career stage and covers expenses up to $1,200 for travel to the United States for research or to attend a meeting. Simoneta Negrete-Yankelevich is an outstanding researcher (equivalent to “senior scientist” at U.S. institutions) at the Instituto de Ecología A.C. (INECOL), in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. Her research focuses on soil ecology, its application to indigenous agroecosystems, and spatial ecology. She has a very active research career and many high profile accomplishments. She will present her research on “Coupling of above and belowground diversities sustain soil functions in traditional agriculture in Mexico” at ESA’s 2016 Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida this August. Ezatollah Karami, a professor at Shiraz University in Iran, does applied research in agroecology and water sustainability. The selection committee was impressed with his contributions, and welcomes the re-integration of outstanding ecologist colleagues from Iran after the country’s many years of isolation. He will present his research on “Socio-ecological impacts of dams in developing countries in the context of climate change” at the 2016 Annual Meeting. ESA will present the 2016 awards during the 2016 Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, August 8, at 8 AM in the Floridian Ballroom AB, Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. Read about all of the 2016 award winners in the awards master...

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Coastal resilience wins the #ESA2016 Innovation in Sustainability Science Award
Jun01

Coastal resilience wins the #ESA2016 Innovation in Sustainability Science Award

Innovation in Sustainability Science Award honors Ariana E. Sutton-Grier, Kateryna Wowk, and Holly A. Bamford. The Innovation in Sustainability Science Award recognizes the authors of a peer-reviewed paper published in the past five years exemplifying leading-edge work on solution pathways to sustainability challenges. In the United States, Hurricane Sandy brought unprecedented attention to building resilience of coastal communities and ecosystems to the growing threats of storm surge and erosion. This has led to a focus on how both “natural infrastructure” and “hybrid infrastructure” that incorporates both natural and engineered features, can increase coastal protection. Drs. Sutton-Grier, Wowk, and Bamford provide an exemplary example of how the integration of ecological and social science can inform and increase the sustainable management of coastal ecosystems worldwide in a review of “The future of our coasts” in the journal Environmental Science & Policy. They synthesize available socio-environmental science about natural and hybrid infrastructure, including an analysis of the state of the U.S. policy landscape for coastal resilience, and laying out the key policy opportunities and the challenges to implementing natural and hybrid approaches. Their analysis is placed in a real-world context that highlights the importance of their own research and that of others related to natural and hybrid infrastructure. The paper has reached a wide-audience and promoted discussions about coastal resilience and sustainable management among a wide range of stakeholders including engineers, policy makers and coastal businesses. Ariana E. Sutton-Grier, Kateryna Wowk, and Holly A. Bamford. (2015) Future of our coasts: The potential for natural and hybrid infrastructure to enhance the resilience of our coastal communities, economies and ecosystems. Environmental Science & Policy 51: 137–148 DOI:10.1016/j.envsci.2015.04.006 ESA will present the 2016 awards during the 2016 Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, August 8, at 8 AM in the Floridian Ballroom AB, Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. Read about all of the 2016 award winners in the awards master...

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Reforming loose legal definitions of ecological restoration
May31

Reforming loose legal definitions of ecological restoration

Laws allowing open interpretation of ecological restoration undermine sound science in the recovery of self-sustaining living communities. Though mandates like the Clean Water Act have been powerful tools for instituting environmental protections in the United States, loose legal definitions of “restoration” mean that few mitigation projects install whole, functioning, and self-sustaining ecosystems. Likewise, programs aimed at recovery of endangered species do not necessarily prioritize the recovery of functional ecosystems to support them. Ecologist Margaret Palmer and legal scholar JB Ruhl examine the scientific and (US) legal bases for ecological restoration, considering how the two may be more fruitfully unified in “Aligning restoration science and the law to sustain ecological infrastructure for the future,” on page 512 of ESA Frontiers November 2015 (open access) special issue on “Preparing for climate change — infrastructure and other innovations.” Palmer, director of the Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), and Ruhl, director of Vanderbilt University’s Program on Law and Innovation received ESA’s 2016 Sustainability Science Award for this effort to review the legal basis for restoration, identify unintended consequences of imprecise policies, and offer solutions. They describe valid ecological restoration projects, which either remove sources of destruction or mitigate their effects by actively influencing the biophysical processes that make the local ecological communities self-sustaining, and conclude with pathways to creating national best practices and minimum standards for restoration projects. Margaret A Palmer and JB Ruhl (2015). Aligning restoration science and the law to sustain ecological infrastructure for the future. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 13:...

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Baron on earth stewardship and promoting a sustainable society
Jun16

Baron on earth stewardship and promoting a sustainable society

A key component of advancing earth stewardship involves communicating ecological science to stakeholders outside the ecological community. Continued outreach to policymakers at all levels of government is critical for sustaining investment and resources for all fields of science as well as building relationships that foster collaboration. Yet, now more than ever, success in the advancement of earth stewardship efforts necessitates engaging the ecological community with a diverse array of stakeholders who, in addition to policymakers, can include city planners, landowners, religious leaders and businesses. During the most recent edition of the Ecologist Goes to Washington podcast, ESA past president Jill Baron reflects on her work to advance the Earth Stewardship Initiative, which she carried forward from former Presidents Mary Power, Terry Chapin, Steward Pickett and Scott Collins. She also discusses her work as an ecosystem ecologist with the United States Geological Survey Fort Collins Science Center and her history of involvement with the Ecological Society of America. Baron also reflected on her 2014 annual meeting special session on engaging with business and industry to promote earth stewardship. Perhaps surprising to some, the business community has long been working on climate resiliency efforts that lower the cost of insurance, save energy, promote green infrastructure and other efforts that decrease their carbon footprint and help local economies adapt to climate change. Baron stresses the importance of ecologists practicing their science by reaching out to communities in need of environmental science knowledge and encourages young scientists to pursue careers in the corporate world, particularly in light of declining opportunities in academia and government. “There are great ecology students coming out of the pipeline, but only a fixed number of academic positions, and a dwindling number of federal service positions like my own. There is, however, a growing need for people with ecological background to inform and work on sustainability issues with corporations.  ESA can help show ecologists the many career opportunities that will make a difference, not just in the corporate world, but for the products they provide to society, and ESA can also show corporations there’s a need for this kind of knowledge as they move towards sustainability.” “We have in this country wonderful environmental regulations and those are incredibly important to maintain and strengthen, but in order to actually move sustainability activities forward, we must increasingly engage with the businesses that provide the products of daily life, not just...

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ESA launches new OA journal with the Ecological Society of China
Mar18

ESA launches new OA journal with the Ecological Society of China

Ecosystem Health and Sustainability showcases applications of ecological science in support of sustainable development during an era of extensive and accelerating human and environmental change. Today, the Ecological Society of America (ESA) and the Ecological Society of China (ESC) jointly launch a new open access scholarly research journal to foster communication of applied ecological research across national and disciplinary boundaries. Ecosystem Health and Sustainability (EHS, ISSN: 2332-8878) features international collaborations, interdisciplinary research, and multi-scale projects. “The new journal emphasizes research applying ecological science to decision-making in support of sustainable development at local, national, and international scales,” said Dr. Shirong Liu, president of the Ecological Society of China. The journal encourages integration of natural, social, and behavioral studies and seeks research with implications for strategic planning and governance. “EHS is the first ecological journal published cooperatively by two scientific societies headquartered in different countries,” said Dr. David Inouye, president of the Ecological Society of America. “But it was created to publish research on ecosystem health and sustainable development from scientists all over the world, not just China and the United States.” A committee of ESA and ESC representatives selected Dr. Yonglong Lu, a distinguished professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, as EHS Editor-in-Chief for his solid grounding within the ecological research communities of both societies’ home countries. Dr. Lu has recruited 80 editorial and advisory board members from 27 countries. The journal is honored to include editors from Africa, Asia (including India and Russia), Europe, Oceania, and the Americas. “The editors particularly look for submissions from scientists working in parts of the world experiencing rapid economic development and rapid environmental change,” said President Liu. Editor-in-Chief Lu said fostering publication of research from developing and newly industrializing economies is vital. The new journal is an opportunity to build a truly global ecological resource. “I am honored to take on this new role joining the efforts of the two societies, and would like to work together with peer scientists on getting the new journal recognized internationally. Ecosystem Health and Sustainability will open a platform for international cooperative research on ecology and sustainability science and promote communication between the scientists in developed and developing countries about applications of ecological science for sustainable development. This is very much needed,” said Dr. Lu. The journal is published in English. It is open access and digital only, based on the model of ESA’s rapid-publication journal Ecosphere, which launched in 2010 and was recently indexed in Web of Science. “We would like the new journal to become a home for data from big, multinational collaborations, including ongoing long-term research projects and interim results from broad-scale ecological assessments,”...

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Scientists, practitioners, religious communities urge collaborative action to save our planet
Sep03

Scientists, practitioners, religious communities urge collaborative action to save our planet

September’s Special Issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment brings together the perspectives of anthropologists, architects, city planners, ecologists, engineers, ranchers, members of religious communities and others on ways to foster Earth Stewardship—defined here as taking action to sustain life in a rapidly changing world.

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Ellen Anderson to receive ESA’s 2013 Regional Policy Award
Jul16

Ellen Anderson to receive ESA’s 2013 Regional Policy Award

Former Minnesota state senator is energy and environment senior advisor to the governor   By Nadine Lymn, ESA director of public affairs Each year since 2008, the Ecological Society of America (ESA) recognizes an elected or appointed local policymaker who has an outstanding record of informing policy decisions with ecological science. This year, ESA’s Regional Policy Award will go to Ellen Anderson, Energy and Environment Senior Advisor to Minnesota’s Governor Dayton. “Ellen Anderson exemplifies leadership in promoting sustainability” said ESA President Scott Collins.  “As a Minnesota state senator she championed bills to foster renewable energy, clean water and parks and in her current capacity she’s working to advance Minnesota’s environmental quality initiatives. She sets a high standard for policy makers everywhere.” Anderson served in the Minnesota Senate for eighteen years, where she was the chief author of the 25 percent by 2025 legislation, which requires Minnesota energy companies to generate at least 25 percent of their energy from renewable sources by the year 2025.  She also co-authored numerous bills related to energy, natural areas, and many other environmental issues. Since February 2012, Anderson has served as senior advisor on energy and environment to Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.  Anderson works on clean energy, environmental policy issues, and public outreach for numerous state agencies and the Governor. “Sustainability is the headliner of our time,” said Anderson.  “I feel incredibly honored to receive this award from the Ecological Society of America whose members have spearheaded and helped shape our thinking about how we manage our ecosystems—from agricultural to urban—to sustain them for future generations.” ESA, which holds its Annual Meeting in a different city each year, established its Regional Policy Award in 2008 to recognize an elected or appointed local policymaker who has integrated environmental science into policy initiatives that foster more sustainable communities. Past recipients of the ESA award are Ken Bierly, with the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Karen Hixon, with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, Braddock, Pennsylvania Mayor John Fetterman, Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico and former Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle. ESA President Collins will present Anderson with the 2013 ESA Regional Policy Award at the start of the Opening Plenary on Sunday, August 4 at 5 PM in the auditorium of the Minneapolis Convention Center. ESA’s conference is expected to draw 3,000 scientists, educators, and policymakers from across the nation and around the...

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