May 2003

ESA Governing Board
May 16-17, 2003
Washington, D.C.

The May 16-17 meeting of the ESA Governing Board was attended by Ann Bartuska (President), Pamela Matson (Past-President), Bill Schlesinger (President-Elect), Jill Baron (Secretary), Jim Clark (Vice President for Science), Allison Power (Vice President for Public Affairs), Norm Christensen (Vice President for Finance), Carol Brewer (Vice President for Education and Human Resources), Ed Johnson (Member-at-Large), Oswaldo Sala (Member-at-Large), Sharon Collinge (Member-at-Large), incoming officers Jerry Melillo and Margaret Palmer, and Executive Director Katherine McCarter. Managing Editor David Baldwin, Frontiers Editor-in-Chief Sue Silver, Director for Public Affairs Nadine Lymn, Director of Education Jason Taylor, and Director for Science Cliff Duke, were also present. The meeting was called to order by President Bartuska at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, May 16, 2003, and adjourned at 5:00 p.m., May 17.

I. Roll Call

  1. The GB unanimously adopted the agenda.

II. Ratification of votes taken via email since last meeting

  1. Approved the minutes from the November, 2002, Governing Board Meeting.
  2. Approved the awards nominations as follows:
    1. W.S. Cooper Award to David Foster, G. Motzkin, and B. Slater for their 1998 paper “Land-use history as long-term broadscale disturbance: regional forest dynamics in central New England.” Ecosystems 1:98-119.
    2. George Mercer Award to Jean L. Richardson for her 2003 paper “The relative roles of adaptation and phylogeny in determination of larval traits in diversifying Anuran linages, American Naturalist 157:282-289.
    3. Eugene P. Odum Award for Excellence in Ecology Education to Alan Berkowitz.
    4. Distinguished Service Citation to Allan Solomon.
    5. ESA Eminent Ecologist to Richard Root.
    6. Corporate Award to Norm Thompson, Inc.

III. Reports

    1. Report of the President
      President Bartuska updated the Board on activities she and ESA have been doing to further her agenda of increasing the visibility of ecological issues: The Biological Ecological Science Coalition has been active on Capitol Hill with the message that biological medical research funding is not equal to ecological research funding. She, Lymn, and several other Board members met with OMB budget examiners to address NSF and mission-oriented research. The Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP) is very interested in increasing the visibility of environment and resource-based sciences, with topics like environment, population, energy, the Inland Waters Commission, sustainability. ESA needs to stay highly involved. 
    2. Report from the Visions Committee
      Margaret Palmer updated the Board on progress of the Ecological Visions Committee, whose charge is to a) identify key ecological priorities and opportunities for building, disseminating, and teaching fundamental ecological knowledge; b) identify the most critical needs in terms of the accomplishment of fundamental research and education, including infrastructure, training, outreach, and expanded participation needs; and c) develop an action plan to strengthen and mobilize ecological sciences, including activities by individual scientists and the ESA, in addressing those challenges and opportunities in the Americas and beyond. The committee has met twice among themselves and with a great many other agencies and entities, identified six Visions, and has so far developed Action Plans for two of the Visions (Research Innovations and Ecoinformatics). Palmer mentioned that education and outreach will be mainstreamed throughout each vision, rather than keeping them separate.

      There was discussion on outreach to new and diverse communities in the Action Plan, including: other societies (e.g.SSSA, AGU), physical scientists, foundations, and the business community. 

      The Action Plan for the Vision on Building an Informed Public is not complete, but there was discussion about developing a major ESA initiative on educating about ecological issues, including activities such as 15 second spots on TV, working with major religious orders, K-12 education, developing a State of the Planet report with a group such as the UN, and an ESA-sponsored Center on Ecology and Policy: a think tank and resource center. GB mentioned the idea of offering an Ecology Policy award to reward those who use science to inform policy. 

    3. Report of the Executive Director and Staff
      1. The Governing Board welcomed Clifford Duke, the new Director of Science for the ESA headquarters office.
      2. ESA now has three new sections (Biogeosciences, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and Urban Ecology) and a new Mexico chapter.
      3. Long-range planning grants were given out to the Aquatic Ecology Section, the Education Section, the Mid-Atlantic Chapter, the Paleoecology Section, and the Rangeland Ecology Section.
      4. Four issues of Frontiers are now published, and the magazine is receiving high acclaim. Advertising revenue has not been as high as expected, due to the economy.
      5. The Publications office in Ithaca is moving to new quarters, and this is partly the cause of issues of Ecological Applications, Ecology, and Monographs running behind schedule. Editor-in-Chief Baldwin reports they expect to be caught up by the end of summer. The manuscript tracking system for online manuscript submission and peer review is ready for testing, with implementation soon after that. New journal covers will begin in July. JSTOR has announced they will add digital versions of all our publications, and ESA will help design digital archiving in return for lower costs. 
        The economic downturn bodes badly for ESA journals and advertising. There is also a growing Open Access movement that views publishers of scientific journals as toll-keepers that prohibit many from access to information. Although there is not much that ESA does not already permit (copying of papers for distribution, availability of .pdf files) the society may feel the backlash of this movement that wants to make access to all journals free. \
      6. One of the ESA journal subscription agencies, Rowecom, that handles distribution of our journals, has declared bankruptcy, and ESA, along with other publishers, has not been paid for library subscriptions. Rowecom was not one of ESA’s biggest distributors. ESA will continue to supply the libraries for one year at no cost, and while this represents a loss of revenue, it will hopefully result in the libraries renewing their subscriptions in 2004.
      7. ESA and the Biological Ecological Science Coalition have been very active. Public Affairs Director Lymn reported on visits she and Member-at-Large Johnson made to Ottawa to introduce Canadian lawmakers to ESA. This highly successful 3-day visit included meetings with a great many organizations, and Lymn and Johnson have developed contacts and will follow up with several of them.
      8. The Science Office is supporting the Visions Committee, developing a cooperative agreement with NOAA on Ecological Forecasting, organizing a conference on Invasive Plants in Natural and Managed Systems: linking science and management (with the Weed Science Society of America), launched the Great Lakes Climate Change report (with the Union of Concerned Scientists), published Issues in Ecology 10, and participated in a number of other activities supporting ecological science applications.
      9. Education Director Taylor announced there are 18 SEEDS chapters (8 tribal and 10 Historically Black Colleges). He noted the increasing quality of student applicants to participate in SEEDS activities. He reported on a SEEDS field trip to Stanford and Jasper Ridge, and that there are now small fellowships tailored to specific student needs. 
        ASLO is interested in joining with ESA in BEN and EcoEdnet, and Taylor mentioned ESA might become a portal for many other environmental science societies. Taylor is developing a 5 year plan for ecology education.


        The Board recognizes the outstanding job that Jason Taylor has done in the Education office, and noted that ALL ESA staff are doing exceptional jobs. 


  1. Financial Update
    Vice-President for Finance Christensen talked about the ESA endowment, which will be discussed in depth by the Finance Committee in August. Next year’s budget will be conservative, due to the economy and decline of individual journal subscriptions. A plan will be presented to build a “rainy-day fund.” Vice-President Christensen complimented Director McCarter and Budget Director Biggs on their excellent fiscal acumen.

III. Discussion/Action

    1. Meeting of the Americas update
      Presidents of the ecological societies or their equivalents from Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Canada, and Mexico have all confirmed they will attend an August 1 meeting in Savannah whose purpose is to bring the societies together to work on common ecological issues. Brazil is pending. Member-at-Large Sala has been leading this effort with President Bartuska. It is hoped the outcome will be a resolution on joint activities. There was discussion about the need to obtain funding for education and capacity-building for many of these societies, and several foundations were named that might support followup activities, including Tinker, Moore, Avina, Turner. Conservation International and Esso-Brazil were mentioned, with Board members identified to follow up with each. Millennium Funds will be used to support part of the one-day meeting. It was agreed that several Issues in Ecology should be translated into Spanish in time for distribution at the Aug. 1 meeting, including #2, Ecosystem Services, #5, Biotic Invasions, and #10, Sustaining Healthy Freshwater Ecosystems. GB agreed to spend $750 for translation of the first two (#10 has already been translated), and Member-at-Large Sala is looking into the costs of printing them in Argentina.
    2. Proposed FY 2003-2004 budget
      Executive Direct McCarter presented the proposed budget for next year, followed by discussion. One reason for a conservative budget for this coming year is that library subscriptions are falling; the Board discussed strategies for building subscriptions back up in the future. Out of ~2,550 library subscriptions, ESA is down 10%, some of which are due to the Rowecom backruptcy, but ESA will track which other subscriptions have lapsed and whether there is a pattern. Executive Director McCarter will explore creative ways to bring libraries back. The Board made the following suggestions for revisions:
      1. Maintain long-range planning funds at $10,000
      2. Include funds for the ESA president or representative to remain active in the Council for Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP), especially considering the current emphasis on environmental and ecological sciences.
      3. The Finance Committee will develop a strategy for the restricted funds.
        The Board recommended that a revised budget be brought to the August meeting, when it will be recommended to the ESA Council for adoption. 
    3. Editor-in-Chief; Issues in Ecology
      Publications Committee Chair Jim Reichman forwarded names of three candidates for the Board’s consideration as the new editor-in-chief of Issues. President-elect Schlesinger moved, and Past President Matson seconded that we offer the role to Bill Murdoch, UC-Santa Barbara. This was unanimously approved. 
    4. Public Affairs Office Plan
      At the request of the GB, Director for Public Affairs Nadine Lymn presented a comprehensive description of the activities of the PAO in ESA. Compared with other societies, ESA is extremely active and effective, and the GB recognizes the tremendous effort and dedication of PAO Director Lymn. The Board’s request reflects the urgency we feel in reaching the broadest audience possible about ecological issues. A discussion followed with suggestions for future work that could be taken on by the ESA and the PAO:
      1. Develop a set of principles by which the Ecological Society is to be guided in when providing input into policy;
      2. Develop an ESA Award for a member of Congress who champions ecological issues;
      3. Invite Congressional staff members to annual meetings;
      4. Develop a database of citizen scientists by expertise that can be made widely available;
      5. Support a Policy Analyst;
      6. Support a Government Relations officer;
      7. Increased information dissemination to the public by way of press briefings, public service announcements, underwriting radio programs, offering an ESA Media Award, and preparing papers for educators.
      8. Increase and foster collaborations in Latin America and Canada.
        Long and short-term goals for the PAO will be further developed by the Public Affairs Committee, the Visions Committee, and the Governing Board.
    5. Nominations Committee
      Nominations for new officers, which were moved, seconded, and approved are as follows:

      Chris Field (Carnegie Institute)
      Nancy Grimm (Arizona State)
      Vice President for Science
      Phil Robertson (Michigan State)
      Gus Shaver (MBL Ecosystems Center)
      Jill Baron (USGS)
      David Inouye (U. Maryland)
      Tracy Benning (U. San Francisco)
      Dee Boersma (U. Washington)
      Mark Hay (Georgia Tech)
      Shahid Naeem (U. Washington)
      Board of Professional Certification
      Jeff Klopatek (Arizona State, incumbent)
      Diane Wickland (NASA)
      Ned Fetcher (U. Scranton)
      David Breshears (Los Alamos Lab)
      Nate Stephenson (USGS)
      Carmen Cid (E. Connecticut State Univ.

    6. SEEDS Funding
      The Board discussed additional strategies for funding the ESA SEEDS program, with the following list of possibilities and GB members and staff assigned to follow up:

      Macy Foundation – Melillo
      Walter Massey Foundation – Melillo and Taylor
      Elvira Quevas (U. Puerto Rico): Matson to ask her for sources 
      Corporate partners: Alcoa – Christensen; TNC – Bartuska, Brewer, Taylor.;
      Additionally, Taylor or McCarter will circulate a list of potential funders to the Past Presidents’ Forum and the GB.

    7. Position Papers
      1. GMO update: the GMO paper went out for review, including the new step of offering the entire ESA membership the chance to comment. The process seems to be working. This paper should be submitted to the PAC by mid-summer.
      2. Effects of Biodiversity on Ecosystem Functioning: Ecological Principles update. This paper is complete, but has not gone out for review. Past President Matson, with ex-Member-at-Large Denslow (the monitor) will follow up with David Hooper, lead author of the paper, to determine whether it should proceed as an ESA Technical Report, or be submitted to Ecol. Appl. as an unsolicited manuscript.
      3. Invasive Species: the Vice Presidents for Science, Public Affairs, and Education and Human Resources are to offer guidance to ex-Member-at-Large Denslow (the monitor) on whether this particular paper should go forward and under what timeline.
      4. Fire Ecology: a committee composed of the Vice Presidents for Science, Public Affairs, Education and Human Resources are to decide how to proceed with this paper, and respond by mid-June to Jon Keeley, the lead author.
      5. New position papers: There was a discussion regarding the confusion among ESA members and the Board as to the types of papers produced as ESA Statements (as opposed to manuscripts submitted to our journals) and their purpose. One model suggested is that there should be four types of papers: short policy statements; rapid turnaround letters signed by the President; scholarly documents (e.g. Reports); and education products (e.g. Issues). It was decided to put a moratorium on all further position paper proposals (including a current proposal for an Atmospheric Deposition position paper) while a committee composed of the Vice Presidents for Science, Public Affairs, Education and Human Resources, and the Publication Committee Chair figures this out.
      6. A proposal for an Atmospheric Deposition position paper was not approved (see above), but the Board suggested the authors consider it for submission to Issues in Ecology. 
    8. Annual Meeting Theme
      1. Program Chair Swetnam submitted several meeting themes for the Portland 2004 annual meeting to the Board, all highlighting the Lewis and Clark expedition bicentennial. The Board expressed concern over the Euro-American emphasis, and asks that Swetnam and committee consider other ideas for a meeting theme that are more inclusive of indigenous people. Judith Vergun was suggested as a good contact for help on this topic, and Vice President for Education and Human Affairs Brewer also offered her tribal connections.
      2. The Board approved Dr. Scott Franklin (University of Memphis) as the local host for the Memphis 2006 annual meeting.
      3. The Meetings committee presented requests to the Board to approve San Jose, CA for the 2007 annual meeting and Milwaukee, WI for the 2008 annual meeting. The Board stated a strong desire to explore the possibility of meeting in Mexico, and asked for a report back on its feasibility. Approval for the Milwaukee locale was postponed pending the Mexico report.


  1. New Business
    1. Director for Science Duke presented a prospectus for an international conference co-sponsored by ESA on the Ecological Consequences of War. Such a conference would address the full array of ecological effects, from preparation activities for war, actual conflicts, and postwar recovery and restoration. The Board agreed it was an important issue, questioned whether there was enough of a primary literature to draw upon, and asked Duke to proceed with planning efforts, including searching for potential funding sources.
    2. The members of the Board of Professional Certification are all currently elected, but perhaps it is more appropriate that some or all members be appointed instead. President Bartuska, Past President Matson, and Secretary Baron will discuss this topic and make recommendations at the August GB meeting.
    3. Distribution of funds from the Millennium Fund this year will include money for translation and printing of two Issues in Ecology into Spanish, partial support for the Congressional Fellow, and partial support for the Meeting of the Americas. Information identifying these recipients will be distributed to donors, as part of a marketing effort to get more Millennium Fund supporters.
    4. GB approved the nomination of Wendy Anderson as the new chair of the Grants and Fellowships subcommittee, and thanks Sharon Lawler, who is rotating out of that position.
    5. Revision of Bylaw #8 of the ESA Bylaws, to include references to the Editor-in-Chief of Frontiers in Ecology and Environment, and clarify the difference between day-to-day supervision and scientific oversight will be proposed by Secretary Baron.

Respectfully submitted,

Jill Baron, Secretary