August 1999

ESA Governing Board
August 6-7 & 12, 1999
Spokane, Washington

The August 1999 meeting of the Governing Board was attended by Katherine Gross (President), Diana Wall (President-Elect), Steve Carpenter (Incoming President-Elect); James MacMahon (Past-President), Lisa Graumlich (Secretary), James Clark (Vice President for Science), Ann Bartuska (Vice President for Public Affairs), Timothy Schowalter (incoming Vice President for Public Affairs); William Schlesinger (Vice President for Finance), Alan Berkowitz (Vice President for Education and Human Resources), Ariel Lugo (Member-at-Large), Jill Baron (Member-at-Large), Robin Chazdon (Member-at-Large), and Executive Director Katherine McCarter. Managing Editor David Baldwin, Editor-in-Chief Richard Peet, Associate Editor David Gooding, SBI Director Mary Barber, Associate Director for Public Affairs Nadine Lymn, and Financial Manager Elizabeth Biggs were present for parts of the meeting. The meeting was called to order by President Gross at 10 a.m., August 6, and adjourned at noon, August 12, 1999

I. Roll Call

A. The Governing Board unanimously adopted the Agenda and approved the May 1999 Governing Board minutes.

II. Reports

  1. Executive Director McCarter provided the Governing Board with a verbal report of activities and progress since the last meeting. A written report, summarizing the Executive Director�s activities as well as those of the Managing Editor, Public Affairs Office, and SBI/Science Programs, was included in the Annual Report to Council. Highlights of McCarter�s report include i) transition of ESA publications to online accessibility; ii) progress towards increased visibility of ESA with policy makers, including symposia, workshops, and briefings, iii) enhancement of the education resources available in print and on the ESA web site; and iv) launching of a new fund-raising effort (Annual Fund for the Millennium). Reports by ESA staff members included the following:
    1. SBI Director Barber reported that progress is continuing on a series of projects aimed at defining research, promoting cross disciplinary activities and communicating ecological knowledge. Two new initiatives are under development on 1) causes and consequences of land use change, and 2) defining and accounting for ecosystem services.
    2. Associate Director for Public Affairs Nadine Lymn described several new products and services related to the larger effort of providing ecological outreach information to a wide range of publics. Public Affairs Office activities include co-sponsoring two briefings aimed at providing ecological information to Capitol Hill staff, federal agencies, the media, and other organizations. Briefing topics were
      1. natural and managed floods, and
      2. the value of biodiversity. Other new products include a revision of the brochure, “Careers in Ecology”, to better serve undergraduate and high school students. In addition to ongoing education/outreach activities, the Public Affairs Office supported the efforts of the Public Affairs Committee in initiating a community outreach project at the 1999 Annual Meeting. The project consisted of a two-day workshop exploring land-use issues in the vicinity of the meeting site in Spokane, Washington.


    3. Managing Editor Baldwin reported that fiscal year 1998-99 was yet another record-breaking year for submissions to ESA journals (1300 manuscripts). The acceptance rate was 32.1% for Ecology/Ecological Monographs and 41.8% for Ecological Applications. In response to the growth of the journals, in the year 2000 Ecology will become a monthly publication and Ecological Applications will be published six times per year. In addition, 25% more pages will be published in 2000 to address the backlog of accepted manuscripts waiting for publication.
  2. Secretary Graumlich presented a request from the Board of Certification for a two-year amnesty program for long-term, senior ESA members. The amnesty program would allow senior ecologists to apply for certification using an abbreviated application process. The Governing Board recommended that the Board of Certification clarify its request by addressing the following concerns: i) replace �amnesty� program designation with a more appropriate title; ii) provide a rationale for the program in terms of long-term viability of the certification program; iii) clarify the reasoning behind the length of the amnesty program; and iv) describe how the amnesty program might fit into a larger effort to streamline the certification process.
  3. Vice President Schlesinger reported that ESA ended FY99 with a balanced budget, including a contribution to restoring the unrestricted fund account. In addition, he addressed two issues: an investment update and the plan to develop an Endowment for Data Paper Archives.
    1. Vice President Schlesinger reported that the performance of ESA�s restricted funds, as managed by Townely Capital Management was disappointing with respect to overall trends in the financial markets. The conservative investment strategy focuses on �value� rather than �growth� investments. Vice President Schlesinger is monitoring the situation closely to assess whether ESA should alter its overall investment strategies.
    2. Vice President Schlesinger described the financial implications of the November 1997 decision of the Governing Board to develop a new type of publication entitled Ecological Data Papers. These peer-reviewed papers would appear in print form as an abstract with metadata and the full data set would be published in the ecological data archive. Schlesinger pointed out that the Governing Board should develop a pricing structure for the data papers that will ensure the viability of the data archive in perpetuity. Page charges associated with the data papers could be placed in an endowment account to meet future needs for maintaining the archive. The Governing Board agreed that this is a critical financial issue for the Society. President Gross charged Schlesinger and Vice President Clark to develop a pricing structure for the archive for consideration at the November 1999 Governing Board meeting.

III. Discussion/Action Items

  1. Fiscal Year 1999-2000 ESA Budget
    1. Vice President Schlesinger outlined the 1999-2000 proposed budget. The budget makes conservative estimates of growth in revenues. The most vulnerable aspect of the proposed budget is the expected revenue from renewal of library subscriptions, which fell behind expectations last year due to confusion regarding pricing changes. Schlesinger and Executive Director McCarter agreed that, in the event of short-fall in library subscription revenues, mid-course corrective actions in controlling spending would be possible. Schlesinger moved that the Governing Board present the proposed 1999-2000 budget to the Governing Council for their approval. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
  2. Long Range Planning
    1. The Governing Board supports long-range planning by constituent groups by providing small grants. Several business items related to this program were discussed.
      1. The Governing Board received reports on three constituent groups that were awarded long range planning grants in 1998-1999. The three groups were:
        1. The Public Affairs Committee, for a project to develop a community outreach model in association with the Annual Meeting.
        2. The Western Chapter, to provide complementary subscriptions to selected ESA publications to high schools participating in the Schoolyard LTER program.
        3. The Applied Ecology Section, to support participation in a workshop at the annual meeting.
      2. The proposed budget for Fiscal Year 1999-2000 recommends $5000 for grants to constituent groups for long-range planning. President Gross moved that a Long-Range Planning Grant Review Committee be established to be chaired by the Past-President and consisting of the three Members-at-Large. The Committee will review and award constituent group long range planning grants. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
  3. Membership Report
    1. President-Elect Wall and Member-at-Large Chazdon presented a report recommending ways in which ESA can better serve the needs of its members. The report recommends: i) ESA undertake a serious and professional survey of current and anticipated needs of members; and ii) a task force of Governing Board members and others be named to determine how to fully integrate education into all aspects of ESA�s structure and to set priorities in terms of services for members. President Gross charged Chazdon to form an ad hoc committee on the Future of Membership Services to seek input from ESA members regarding the importance of various ESA member services (e.g., annual meeting, publications). Using this information, the ad hoc committee should suggest priorities that would guide the discussion as the advisability of a standing committee on Membership Committee that would report to the Vice President for Education and Human Resources. Vice President for Public Affairs Bartuska moved that the ad hoc committee on the Future of Membership Services be funded at a level consistent with the proposed 1999-2000 budget. The motion was tabled pending approval of the budget by the Governing Council.
  4. Report of the Vice President for Public Affairs
    1. Vice President Bartuska reported that the bulk of the effort of the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) for the past year was the pilot community outreach program at the Spokane annual meeting. This effort was developed as PAC�s contribution to implementing ESA�s strategic plan. The community outreach program included: a plenary on Sunday open and advertised to the general public; a rapid ecological assessment in the Dishman Hills Natural Area, and a Community Workshop on land-use, urban sprawl, and conservation strategies.
    2. Bartuska further reported that the International Relations Committee, chaired by Jiquan Chen, evaluated and made recommendations to the Governing Board for international library subscriptions and international memberships.
    3. Bartuska informed the Governing Board that both the Public Affairs Committee and the International Relations Committee are working towards the goal of having representatives from Canada and Mexico as they appoint new members.
    4. Bartuska presented to the Governing Board a request for ESA to write a letter to the US Forest Service in support of the establishment of an Ecosystems Process Research Natural Area. The Governing Board supported the decision by asking President Gross to write a letter supporting, in general terms, the concept of long-term ecological monitoring and process-based studies of disturbance. The letter would further point out that the Society does not endorse specific research sites or individual projects.
  5. Report of the Vice President for Education and Human Resources
    1. Vice President for Education and Human Resources Berkowitz reported that the Strategies for Ecology, Education, Development and Sustainability (SEEDS) project entered its 3rd year of funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The project now includes 10 historically black colleges and universities. Activities include faculty development workshops, student workshops, and focused activities for SEEDS students and their mentors at the annual meeting.
    2. Berkowitz reported that the Education and Human Resources Committee (EHRC) met to define goals and associated plans for actions. Recent accomplishments include:
      1. An NSF grant proposal to develop web-based, peer-reviewed, interactive resource support for undergraduate teaching;
      2. Workshops and roundtable discussions at the annual meeting as well as the Diversity in Ecology Mixer and Diversity in Ecology Luncheon; and
      3. Collaboration with ESA staff in completing the Careers in Ecology brochures.
    3. Berkowitz reported on various requests from the Awards Committee.
      a) A request for a modest working budget to cover photocopying, fax and mail charges. MacMahon moved that the Vice President for Education and Human Resources communicate to the Awards Committee that under existing policies there is a budget allocation to support modest requests from committees that fall under the Vice President�s jurisdiction. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
      b) The Awards Committee recommends using funds generated by royalties donated by James Brown and Les Real to support student travel to the annual meeting. The Governing Board recommended that Berkowitz suggest to the Awards Committee that such funding would be most appropriately used to cover expenses of the Buell and Braun award runner ups.

      c) The Awards Committee asked permission to on occasion name more than one award a year for the Eminent Ecologist and Honorary Member awards. MacMahon moved that the Governing Board inform the Awards Committee that the Governing Board is not in favor of splitting awards. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.

      d) The Awards Committee suggested that the number of awards given by ESA be increased. MacMahon moved that the Governing Board request advice from the Awards Committee for additional awards to be given by ESA and that such requests include a rationale for the award. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.

  6. Report of the Vice President for Science (Clark)
    1. Three NSF program officers (Sam Schiner, Scott Collins, and Mark Courtney) briefed the Governing Board on upcoming activities at NSF of particular interest to ESA and ecologists. They alerted the Governing Board to the interim report of the National Science Board�s Task Force on the Environment which recommends a large increment of new funding for ecology and environmental sciences within the NSF budget.
    2. Vice President Clark reviewed draft documents detailing a plans for a Center for Ecological Forecasting (CEF). The CEF would provide projections and scenarios of environmental impacts of continuing global change at decadal time scales. The ESA would be a logical sponsor for such a project. The Research Committee will continue to develop plans for the CEF.
    3. Clark presented a report of the committee that reviewed “Issues in Ecology” and its Editor-in-Chief, David Tilman. The committee found that Issues in Ecology is a high quality publication which can be an effective outreach tool for ESA. The committee recommended that efforts be made to identify the audience of Issues in Ecology and to tailor the publication to the needs of that audience. The committee recognized that Tilman was doing an excellent job as Editor-in-Chief and recognized that the task demanded a tremendous effort. Clark moved that Tilman be reappointed as Editor-in-Chief for a three-year term (1999-2002). The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
    4. Clark presented the final report of the publication Visions Committee to the Governing Board. The Visions Committee recommended a series of profound changes for ESA�s scientific journals as a remedy to declining reader interest and library subscriptions. The most important of their recommendations is to establish a new monthly “magazine” format for the Society�s flagship journal. Their vision is this journal would resemble a hybrid between Science or Nature and TREE, but would differ from those journals in focusing on ecology. Schlesinger moved that the Governing Board accept the Visions Committee report and thank its members for the quality of their work. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved. MacMahon moved that a task force be created to develop a plan for implementing the recommendations of the Vision Committee. The task force shall assess the financial and institutional requirements for revamping ESA�s journals, including but not limited to budget models and staff requirements. The motion was seconded and approved by a majority vote.
    5. Clark led a discussion of various issues brought forward by the Publications Committee. Clark presented the findings of an ad hoc committee formed to evaluate policies made during the May 1999Governing Board meeting regarding the distinction between the content and length of articles published in Ecology and Ecological Monographs. The ad hoc committee was chaired by Clark and consisted of Publication Committee Chair Colwell, Publications Chair-Elect Morin, and Editors Peet and Pitelka. The Governing Board received and discussed the report. Schlesinger moved that in light of the acceptance of the Visions Committee report, the Governing Board will rescind decisions regarding page limits on ESA�s publications made at the May 1999 meeting. The motion was seconded and approved by a majority vote.
    6. SBI Director Barber presented the Governing Board with a draft document that describes the distinctions between Issues in Ecology and white papers. The Governing Board requested that the document be revised to include a discussion of the intended audience of each publication type and to indicate the role of the Public Affairs Committee in the process.
    7. Barber presented the Governing Board with a draft of a document reviewing ESA�s proceess for submitting grants for external funding, including issues involved in including ESA members as investigators on such grants. The Governing Board gave Barber feedback on this report and requested clarification on a number of issues such as legal considerations related to ESA�s tax free status. Barber will revise the document for further consideration at the November 1999 Governing Board meeting.
    8. Clark led a discussion on several issues related to annual meetings.
      1. The Governing Board received a verbal and written report from Annual Meeting Program Chair Elaine Ingham regarding progress and concerns for the 1999 meeting in Spokane. Ingham requested that the Governing Board reconsider its policy for individuals who withdraw papers in advance of the meeting. Withdrawal of papers after the program is finalized is a problem because it creates gaps in the paper sessions. The Governing Board reaffirmed its current policy that no sanction is taken against individuals who notify the Annual Meeting Program Chair of paper withdrawal in advance of the meeting.
      2. The Governing Board discussed and clarified roles and responsibilities regarding the annual meeting program. Bartuska moved that the Governing Board must be advised regarding the planning of plenary sessions for ESA annual meetings. In addition, the Program Chair must consult with the President regularly as the program for the annual meeting develops. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
      3. Bartuska moved to accept the recommendation of the Future Meetings Committee to approve Indianapolis as the site of the annual meeting in the year 2004. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.

IV. New Business

  1. Funding of Committee Work
    1. Bartuska moved that the 1999-2000 ESA budget shall fund four committees at a level not to exceed $5600 per committee for travel and committee related expenses. The four committees to be funded are: Public Affairs Committee, Sustainable Biosphere Initiative Committee, Membership Committee and the Education and Human Resources Committee. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
  2. Ecological Society of America Code of Ethics
    1. The Governing Board received a report containing proposed revisions of the ESA Code of Ethics from Kerry Woods, Chair of the ESA Professional Ethics and Appeals Committee. The Governing Board agreed that the Committee has improved and clarified the ESA Code of Ethics. MacCarter will obtain legal consultation regarding the Code of Ethics and report back to the Governing Board.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lisa J. Graumlich, Secretary