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Volume 12, Issue 4

November 2005


1. Maintaining the Research-Implementation Continuum in Conservation, by Richard Cowling

2. Local Chapters Report

3. The Ecology of Fishing Down Marine Webs, by Daniel Pauly

4. Updates from Regional Sections and Working Groups

5. Editorial: How to Keep Science Out of the U.S. Endangered Species Act

6. Correction to Editor’s Report, SCB Newsletter 12(3)

7. Editorial: Economic Growth, Biodiversity Conservation, and SCB

8. Treasurer’s Report: September 2005

9. 2006 Annual Meeting: Call for Abstracts for Papers, Posters, and Student Awards

10. Announcements

11. SCB Committees Address Strategic Plan



Like many members of SCB, I embarked upon a research career that was inspired by a deep love and concern for nature. I did the usual stuff: published papers on the ecology of species and ecosystems, presented research results at long-winded scientific meetings, and supervised a cohort of postgraduate students. Much of our research team’s work was applied, in the sense that there were embedded messages about management and conservation. No one seemed to take much notice of these.

Then, in the early 1990s, I accepted an appointment that was explicitly about conservation. By this time, conservation biology was a rapidly ripening discipline and a consciously applied one-indeed, a crisis discipline. Our research became more focused in that we concentrated on problems that we perceived to be important. We researched all sorts of things and some of our papers were even cited. Yet our impact on the ground was slight. This was frustrating.

In the late 1990s, our organization (Institute for Plant Conservation at the University of Cape Town) was awarded a grant to conduct a conservation plan for the terrestrial component of the biota of the Cape Floristic Region. The products were acclaimed by our peers (Balmford 2003) and formed the spatial backbone of the Cape Action for People and the Environment (CAPE) Programme. This program subsequently has attracted a great deal of money from international donors, including the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund and the Global Environment Facility.

We learned many things from our CAPE experience (Cowling and Pressey 2003). Some of these are technical and I won’t bore you with the details here (see Driver et al. 2003). The most important, I believe, was the realization-a kind of epiphany for dull-witted natural scientists-that conservation is all about the choices that people make. We realized that as scientists, we need to view ourselves as enablers in a social process: we can provide those who are empowered to make these choices-the implementers-with information that extends the range of options available to them. And our job is to ensure that these include compelling options that safeguard nature rather than discount it. If we are going to be effective, then we need to understand how our study region works, not only ecologically, but also socially and economically. So we have to climb off our academic thrones and work with our stakeholders. These may comprise a wide spectrum of society: farmers, planners, peasants, developers, and officials.

How to do this is an essay topic of its own (for some pointers regarding conservation planning, see Pierce et al. 2005). The important message is that there should exist a research-implementation continuum. Researchers need to work closely with stakeholders, especially those responsible for implementing conservation action, in order to ensure that their products are user-useful and user-friendly. This is not trivial, because these stakeholders may come from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds and be associated with many different sectors, some of which traditionally have scant regard for nature. Feedback from stakeholders enables conservation scientists to continually fine-tune their approaches and products, thereby making them more useful and effective.

But in the main, we don’t do this. Instead, we persist in overwhelming ourselves with increasingly sophisticated analyses of the same problems. Our research may end up in high-impact journals, and draw all sorts of accolades from our peers, but it seems to do very little to safeguard nature. As Andrew Knight puts it, “We have become mired in an implementation crisis” (Knight et al. in press). By acknowledging the need for a research-implementation continuum and, indeed, the existence of a conservation-action pathway that encompasses everything from data collection to on-the-ground action (Knight et al. in press), we may yet be able to drag ourselves out of this crisis.

But this research-implementation feedback works both ways: the implementers need to keep researchers in the loop after they have delivered the initial products. In essence, one becomes involved in what action research calls the action-reflection cycle (McNiff and Whitehead 2003). This cycle breaks down if some of the actors are missing. In South Africa, the institutions created for implementing bioregional programs such as CAPE have excluded the scientists who developed the conservation plans in the first place. This was a mistake. Strategies need constant updating, as reflection by scientists, stakeholders, and implementers identifies new and more effective ways of dealing with blockages and barriers to implementation. But the enabling bureaucrats aren’t listening. Instead, they are locked into the rigid world of deadlines and tick boxes that constrain innovation. Progress suffers.

The responsibility for breaking this deadlock lies with both groups-scientists and implementers alike. In this regard, we can learn much from management science, where all sorts of wise words have been written on closing the “knowing-doing” gap (Pfeffer and Sutton 1999). Much of the solution lies in effective teamwork. The root causes of nature’s plight-overpopulation and overconsumption-are complex problems which our predominantly biological backgrounds as conservation scientists do not equip us to tackle adequately. Obstacles notwithstanding (Campbell 2005), new “transdisciplines” (Max-Neef 2005) need to emerge from teamwork involving natural scientists, social scientist and scholars from the humanities (Penn 2003), as well as with the people who, by decree or democracy, make the decisions that can save or imperil nature. We need teams led by people with compassion and empathy (Goleman 1994). Dedicated and collaborative teamwork should not be intimidating. It is actually fascinating, productive and effective. Go on, try it.


I am deeply appreciative of the innumerable insights gained from my colleagues and friends, Andrew Balmford, Andrew Knight, Mandy Lombard, Mathieu Rouget, Jan Vlok and Trevor Wolf. Thank you! But most of all, to my dear wife Shirley Pierce, thanks so much for love, balance, and perspective.

Literature Cited

Balmford, A. 2003. Conservation planning in the real world: South Africa shows the way. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 18:435-438.

Campbell, L. 2005. Overcoming obstacles to interdisciplinary research. Conservation Biology 19:574-577.

Cowling, R.M. and R.L. Pressey. 2003. Introduction to systematic conservation planning in the Cape Floristic Region. Biological Conservation 122:1-13.

Driver, A., R.M. Cowling, and K. Maze. 2003. Planning for living landscapes: perspectives and lessons from South Africa. Center for Applied Biodiversity Science at Conservation International, Washington, D.C. and Botanical Society of South Africa, Cape Town.

Knight, A.T., R.M. Cowling, and B.M. Campbell. 2005. Planning for implementation: an operational model for implementing conservation action. Conservation Biology, in press.

Goleman, D. 1994. Emotional intelligence. Bantam, New York.

Max-Neef, M.A. 2005. Foundations of transdisciplinarity. Ecological Economics 53:5-16.

McNiff, J. and J. Whitehead. 2003. Action research: principles and practice. Routledge Falmer, London.

Penn, D.J. 2003. Evolutionary roots of our environmental problems: towards a Darwinian ecology. The Quarterly Review of Biology 78:275-301.

Pfeffer, J. and R.I. Sutton. 1999. Knowing “what” to do is not enough: turning knowledge into action. California Management Review 42(1):83-107.

Pierce, S.M., R.M. Cowling, A.T. Knight, A.T. Lombard, M. Rouget, and T. Wolf. 2005. Systematic conservation planning products for land-use planning: interpretation for implementation. Biological Conservation 125:441-458.

Richard Cowling received a 2005 Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Conservation Biology for his leadership of conservation planning and implementation programs that have set the global standard for participatory, systematic conservation and helped to establish a globally significant network of formal and informal conservation areas to maximize persistence and diversification of biodiversity in the face of global change.


SCB’s 2005 annual meeting was a resounding success for local chapters. In contrast to previous years, local chapters had a strong presence. This year we had three major activities: a highly productive annual chapter business roundtable, a new dialogue with the North America Section about chapter-section relations, and our first chapter information booth. Many thanks to all who participated or contributed to these activities. Outcomes included new resources for chapter support, growing interest in forming new chapters around the world, and plans for a chapter workshop at the 2006 annual meeting. During the past several years, the Chapter Advisors Committee has worked to strengthen chapter support and visibility in SCB, and Brasilia was proof positive of our progress.

Details about our activities are below. Please send questions or comments to Fiona Nagle, chair of the Chapter Advisors Committee, finagle@umn.edu. The chapter Web page also provides a great deal of information: /SCB/Activities/Chapters/.

Chapter Information Booth

This was the first time local chapters hosted an exhibition booth, and we now plan to host a booth each year. The booth generated considerable interest in current and potential chapters and had a fairly steady stream of visitors. Posters, flyers, newsletters, and a large world map of chapter locations were contributed by seven chapters and SCB’s Executive Office. The 2005 booth was hosted by the Bolivia Chapter, especially Alejandra Domic, chapter president, and Jose Capriles. Ingrid Hogle, a new chapter advisor, also helped to staff the booth. We found that the booth allowed us both to highlight an individual chapter and to promote chapters in general. Accordingly, we plan to ask a chapter based near the annual meeting location to host a booth each year.

Chapter-Section Dialogue

Steve Trombulak (President, North America Section), Alan Thornhill (Executive Director, SCB), Paul Beier (Chapter representative on the Board of Governors, 2003-2005), and Fiona Nagle (Chair, Chapter Advisors Committee) started a dialogue about potential relationships between local chapters and Regional Sections. We hope to continue this dialogue and expand it to include other Regional Sections as the number of chapters outside North America continues to increase. Steve was quite enthusiastic. He would like to hear from chapters in North America about their needs and desires for building their SCB community and providing chapter members with resources for professional development. Please send comments and suggestions to trombulak@middlebury.edu.

Initial support for chapters from the North America Section includes an offer to sponsor and coordinate a speaker for North America chapter meetings. This may be of interest for obtaining keynote speakers for chapter symposia, meetings, or seminars, and for new or struggling chapters that would benefit from a “chapter pep talk” or revitalization. In return for this support, Steve encourages chapter members to become SCB and Section members. SCB and Section membership confers the right to vote; regional policies and initiatives that have effects at the local level can benefit greatly from chapter involvement and voices. More information on Section initiatives is available at /SCB/Activities/Sections/NAmerica/.

In addition, SCB chapters now have the opportunity to represent themselves at regional meetings of organizations other than SCB. Alan Thornhill has offered to support and collaborate with chapters on hosting a SCB information booth at these meetings, and Sections can be involved as well. This is an excellent opportunity for chapters to promote their group, create an educational forum, access the meeting, and strengthen their links to SCB and Sections.

Chapter Business Roundtable Highlights

Nine active and future chapters were represented at this year’s roundtable. Experiences, concerns, and food were shared, and some excellent news, ideas, and projects resulted.

Chapter Activity 2004-2005

-- SCB has two new chapters. A chapter at the University of Maine became active in mid-2004. The Nairobi-based East Africa chapter, which encompasses six countries, was chartered in July 2005.

-- Chapters are being formed at Iowa State University and Ohio State University.

-- Two pairs of chapters have become “sister chapters”: Bolivia and University of California, Davis, and East Africa and University of California, Berkeley.

-- We received eight inquiries to form chapters from Bhutan, China, Columbia, Pakistan, Philippines, Slovenia, and the United States (Oregon and southern California).

-- The oldest continuously active chapter, chartered in 1991, is based at Colorado State University.

-- There are now 22 active SCB chapters: 20 in North America, one in South America, and one in Africa.

-- Chapter “home ranges” vary from a single university to multiple states to multiple countries. Most chapters are about 80% graduate students, but the proportion of graduate students, undergraduates, and professionals varies.

Focus: Latin American Chapters

The Bolivia Chapter has been active for eight years. Most members of the chapter are undergraduate biology students, and approximately 25% are SCB members. The chapter has been organizing highly successful short courses on conservation biology in La Paz for undergraduates, inviting local professionals to give the presentations. The chapter charges a small fee, which they use to support their environmental education efforts in grade schools.

Seven other SCB members expressed great enthusiasm for starting new chapters in Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Mexico. They hope that by starting SCB chapters in their countries they can promote environmental education among the general population and decision-makers. They also see SCB chapters as a promising way to bring together conservation professionals who currently tend to work in isolation, and also to provide much-needed professional development for students.

Please contact Fiona Nagle if you or your chapter have interest in assisting or mentoring these nascent chapters.

New Resources for Chapters

-- SCB has two new initiatives intended to strengthen our local chapters and encourage chapter members to play more-active roles in our global community; see below.

-- A guide to starting and running a SCB chapter is now available at the chapter Web site. This is a comprehensive resource created with input from active, successful chapters.

-- A chapter listserv exists for chapter officers and other interested persons. Please contact Fiona Nagle to be added or to post to the listserv.

-- SCB can provide awards for papers and presentations at chapter conferences

-- SCB’s Executive Office can host individual chapter email lists. Contact Kat Powers, kpm@, for more information. Kat is also the Executive Office Chapter Advocate and helps provide logistical support for chapters.

2006 Annual Meeting

-- Inherit / Conserve. This SCB program benefits researchers, chapters, and countries in need by redistributing used equipment such as field gear, textbooks, and lab materials. We encourage SCB members and chapters to donate and to assist with this project.

-- Sister Chapter Fundraisers. Chapters at the University of California, Berkeley and University of California, Davis are planning to raise funds to help bring members of sister chapter members in Bolivia and East Africa to the 2006 annual meeting. Free local lodging also is being explored. Other chapters are welcome to help with this effort, or to provide similar assistance to other new or sister chapters.

Chapter Advisors Committee Updates

-- Tom Sisk has succeeded Paul Beier as chapter representative on SCB’s Board of Governors. Tom’s term will run until the close of the 2008 annual meeting.

-- Fiona Nagle is chair of the committee.

-- Lisa Delissio has retired from the committee. Ingrid Hogle (University of California, Davis) and Eric Martin (Texas A&M University) have joined the committee.

Fiona Nagle


Most of our local chapters are composed of students who may have trouble raising funds for events such as a seminar series or annual meeting, or for producing a brochure to attract new members. To help build the capacity of new chapters, SCB is willing to provide these groups with a grant of US$200 in each of their first two years. A “new” chapter is one that is not located within 80 km (50 miles) of another chapter that has been active for more than two years.

If your chapter is less than one year old, you can apply for start-up funds by submitting a short (two-page maximum) application that specifies (1) identity of chapter officers, all of whom must be SCB members (remember, membership rates are as low as $10), (2) the dollar amount of dues the chapter charges each of its members (you can’t expect SCB to support you if you won’t support yourselves!), (3) the number of chapter members, how many are members of SCB, and when the chapter became active (or re-activated), and (4) a description (maximum 500 words) of the one or two most important activities that the chapter will undertake. At least one of these activities should be annual. If your chapter does not have an approved charter, please also submit (5) a proposed charter and bylaws modified for your chapter. (Generic bylaws and charter are available at /SCB/Local_Chapters_EN.asp. The Web site also gives helpful advice on the types of activities that successful chapters have undertaken.) Applications may be submitted at any time. Submit all materials to Kat Powers-Morris, kpm@.

One year after receipt of the initial grant, the chapter may apply for an additional $200. Applications for renewal of support must include (1) an accounting of total revenue from the previous year in each of three categories, membership dues, donations, and grants, demonstrating that the chapter raised at least $200 in addition to the grant from SCB, and (2) a one-page report describing the chapter’s activities, specifically its progress with respect to the primary activities described in the original application, and anticipated future activities. Future activities need not be different from current activities; the chapter might elect to pursue fewer activities more fully or to experiment with a different type of activity. The report should convey how the chapter has reflected on its first year of activities and made any adjustments it felt were necessary.

Preference will be given to applications from chapters outside of North America. Additional selection criteria are quality of the activity plans (a reasonable plan for a small number of useful activities is more impressive than a long and unrealistic list) and size of the chapter. Chapters cannot request a third year of support. This is a pilot program that will be re-evaluated during 2007-2008 and continued if most initial grant recipients have become successful local chapters.


The number of active local SCB chapters increased from 14 in 2002 to 21 as of April 2005. Our local chapters provide superb annual meetings that allow conservation biologists to exchange information and build relationships, seminars in conservation biology that raise awareness in university communities, and other valuable local services. However, although officers of local chapters are required to be SCB members, most members of local chapters are not SCB members. This pattern is especially prevalent among students, who arguably may stand

to gain more than established professionals from becoming part of regional and international conservation communities.

To address this issue, SCB is targeting a new small-grant program toward student-dominated chapters. The program encourages students to join the global community of conservation professionals and to contribute their energy and new perspectives to SCB. Because most students are likely to join at the $10 rate (no subscriptions), we do not expect to realize net revenue. The program will be a success, however, to the extent that it helps build local and global communities.

Any local chapter in which at least two-thirds of members are students may apply for a grant of up to US$150 from SCB’s Executive Office. The grant may be used only to pay for or subsidize SCB memberships (with or without subscriptions). A local chapter may, at its discretion, use the grant to pay up to 100% of the cost of individual SCB memberships. For example, a chapter could use its grant to underwrite 15 memberships at the $10 level, five memberships with subscriptions to Conservation In Practice, three low-income nation subscriptions to Conservation Biology, or to subsidize 80% of the cost of two high-income nation subscriptions to Conservation Biology. An individual member of a local chapter may receive only one subsidy, which must be awarded during his or her first year of membership in the chapter and SCB.

Renewals for a second year of chapter support are not automatic; applications for continuing support must list names of individuals who received subsidies and indicate which of those individuals renewed their SCB membership after the first (subsidized) year.

Submit applications by 15 April 2006 to kpm@. Applications must include (1) a 300-500 word description of the chapter’s annual activities and (2) a list of chapter members, indicating those who are students, already members of SCB, will receive subsidies, and the total subsidy for each recipient. Preference will be given to (a) applications from developing countries, (b) chapters with a high proportion of student members, (c) chapters with a large number of members, and (d) chapters that have remained active for two or more years.



The phenomenon wherein fisheries increasingly target smaller fish lower down in the food web, called “fishing down marine food webs” (FD), and first demonstrated in 1998, is now well documented from a variety of countries and ecosystem types. This is one reason why the Convention on Biological Diversity selected the mean trophic level of fisheries catch, renamed “Marine Trophic Index,” as one of eight indicators for “immediate testing” by its over 180 member countries.

FD was an easy transition for the fishing industry to make: moving on from one depleted stock to another traditionally has been its standard operating procedure. And FD does not have a built-in economic break: small fishes and invertebrates, which have low trophic levels, have recently experienced steep increases in their market value, so much so that they may be seen as subsidizing FD.

One aspect of FD that still needs a basic framework, however, is its ecology, or, more precisely, its ecological impact on marine ecosystems. Essentially, FD is a succession, even if it seems to reverse the usual sequence: it consists of a gradual loss of large organisms, species diversity, and structural diversity, and a gradual replacement of recently evolved, derived groups (marine mammals, bony fishes) by more primitive groups (invertebrates, notably jellyfishes, and bacteria). This is best seen when distinguishing three phases of the FD process, and by characterizing, for each phase, (1) the main features of the fishes and other nektonic organism and (2) pelagic-benthic coupling and its effect on processes in the water column.

Three Phases

The first phase, “pristine,” prevailed before humans strongly impacted ocean ecosystems. A few parts of the oceans, notably outlying areas of the South Pacific, still may be pristine, But for most of the world, pristine abundances must be recovered-reconstructed-from historical accounts and anecdotes, or inferred from archeological data.

A pristine state invariably is characterized by numerous marine mammals and large fish as top predators, the latter with biomasses often exceeding their present abundance tenfold to hundredfold. Elevated biomass of top predators implies large biomass of small prey fishes and invertebrates, though not necessarily of those opportunistic groups (shrimps, squids) that now support increasingly valuable fisheries.

In the pristine environment, benthic life is dominated by an abundant structure-forming and sessile fauna, composed of filter feeders and deposit feeders, which keep phytoplankton biomass down and prevent resuspension of sediments. As a result, the water column tends to be free of suspended particles and of nutrients leaching from them, or oligotrophic.

The second phase, “exploited,” is the phase we are in currently. It is best characterized by declines, notably declining biomasses of large fishes, declining sizes and diversity of fishes in fisheries catches, declining trophic levels of the same (and hence the FD phenomenon), and declining benthos.

Initially, these declines are compensated for by cascades effects, manifest in the emergence of new fisheries for squids and other invertebrates, but these eventually decline as well.

Benthic life is modified: biogenic structures, built over centuries by filter and detritus feeders, are increasingly destroyed by bottom trawling, and replaced by small errant benthic animals and the benthic (polyp) stages of jellyfishes.

This leads to an increased eutrophication of the water column, owing to the increasing scarcity of the animals and structures that were cropping the phytoplankton and consuming the marine snow (detritus), which is now resuspended by storms and by trawling itself.

The third phase, “fully degraded,” will follow on the continuation of present trends-although in some places, e.g., estuaries such as the Chesapeake Bay, many of the features associated with this third stage have already developed. In the Chesapeake Bay, fishing not only has eliminated virtually all animals above the size of striped bass, the current top predator, but more importantly has eliminated the benthic filter feeders. Indeed, the oysters that until 150 years ago formed giant reefs are reported as having been capable of filtering the water of Chesapeake Bay in three days. Their absence (again, a result of fishing) is the ultimate reason why pollution from effluents now can have such strong effects, and why harmful algae bloom. This also applies to other water bodies, estuarine or not, which are rendered less resilient by fishing, and easier for invasive species to overwhelm.

The biological endpoint of ecosystem degradation is the “dead zone,” a zone free of oxygen and of multicellular life as a result of excess nutrients in the water column and of bacteria, rather than benthic animals, processing the resulting abundance of marine snow and other detritus. There are growing numbers of these dead zones throughout the world, from the northern Gulf of Mexico and the northern Adriatic Sea to the Bohai Sea in China, and there can be no argument that the underlying ecosystems are fully degraded.


These three phases of fishing down, pristine, exploited, and fully degraded, are schematic; they could be further subdivided, and defined more rigorously. Still, even in their present, preliminary form, they provide a coherent framework for many of the changes observed in ocean ecosystems. Our task is to further develop this framework.

Daniel Pauly received SCB’s 2005 Edward T. LaRoe III Memorial Award for his leadership, innovation, and effectiveness in conveying the results of his research and their implications for management of fish stocks to fisheries managers and policy makers worldwide.



With the help of our information officer, a career guide for the conservation biology discipline in Africa in both English and French is now available on the Section’s Web site (/Africa). If you want a copy of the guide but cannot download PDF documents via the internet, please email Stephen Awoyemi (stephen_awoyemi@).

A capacity-development project aimed at young African conservation biologists that was launched at SCB’s 2004 annual meeting is currently in its second stage. The project provides opportunities for young Africans to present their research with the assistance of senior scientists. The second stage involves the completion of a scientific article appropriate for a peer-reviewed journal. The majority of participants in the project successfully have given presentations and had peer-reviewed publications accepted for a special issue of Biological Conservation. As a follow-up, an event is being planned for SCB’s 2006 annual meeting to give African scientists the opportunity to discuss how best to use their scientific results to inform policy and management.

Since the 2005 annual meeting, the flow of discussion has increased among female scientists with interest in biological conservation in Africa. Both genders are welcome to participate in continued dialogue. The goal of this effort is to promote the discipline of conservation biology and increase its appeal to women, especially young scientists from developing countries with an emphasis on Africa. For more information, contact Christina Ellis (CEenbrousse@) or the Africa Section board (Africa@).

SCB’s 2006 annual meeting presents an opportunity to emphasize social issues that bear on the real challenges of biological conservation in Africa. Accordingly, the Section hopes to convene a symposium in addition to the Section’s annual members’ meeting to discuss four major issues related to conservation in Africa - science, conservation, policy, and development - and the role of SCB and its 2007 annual meeting in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. We are pleased to extend an invitation to researchers, students, managers, policy makers, and funding agencies with interest in conservation in Africa to join the Africa section in its presentations and meetings in San Jose. Scientists in the global environmental research community who address human dimensions are particularly welcome, especially those interested in land use and land cover change. Financial assistance from any organization that can help support attendance of Africans at the meeting is most welcome; please contact the Africa Section board or programs@ (attention: Delali Dovie).

Delali Dovie


The third annual meeting of the Board of Directors of the Austral and Neotropical America Section was held 29-30 August at the Centro Tupper de Investigación y Desarrollo, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama City, Panama. The meeting was attended by seven board members: J.A. Simonetti (President, Chile), R. Medellín (President Elect, Mexico), J.P. Rodríguez (Past President, Venezuela), A. Sánchez-Azofeifa (Chief Financial Officer, Costa Rica / Canada), L.F. Aguirre (Membership and Programs, Bolivia), J. Jiménez (Conservation, Chile), and J. Calvo (Nominations, Policy, and Audit, Costa Rica). During the meeting, Simonetti completed his term as President and Medellín assumed that position for 2005-2007.

In Panama, the strategic plan adopted during the first annual Board of Directors meeting in La Habana, Cuba was critically reviewed with respect to accomplishments and challenges. The Section adopted SCB’s strategic planning process [see SCB Newsletter 12(3)] as its own, focusing activities on the same issues adopted in La Habana.

The Section has been very active during 2005. From 2003-2005 we organized two series of seminars, organized two symposia, and co-hosted or sponsored three scientific meetings, including SCB’s 2005 annual meeting in Brasilia. To increase regional capacity building opportunities, we sponsored four graduate level courses, organized a network of video conferences, launched an ad hoc committee for student affairs, published a review of financial needs to foster capacity building in the region, and, thanks to the support of The Christensen Fund, sponsored 31 new SCB members. Seven of these memberships were given as prizes for the best conservation-related papers delivered by students and young professionals at two scientific meetings. The Section also agreed to support three new graduate level courses in Bolivia.

To facilitate access to scientific information, the Section sponsors NeoCons and has launched a Web page with information about scientific journals and regional graduate programs in conservation biology and resource management. An outcome of these activities has been an steady increase in membership, although the proportion of scientists and students from the region that are SCB members remains low.

In addition to its own meeting, the Board of Directors organized a set of lectures in association with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Lectures by W. Laurence, R. Medellín, J. Wright, and J.P. Rodríguez reached 27 students and researchers. Through opportunities such as a series of lectures (as in Guatemala) or by operating jointly with other scientific organizations, the Section plans to contribute directly to increasing the capacity of a new generation of conservation professionals in the region.

Cristian E. Olivo Quiroga


In September the Board of Directors met with other members of the Scientific Committee of the First European Congress of Conservation Biology (ECCB) in Hatfield, England to review symposium proposals submitted for the ECCB. We were encouraged by both the quantity and quality of submissions and are pleased to announce a provisional list of symposium titles.

Agri-environment schemes in new EU member states

Biodiversity and conservation values of urban habitat fragments

Biodiversity conservation in boreal forests

Conservation and sustainable use of wild relatives of socio-economically important plants

Conservation consequences of genetically modified plants

Conservation in botanic gardens

Conservation of European amphibians and reptiles

Conservation of European crayfish

Conserving large carnivores in European landscapes

Diversity for Europe: learning from other continents

Diversity of important transboundary wetlands of Europe

European owl conservation

Evidence-based conservation-theory and practice

Fighting invasive exotic plants

Nature conservation in freshwater ecosystems

Planning for conservation in the European landscape

Predictive distribution modeling

The role of marine protected areas in the conservation of biodiversity and fisheries management

In addition to these symposia the ECCB will host both contributed oral and poster sessions. Abstracts for papers and posters are now being accepted and we encourage you to visit the congress Web site, , for details.

The Board meeting in Hatfield was timed to coincide with the annual meeting of the British Ecological Society, which hosted a session on conservation in Europe. The British Ecological Society invited members of the Section board to present their work to highlight the discipline of conservation biology in Europe. The session was an excellent opportunity to enhance the profile and reputation of the Section and to promote ECCB. The session was well attended and enthusiastically received.

As always, the board encourages Section members to become involved in the activities of the Section. Opportunities to participate exist in both the Education Committee and the Policy Committee. The Education Committee is continuing its work to compile a database of undergraduate and graduate conservation education opportunities across Europe. If you would like to become involved or simply wish to provide information about opportunities in your country or at your institution, contact Renato Massa (renato.massa@unimib.it).

Another way to get involved is to take part in the ECCB, so start thinking about an abstract and keep 22-26 August 2006 free in your diary!

Please contact the board with any questions or comments (europe@).

Owen Nevin


SCB2006 and the Third Symposium on Marine Conservation Biology

The Marine Section board continues its planning for the Third Symposium on Marine Conservation Biology, which will be integrated into SCB’s 2006 annual meeting. There was a strong response to the call for symposium proposals and we look forward to an enthusiastic marine presence at the meeting.

Marine Policy News

Within the United States, marine policy news continues to be dominated by a lack of response from the current administration and Congress to two seminal reports from the National Ocean Commission and Pew Commission that outlined an aggressive plan for ecosystems management and other changes in the management of oceans and coastal zones.

In the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Florida’s governor recently appeared to be moving away from his previous position of opposing all oil and gas development off the Florida coast. Citing high costs of oil and gasoline following the hurricanes, some congressional leaders likewise are encouraging new drilling in U.S. coastal waters. According to Interior Secretary Norton, 3050 of the 4000 oil and gas platforms managed by the U.S. Minerals Management Service in the Gulf of Mexico were in the path of Katrina or Rita, and 108 older platforms were destroyed (accounting for 1.7% of oil production and 0.9% of gas production). Fifty-three additional platforms suffered significant damage and are being repaired. Overall, a substantial portion of U.S. domestic fossil fuels production, 30% of oil and 21% of natural gas, comes from the 1.76 billion acres of the country’s outer continental shelf.

The hurricanes left behind a tremendous amount of trash and toxic waste. This poses challenges both to public health and to biodiversity in the region.

In Oregon, researchers have pointed to an apparent increase in toxic algae blooms that they believe may be a result of climate change, and human impacts on the coasts with resulting elevated levels of the toxin demoic acid.

The warmer Caribbean Sea waters that have fueled hurricanes also may be exacerbating coral bleaching. Corals near Florida, Cuba, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Barbados, and elsewhere may be undergoing the most substantial bleaching event since 1997-1998.

Hawaii’s governor signed legislation protecting the waters out to three miles of the northwestern Hawaiian Islands from extractive activities. It appears that the state may be seeking to extend the same level of protection to 200 miles offshore.

John Cigliano and Rob Wilder


Two items to discuss this month: nominations for the Board of Directors and the results of our poll on hosting a semi-annual meeting for the North America Section.

First, nominations . . . We need to elect three people to join the board in June 2006 to replace the members who will complete their three-year terms. In addition, we need to elect a President Elect, who will serve in that capacity for two years and then assume the presidency for two years.

The Nominations Committee (Past President David Wilcove and soon-to-be Past President Steve Trombulak) for the Section is currently soliciting interest for all of these positions. To be nominated, a candidate must be a member in good standing of both SCB and the Section. Board responsibilities include an interest in working to develop the Section as an active body for advancing conservation biology in North America and for representing conservation biologists in this region. Responsibilities for the President Elect include an interest in providing leadership to the Section board to achieve these goals, as well as representing the Section on SCB’s Board of Governors. In practical terms, it is expected that members of the board will respond to email concerning Section business, participate in occasional conference calls, and, if possible, attend the Section board meeting held during one lunch period at SCB’s annual meeting.

If you are interested in serving, please send a statement of interest to the Nominations Committee (c/o either trombulak@middlebury.edu or dwilcove@Princeton.edu) including name, current position, contact information, which position (board member or President Elect) interests you, and a brief (200-word maximum) statement concerning your interest. Statements of interest must be received by 15 January 2006. An announcement about the ballot and election procedures will be made via email to all members of the Section during early 2006. Elections will be held via the Web during mid 2006.

Second, the results of the poll . . . Almost 400 people generously participated in the poll, for which I am very grateful. This kind of participation and input is vital to helping the board act in accordance to the will of the Section membership. Here are the results of the first four questions.

1. Select the response that best represents your feelings. Please check only one.

-- A North American meeting of some kind in the non-North America years is a good idea; without it, I would probably not go to a SCB meeting that year. 236 (61.1%)

-- A North American meeting of some kind in the non-North America years is a good idea; without it, I would probably go to the international meeting, but if there was a North American meeting I would go to it instead. 15 (3.9%)

-- A North American meeting of some kind in the non-North America years is a good idea; I would be interested in going to both the North American and international meetings. 33 (8.5%)

-- No need to develop a North American meeting because I would only want to go to one SCB meeting per year and I would prefer to go to the annual meeting even when it is held outside of North America. 67 (17.4%)

-- No need to develop a North American meeting because even if I don’t go to the annual meeting outside of North America, I probably would not go to the North American meeting anyway. 35 (9.1%)

-- No response. 2

2. Regardless of your response to Question 1, if the North America Section did offer some kind of Section meeting in the non-North America years, which of the following approaches for the meeting do you think are worth considering? Please check all that apply.

-- Co-host the meeting with another conservation-oriented professional society, such as the Natural Areas Association or the U.S. Chapter of the Society for Ecological Economics. 326 (45.3%)

-- Host the meeting on our own, such as we usually do for our annual meetings. 204 (28.3%)

-- Promote and support the development of meetings among some or all of the local chapters rather than having a single North American meeting. 190 (26.4%)

-- No response. 4

3. With respect to the options listed in Question 2, which one represents your preferred approach?

-- Co-host the meeting with another conservation-oriented professional society, such as the Natural Areas Association or the U.S. Chapter of the Society for Ecological Economics. 220 (57.9%)

-- Host the meeting on our own, such as we usually do for our annual meetings. 73 (19.2%)

-- Promote and support the development of meetings among some or all of the local chapters rather than having a single North American meeting. 87 (22.9%)

-- No response. 8

4. SCB will impose a two-month black-out period around the SCB meeting date (usually held in June or July) on when a North America Section meeting could be held. This means any such meeting only could be held between September and April. Which one period represents your preferred choice for when such a meeting is held?

-- September - November 138 (36.1%)

-- December - January 66 (17.3%)

-- February - April 178 (46.6%)

-- No response. 6

The sentiment of the Section membership seems quite clear: a Sectional meeting is a good idea, with a preference to hold the meeting in conjunction with another professional society, preferably in the boreal spring. I encourage you to look closely at the data to see what conclusions you draw from them.

The written comments that people included with their responses were impressively extensive. They are presented in their entirety, with only the personal information deleted, at /SCB/Activities/Sections/NAmerica/survey/NAsurveyResults.pdf. One of the clear patterns to emerge from the comments in the aggregate is that some people feel that hosting a Section meeting is not a good idea because it would work against North Americans attending the non-North American meeting held in the June-July-August period. The following passage is representative of that sentiment:

“I feel that a national meeting held during years in which an “international” meeting is being held would draw attendance away from the latter, which I feel would be an affront to international hosts and a disservice to the society as a whole.”

A counterpoint to this view was also expressed: many members of the Section simply are unable to attend meetings held outside of North America, and therefore holding a North American meeting of some kind is their best chance of participating in an SCB meeting that year. That this constraint falls especially heavy on our members who are graduate students or government employees is expressed by the following passages:

As a government (Forest Service research) employee it is increasingly complicated to get approval for and arrange international travel to meetings.”

Attending SCB meetings is a wonderful way for graduate students to meet and connect with their colleagues in conservation science. Although I fully support the practice of holding SCB meetings outside of North America so that non-NA’ers can more easily attend, it’s nearly impossible for most NA graduate students to acquire enough funding to attend non-NA SCB meetings-so many graduate students can only attend one or two SCB meetings during their graduate careers.”

While the increased emphasis by SCB on international growth and coordination is appropriate it is also critical that we maintain an enhanced level of information exchange and support for the many critical conservation issues in NA, which have not and will not go away. A separate NA meeting of some kind is a good strategy to address that need and hopefully would not draw attendance and support away from the international meeting, but that is an acceptable risk.”

The board takes seriously all of the feelings held on this issue. We will search to find a course for the future that maximally achieves the goals we all share-meeting the needs of all of our members, ensuring career development opportunities for the upcoming generation of conservation professionals, and support for the strategic goals of the SCB-at minimal cost. Whatever choice is made, be assured that this will be done with full consideration of all the views expressed.

If you have further thoughts on this issue, please feel free to send them directly to me (trombulak@middlebury.edu).

Steve Trombulak


In August 2005, the symposium Catch-and-release Science and its Application to Conservation and Management was convened at the American Fisheries Society (AFS) annual meeting in Anchorage, Alaska. The symposium was co-sponsored by the Freshwater Working Group of SCB and the Fisheries Management Section of AFS. The symposium included 21 high-quality presentations and concluded with a lively facilitated discussion. This comprehensive symposium was the first since the early 1990s to bring together a diverse group of catch-and-release researchers engaged in both freshwater and marine systems. Presentations focused on topics such as hooking injury and mortality, gear technology (e.g. circle hooks), physiological disturbances associated with angling, energetic / behavioral / fitness alterations following release, human dimensions of catch-and-release, and disseminating research findings to anglers through outreach.

Although participants discussed different taxa and problems, there was a common theme of identifying generalized patterns relevant to conservation and management. Another theme of the symposium, elevating the status of recreational angling among the global conservation community, reflected that the negative effects of recreational fisheries tend to be overshadowed by commercial fisheries. Emphasizing the global nature of recreational fisheries, presentations were delivered on catch-and-release in Norway, Namibia, the Bahamas, and Germany. Although many of the contributions identified potential negative consequences of catch-and-release angling, most went on to actually suggest simple ways to remedy the problems. For example, several presenters noted that fish angled during the reproductive period can have reduced reproductive success. However, this can be remedied by avoiding angling during times when fish are engaged in reproductive activity. Another presentation focused on how to educate anglers on issues associated with capture of fish in deep water. The presenter summarized all available techniques for returning fish to depth, focusing on those that have been developed for anglers by anglers. There seemed to be consensus that changing angler behavior and gear through outreach and education may be more effective than through regulation. Another contribution summarized all hooking mortality data in an attempt to evaluate whether catch-and-release angling was compatible with the premise of no-take aquatic protected areas. The conservation community can expect to hear much more on catch-and-release angling and recreational fisheries in the coming years with some of that research undoubtedly destined to appear in leading conservation journals.

Steven Cooke, Institute of Environmental Science, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario


Join the discussion list. If you haven’t already signed up for the Social Science Working Group (SSWG) discussion list, please do so at /mailman/listinfo/SSWG. The discussion list is the primary SCB outlet for SSWG updates, as well as conservation social science news, dialogue, and job and conference announcements. Please sign on and let us know what you are doing.

Call for social science paper submissions. The SSWG encourages conservation social scientists to submit abstracts for contributed papers at the 2006 annual meeting. For details please visit the meeting Web site or contact Richard Wallace, SSWG Program Committee chair, rwallace@ursinus.edu.

Call for conservation social science syllabi. The Education Committee of the SSWG is compiling sample syllabi for social science courses that focus on biodiversity conservation. Such syllabi may include courses in conservation geography, environmental / ecological economics, environmental anthropology, environmental politics and policy, environmental sociology, and conservation psychology. The compilation will provide educators a resource for designing similar courses.

Please send electronic copies of sample syllabi to William Forbes, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX 936-468-2373 USA, forbesw@sfasu.edu. Please also indicate whether you grant permission to post the syllabus on the Web. An example of such a compilation is provided by the American Society for Environmental History: /~environ/


Join a SSWG committee. The SSWG is looking for volunteers to help with the activities of its nine committees. If you’re interested in participating in any of these efforts, please contact the relevant committee chair directly.

-- Program Committee. Richard Wallace, Chair (rwallace@ursinus.edu). Coordinates SSWG involvement in the annual SCB meeting, meetings of SCB’s Regional Sections, and with Conservation Biology and Conservation In Practice.

-- Education Committee. William Forbes, Chair (forbesw@sfasu.edu). Coordinates SSWG activities that serve conservation social science researchers and academic instructors. The committee is currently compiling conservation social science syllabi and soon will solicit and edit working papers. These products will be shared with educators and practitioners through the SSWG Web site.

-- Policy Committee. Jennifer Jones, Chair (jenleejones@). Coordinates SSWG activities targeting conservation policymakers. Initial activities probably will include development of briefing packages and fact sheets for policymakers based on working papers, symposium and workshop presentations, and so forth.

-- Communications Committee. Nejem Raheem, Chair (nejemraheem@). Coordinates SSWG communication activities. Initial activities include development of the SSWG Web site, SSWG contributions to the SCB newsletter, and SSWG promotional materials.

-- Membership Committee. Peter Wilshusen, Chair (pwilshus@bucknell.edu). Coordinates SSWG membership activities. Initial activities include outreach, strengthening and diversifying the SSWG membership base, developing a membership and / or expert directory, and managing the membership database.

-- Nominations Committee. Katrina Brandon, Chair (k.brandon@). Identifies candidates for the SSWG board and possible candidates for the social science seat on SCB’s Board of Governors. Also helps to coordinate SSWG elections with SCB’s Executive Office.

-- Student Affairs Committee. Joshua Drew, Chair (jdrew@bu.edu). Initiates and contributes to student-related SSWG activities. Initial activities include identifying job and funding opportunities and developing a student paper series.

-- Audit Committee. Oliver Pergams, Chair (pergams@uic.edu). Reviews SSWG financial statements and reports.

-- Conservation Committee. Open chair. Contact Mike Mascia (michael.mascia@) for information. Coordinates SSWG activities targeting conservation practitioners. The committee’s initial activities will include compilation and delivery of social science tools to conservation practitioners.

Nejem Raheem


Like many SCB members, I have a fantastic job. I get to do research on wild things in wild places and actually get paid to do what I love. Because I enjoy such a privileged life, and because I got into this business to make a difference, I donate at least 100 hours per year to conservation activities.

One of my services has been to help write or implement recovery plans for species listed as threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. I currently serve on the team writing the recovery plan for the ocelot, and as an advisor helping to implement the plan for the Mexican spotted owl.

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed HR3824, the Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act, which would gut the Endangered Species Act in several ways. Here I address only one issue: the House bill would cripple how science is used to list species as endangered and to write recovery plans. If the Senate passes this bill, I will never serve on a recovery team again. Nor, I suspect, will many of you.

HR3824’s science provisions are a solution in search of a problem. The use of science under the Endangered Species Act is not broken and does not need to be fixed. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service already uses sound science in listing decisions, recovery plans, and consultations.

Don’t take my word for it-take the word of the U.S. Congress itself. In 2003, an arm of Congress, the Government Accountability Office, independently reviewed all 64 listing decisions made during 1999-2002. The title of the GAO report says it all: “The Fish & Wildlife Service uses sound science in listing decisions.”

The GAO further noted only ten of the 1260 domestic listed species have been removed from the endangered species list after new scientific information indicated the original listing was not warranted. More importantly, these ten species were removed from the list once the new information became available. In other words, science worked exactly as it should: it corrected errors in light of new information.

A few years earlier Congress asked the U.S. National Research Council report to evaluate how science was used under the Endangered Species Act. Their report similarly concluded there was no “major scientific issue that seriously hinders implementation of ESA.”

Clearly the use of science does not need to be fixed. But how will the House bill wreck it?

In short, Section 3 of HR3824 would make it hard for the Fish and Wildlife Service to use models (“studies without empirical data” in the language of the bill) or to use any scientific information that has not been peer-reviewed. At first glance, this seems reasonable - all scientists are in favor of empirical data and peer review! But these provisions would cripple scientific participation in conserving endangered species.

First, the bias against models runs counter to the National Research Council report (mentioned above) that unanimously recommended greater use of modeling, such as population viability analysis, in decisions and plans related to endangered species. The federal government relies on models when it launches a rocket into space, embarks on a new military technology program, designs a dam, or makes a weather forecast. Why should we pass a law telling federal agencies not to use models to help conserve endangered species?

Second, the prohibition on science that has not been peer-reviewed means that federal agencies and recovery teams could not consider information in graduate theses, reports of state and federal agencies, and documents prepared by consultants. In many recovery plans, most of the critically important information is in theses and reports that were not subject to formal peer review.

As scientists, we are trained to carefully evaluate scientific papers, peer-reviewed or not. We volunteer to write recovery plans because we can use our special training for public benefit. If the House has its way, recovery plans will be short, unscientific, and ineffective.

Scientists do make mistakes, and sometimes these mistakes affect endangered species. A recent review (which I chaired) of scientific literature on the endangered Florida Panther found some scientific inferences used in issuing biological opinions were horribly flawed. Ironically, these unsound inferences were contained in peer-reviewed, empirical papers that the new law would enshrine as “best science.” More important, after receiving our report, the Fish and Wildlife Service stopped using the flawed ideas. As with the listing decisions described above, the scientific process detected and corrected unreliable science in a timely fashion.

The beauty of science is not that it gets everything right every time, but that it is self-correcting. Good science cannot be legislated. We must rely on our scientists and our management agencies to use science responsibly. We are fortunate that, by and large, this is already the case for decisions related to endangered species.

When the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973, my home state of Arizona had no Mexican wolves, California condors, or black-footed ferrets. Thanks to the Act, these species now live in Arizona, and no Arizona species has gone extinct. For 32 years, the Endangered Species Act has invited scientists to participate in this remarkable success story. I hope the Senate will not join the House in locking us out.

I urge every SCB member in the United States to read the full text of HR3824 at http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/. You will find that abuse of science is not the only egregious flaw in this bill. It is time to let the environmental staff person in your Senators’ and Congressperson’s offices know your concerns. The Senate has yet to act, and the House will have to vote on the compromise House-Senate bill. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper, or better yet, an editorial. Your involvement can make a difference.

Paul Beier is a professor of conservation biology at Northern Arizona University and Secretary of SCB.


Figure 3 of the Editor’s Report in the September 2005 newsletter [12(3)] incorrectly implied that the mean submission to publication time of articles in Conservation Biology increased from 2003 to 2004. Several other numbers in that figure also were in error. The corrected figure is printed below. Total time from submission to publication decreased from 344 days in 2003 to 327 days in 2004 (-4.9%), indicating reasonable improvement in the overall process.


Note from the newsletter editor: we recognize that this editorial may generate discussion. Responses are welcome and will be published in future issues of the newsletter.

Recently there has been increased attention to economic growth in the conservation literature(1-4). Careful consideration of the effects of economic growth calls for action from the conservation community. We suggest that it is time for SCB to adopt a strong position on economic growth.

Economic growth consists of increasing population, rising per capita consumption, or both. As the economy grows, humans produce and consume more goods and services. According to the World Bank, the average increase in gross domestic product (GDP), the dollar value of goods and services produced by a nation in a given year, across all nations from 1960-1999 was 3.4% per year(5). Although most economists praise the rise in GDP and proclaim economic growth to be a primary societal goal(6), many conservation biologists and economists with ecological understanding instead acknowledge a fundamental conflict between economic growth and biodiversity conservation(7). The theoretical and empirical basis for this conflict is well founded(1).

Two elemental ecological principles, competitive exclusion and niche breadth, underpin the conflict. By most measures, humans are trouncing our competition as we carve out our ecological niche. Moreover, as our economies have expanded, human society has occupied a broader ecological niche. Large human populations have adapted to ecosystems we had not previously inhabited. Expanding economies depend on more extensive and intensive use of the planet’s most productive areas, diverting resources from other species for the exclusive use of humans. The most significant causes of species endangerment in the United States and Canada are directly related to sectors of the economy(1,8-10). We suggest that the basic principles of conservation biology imply a similar correlation of global GDP and globally imperiled species(11).

In the face of the conflict between economic growth and biodiversity conservation, what can SCB do? The North America Section already has adopted a position on economic growth. Major points include recognition of the conflict between economic growth and conservation, a goal of replacing the growth economy with a steady state economy that does not breach ecological carrying capacity, understanding the difference between economic development and growth, and support for prosperous transitions to steady state economies for all nations.

First, we need to build on the momentum generated by the North America Section’s adoption of the position. It is important for other Regional Sections and SCB to adopt the same position so members can speak with the full weight of the organization behind us. We anticipate some resistance from developing countries with legitimate concerns about raising living standards for their citizens. The position statement addresses these concerns: “For many nations with widespread poverty, increasing per capita consumption (or, alternatively, more equitable distributions of wealth) remains an appropriate goal for the time being, yet the ultimate goal should be the establishment of healthy ecological and social conditions within the framework of a steady state economy.” These countries can pursue needed growth, establish steady state economies, and raise living standards without overexploiting natural capital.

A strong position taken by SCB then must be used to effect real change. Professional societies may be one of the best vehicles for scientists to provide information to policymakers(12). Conservation biologists’ use of their knowledge to influence decision makers will be much easier if the world’s largest professional society of conservation biologists recognizes that we must replace the unsustainable growth paradigm with a steady state economy that will not erode our natural capital.

The SCB position on economic growth would join those of other professional societies, leveraging still more professional societies to adopt strong positions. SCB members should petition the executive boards of other societies to which they belong. Member societies of umbrella organizations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science should be targeted to adopt economic growth position statements so they can, in turn, petition the umbrella groups that have professional policy staff(13).

We can form coalitions of like-minded scientific societies to build credibility and improve our ability to gain the attention of politicians and non-scientific advocacy organizations(13). We need to build a critical mass to influence the current political agenda. The position that economic growth fundamentally conflicts with biodiversity conservation, and that a steady state economy is a positive goal to attain sustainability, substantively answers recent criticisms of the conservation movement as generally ineffective, irrelevant, and negative in tone(14,15).

SCB’s 2006-2010 strategic plan is an excellent guide to internal use of the position. The position is consistent with SCB’s mission, vision and values, and many of its goals and objectives. In particular, promulgation of the position among other organizations is consistent with the Conservation Policy goal and objectives 4 and 5. Indeed, we contend that this position is so key to accomplishing the SCB mission that it could be considered an organizing principle incorporated in all SCB outreach programs. For example, objectives 1 and 2 of the Conservation Education goal address college program capacity in each SCB section. Any conservation biology curriculum should include material on the conflict between economic growth and biodiversity conservation.

Any controversy generated by this position also can help fulfill the goal of enhancing SCB’s impact and reputation. The concepts central to the position should be developed prominently in media talking points and incorporated into the objective to “Broaden and strategically integrate the Society’s publications, conferences, workshops, and meetings.” As we recruit other professional societies to adopt strong positions on economic growth, SCB will gain attention as a bold organization with progressive ideas and a positive vision of humanity’s future.

Finally, some may believe that a statement of the fundamental conflict between economic growth and biodiversity conservation, although true, is simply too radical or divisive and will invite the label of extremism. But we must not merely seek consensus with political opponents in response to critical conservation problems, because that “further legitimizes continuity or stability” and fails to lead to needed systemic change(3). Instead, we should embrace an argument-based model of political discourse, in which competing choices are debated and evaluated based on underlying values and scientific merit. We should not shirk our responsibility to meet the ultimate challenge to biodiversity conservation with solutions that are commensurately challenging but scientifically justified.

Literature Cited

1. D.L. Trauger, B. Czech, J.D. Erickson, P.R. Garrettson, B.J. Kernohan, C.A. Miller. 2003. Wildlife Society Technical Review 03-1. The Wildlife Society, Bethesda, MD, USA.

2. B. Czech. 2004. Front. Ecol. Env. 2, 227.

3. M.N. Peterson, M. J. Peterson, T. R. Peterson. 2005. Cons. Biol. 19, 762.

4. J. Rosales. In press. Cons. Biol. 20.

5. W. Easterly, M. Sewadeh. 2002. Global development network growth database. World Bank.

6. B. Bluestone, B. Harrison. 2000. Growing prosperity: the battle for growth with equity in the twenty-first century. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, Massachusetts.

7. H.E. Daly, J. Farley. 2003. Ecological economics: principles and applications. Island Press, Washington, D.C.

8. B. Czech, P.R. Krausman, P.K. Devers. 2000. BioScience 50, 593.

9. B. Czech, D.L. Trauger, J. Farley, R. Costanza, H.E. Daly, C.A.S. Hall, R.F. Noss, L. Krall, P.R. Krausman. 2005. Science 308, 791.

10. A. Rose. 2005. Fisheries 30(8), 36.

11. R. Naidoo, W.L. Adamowicz. 2001. Cons. Biol. 15, 1021.

12. D.E. Blockstein. 2001. BioScience 52, 81.

13. G.J. Anderson. 2002. BioScience 52, 85.

14. D.W. Orr. 2003. Cons. Biol. 17, 348.

15. M. Shellenberger, T. Nordhaus. 2005. /news/maindish/2005/01/13/doe-reprint/ (accessed June 2005).

Robert W. Dietz, 3425 Purdue Place NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106, USA, rob_dietz@fws.gov

William Bridgeland, Northern Arizona University, School of Forestry, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA, William.Bridgeland@nau.edu


The Society for Conservation Biology received its first audit of our finances and reporting, and the independent consulting firm found our 2004 records to be in compliance with accounting principles. That’s very good. The auditor pointed out that that although our procedures were more or less the standard for an organization with few staff, more separation of accounting functions among individuals will be necessary in the future.

Although this is the first audit SCB has received, our books have been independently “reviewed” in previous years and were found to be in compliance with accounting standards. A review is less rigorous than a full audit. As our budget grows, our programs become more complex, and we seek new sources of funding, an audit becomes important. Potential supporters want to see the audit. And it’s good insurance that we’re not neglecting business operations while our primary focus remains the conservation of the Earth’s biological diversity.


-- Expenses were ~US$1.458 million against revenue of ~$1.358 million, resulting in a one-year deficit of ~$100,000. This deficit was unplanned and staff and board recognized during the year that it was a possibility due to a unique set of circumstances: a 5% shortfall in revenue and $35,000 advanced for the 2005 annual meeting that will be recovered in 2005. The shortfall was covered by available cash, and did not decrease the Board Designated Reserve.

-- The Board Designated Reserve increased ~$112,000 during 2004, ending the year at ~$887,000 market value. This was excellent performance given the market generally. Stephen Humphrey, former Chief Financial Officer of SCB, continues to manage our investments with the involvement of the Treasurer and Executive Committee.


-- Conservation Biology generated 60% of SCB’s income, including a ~$280,000 surplus to fund other work. The surplus is positive, but the Board of Governors is moving to diversify our funding base.

-- Conservation In Practice broke even in 2004 due to grant support; it accounted for 26% of income.

-- The remaining 14% of income was from agency contracts for services we administer, grants, and miscellaneous sources such as non-subscription memberships, in-kind donations, and interest on investments.

-- Overall net assets of SCB increased by ~$12,000 to ~$1.673 million during 2004.

Revenues and Support

Subscription and membership revenue: $1,070,753

Nonprofit grants: 128,517

Foundation and trust grants: 94,000

Government contract: 53,000

Annual meeting: 1,274

Individual contributions: 3,077

Other Income: 7,312

Total Revenues and Support: $1,357,933


-- 54% of expenses was associated with publications and the Web site.

-- 21% was devoted to the Executive Office, which manages the affairs of the organization, raises funds, conducts marketing, and undertakes a wide variety of other tasks. Executive Office staff time that is focused on program, such as support for the annual meeting, publications, and other tasks, should be allocated to those tasks, but our current accounting system does not allow us to reallocate easily. This will be corrected in our 2006 budgeting and accounting system. The point is that Executive Office costs are not just overhead.


Conservation Biology: $520,389

Conservation In Practice: 359,433

Outreach: 81,297

Annual meeting: 57,073

Section support: 53,750

Peer Review: 25,127

Executive Office: 360,717

Total Expenses: $1,457,786


-- We anticipate that we will meet income budget projections for the year.

-- Net assets have increase by ~$240,000, due to increased profit sharing receipts and in anticipation that profit sharing will remain at that level for 2005.

-- Staff positions budgeted for the full year were filled in March and April, which should reduce overall estimated expenses.

-- The Board of Governors has adopted a strategy for 2005 to invest in substantially increasing our capacity, including our income, over the next five years.

-- The Board Designated Reserve has increased a modest ~$29,000 thus far this year, to ~$916,000.

-- SCB’s cash position is strong.


SCB confronts several challenges that we are confident we can meet. The recently completed strategic plan [see SCB newsletter 12(3)] addresses these. Among those challenges most important from a financial a financial perspective:

-- The possibility of open access undercutting institutional journal subscription revenue.

-- Maintaining growth of Sections outside North America and integration of all Sections; it costs more to be global.

-- Investing in new staff that are essential to our mission, and, in many cases, may generate new revenue. New staff include a meeting organizer, policy staff, and development staff.

The Board of Governors and Executive Office are committed to diversifying and expanding SCB’s funding base. We also are committed to meet the financial challenges to journal revenue posed by open access to publications. (SCB remains committed to insuring global dissemination of information to conservation biologists notwithstanding financial obstacles.)

If you would like a copy of SCB’s 2004 audit please contact the Executive Office.

David Johns, Treasurer




The 20th annual meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology, Conservation Without Borders, will be held 24-28 June 2006 in San Jose, California, USA. The call for proposals for symposia, workshops, and organized discussions closed on 15 October 2005. The Steering Committee will accept abstracts for invited and contributed oral and poster presentations until 10 January 2006.

This year, we will be conducting a new experiment for some oral presentations. Details about this experiment, “speed presentations,” are provided below.

Due to the high number of participants expected at the 2006 meeting and the limited number of oral presentations that can be accommodated, we strongly encourage poster presentations. Posters will be displayed prominently in a central location for several days. Dedicated poster sessions will facilitate in-depth discussion between authors and attendees.

Please adhere to the following guidelines when preparing your abstract for an oral presentation or poster.

-- Traditional oral presentations will be limited to 15 minutes, including time for questions.

-- Speed oral presentations will be limited to three minutes. See below for details.

-- The abstract should include new information. Abstracts should not be submitted for presentations that have been given at previous SCB meetings or similar conferences.

-- The abstract should include specific information about the results and conclusions of the research. Abstracts that state “results will be discussed” will not be accepted.

-- Contributed oral presentations and posters will be grouped by topic. Please choose from the list of topic areas to assist us in placing your presentation in an appropriate session.

-- If your abstract is accepted but cannot be accommodated as an oral presentation, you may be given the option to prepare a poster.

-- Individuals may give only one oral or poster presentation. You may be an author on more than one abstract, but you may be the presenter for only one.

Registration. Presenting authors (oral and poster) must register for the meeting by 17 March 2006 or their presentation will be dropped from the program. Because late cancellation excludes others who might have wished to give a presentation, authors who fail to notify the Steering Committee of their withdrawal by 14 May will be excluded from giving a presentation at the 2007 annual meeting.

Visual aids and other special needs. All oral presentation session rooms will be equipped with a laptop computer and projector, slide projector, and overhead projector. If you need to make special arrangements for other types of presentations, email 2006@. Authors who wish to give a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation will be required to submit the file several weeks in advance; information and instructions will be available several months before the meeting.


A new experiment in presentation formats for scientific meetings

developed by Mac Hunter, Kent Redford, Nora Bynum, and Nick Salafsky

“I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

-- attributed to Blaise Pascal and / or Mark Twain

Dear participants in SCB’s 2006 annual meeting:

Are you

-- Tired of attending a presentation of a paper that you expected to be exciting, discovering in the first two minutes that it doesn’t interest you, and then suffering through the entire 15 minute talk because you are too polite to leave and trapped in a middle seat?

-- Looking for opportunities to engage in detailed conversation with presenters whose work appealed to you, but who disappear immediately after their session?

-- Frustrated because you cannot attend as many presentations as you would like during concurrent sessions?

-- Jittery because modern life has left you with a really short attention span and insufficient time to digest all of the journal articles you should be reading?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, never fear, speed presentations are here! You may have heard of “speed dating,” spending five minutes each with a dozen prospective dates. In honor of our 20th anniversary meeting, SCB is going to adapt this concept to conduct an exciting experiment in alternative formats for meeting presentations-and we need your help.

What are speed presentations? At the 2006 annual meeting, in addition to the traditional formats for contributed oral and poster presentations, we will offer an experimental “speed presentation” option. Each speed presentation session will be two hours long. In the first hour, 15 presenters will be given three minutes each to present their key ideas and results. In the second hour, presenters will station themselves at separate tables where they can interact with people who are interested in learning more about their work.

How do I participate? If you are interested in being a speed presenter, simply submit an abstract according to the standard guidelines and indicate that you would like your abstract to be considered for a speed presentation. Depending on the number of submissions we receive, we will convene one or two speed presentation sessions that include 15 papers with a common theme. If your abstract is accepted for a speed presentation, you will be notified by the Steering Committee; if not, your abstract still will be considered for a traditional (15-minute) oral presentation or poster. You then will be expected to prepare a presentation that summarizes your research in a maximum of three minutes (as the introductory quotation hints, do not underestimate how difficult this will be!). We also encourage you to prepare an extended abstract (one to four pages) that you can distribute to interested members of the audience following your presentation.

If you are interested in listening, just attend the sessions! We look forward to seeing you there. We will evaluate the outcome of this experiment to determine whether speed presentations should become a regular feature of our annual meetings. Help us discover what happens when MTV meets SCB.


Abstracts should be submitted for oral presentations (both traditional and speed) and poster presentations and for invited symposia. Abstracts for symposium presentations are by invitation only.

Please follow the instructions carefully, including all requested information and formatting. Any abstract with errors or omissions will be returned for revision and runs the risk of missing the abstract submission deadline. Abstracts should be submitted electronically via the meeting Web site, /2006. Web submission is strongly encouraged.

If you cannot submit your abstract via the Web site, please email your abstract to 2006@. The abstract should be attached as a Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, RTF, or ASCII text file, and the subject line of the email should read “Abstract for SCB 2006.”

Regardless of the method of submission, all abstracts must be received by 10 January 2006. The Steering Committee will attempt to notify all authors by 20 February.


Note: Unfortunately, the online submission interface cannot accommodate letters with accents (e.g., é, ü, ç). Please write these letters in plain text (e.g., e, u, c).

1. Presentation format. Indicate whether you would prefer your abstract to be considered for an oral, poster, either oral or poster, or an invited symposium presentation. Indicate whether you would like your abstract to be considered for a speed presentation (described above).

2. Title of invited symposium. If applicable, indicate the title of the symposium in which you have been invited to present.

3. Authors. List all authors with the name of the presenting author in CAPITAL LETTERS. Order should be last name first for the first author, but first name first for all other authors. Write out full first names.

4. Addresses. List the institutional affiliations and addresses, including countries, for each author in the same order as above. For the presenting author only, include an email address in parentheses at the end of the address. If there are multiple addresses, place the initials of the author in parentheses at the end of each address (see examples below).

5. Title. List the title in CAPITAL LETTERS. Titles may not exceed 150 characters.

6. Abstract. The body of the abstract may not exceed one paragraph of 200 words (excluding formatting codes). Begin with a clear statement of the problem or objectives, give brief methods and major results, and end with a substantial conclusion. Do not use vague statements such as “results will be discussed.” Follow the instructions given below to indicate any special formatting or symbols within the abstract. Abstracts that exceed 200 words will be returned for revision and may miss the submission deadline.

7. Student presentation. Indicate whether the presentation will be given by a student (regardless of whether the student is a candidate for a student award).

8. Session moderator. Indicate whether you are willing to moderate the session in which you will be presenting (moderate own), a session in which you will not be presenting (moderate other), or none.

9. Comments. List any necessary comments relevant to your abstract submission, including any special scheduling requests.

10. Contact. Provide the name of the contact person for correspondence, including notification of abstract acceptance and program position. Include the contact person’s complete mailing address and country. Also provide an email address and telephone number, including the country and city codes.

11. Visual aid(s) needed. Indicate whether your presentation will be made using a computer projector, slide projector, or overhead projector.

12. Topic areas. The following general topic areas will be used to place your abstract in an appropriate session. Unless otherwise specified, topic areas are unrestricted with respect to ecological realm (e.g., freshwater, marine, or terrestrial), geographic location, or taxonomic group. Consistent with the meeting theme, conservation without borders, we hope that a range of study systems will be represented in many of the sessions. Please indicate your first, second, and third choices.

Adaptive management and monitoring

Application of traditional ecological knowledge

Capacity building

Climate change

Communications and outreach

Community-driven conservation

Conservation at the land-water interface

Conservation biogeography

Conservation education

Conservation funding and philanthropy

Conservation genetics

Conservation GIS

Conservation of migratory taxa

Conservation of wide-ranging taxa

Conservation on private lands

Conservation psychology

Ecological restoration and reconstruction

Ecosystem-specific conservation (specify ecosystem)

Environmental anthropology

Environmental economics

Environmental geography

Environmental law

Environmental politics and policy

Environmental sociology

Inventory and monitoring

Land-use planning for conservation

Marine conservation practice

Marine conservation science

Non-native invasive species

Predictive conservation ecology

Protected area design

Remote sensing

Spatial ecology and conservation

Sustainable agriculture

Taxon-specific conservation (specify taxon)

Transboundary conservation areas

Urban ecology

Wetland ecology


Special Characters and Formatting

Abstracts submitted electronically via the meeting Web site are limited to ASCII text format. Please use the following codes to indicate the use of special formatting and symbols within the abstract. Replace special symbols, such as accented letters or Greek characters, with their text equivalent whenever possible.


italics Salix nigra <i>Salix nigra</i>

underline Book Title <u>Book Title</u>

superscript km2 km<sup>2</sup>

subscript CO2 CO<sub>2</sub>

degree ° <degree>

em dash - <em>

en dash - <en>

registered ® <registered>

plus or minus ± <+/->

greater than or equal ≥ <great/equal>

less than or equal ≤ <less/equal>

percent ‰ <percent>


Student award candidates (restricted to 15-minute oral presentations) must submit two abstracts. One should be formatted according to the instructions given above and submitted online by 10 January 2006. In addition, to apply for a student award, an extended abstract (minimum 500 words, maximum 800 words) must be submitted to Alan Thornhill at athornhill@ no later than 10 January 2006. Please include in the abstract the names and complete contact information for all authors and the presentation title. The student must be the primary author and must submit the abstract under that name. In other words, please make certain that the name of the student applying for the award and the name of the primary author are identical. If two or more authors are listed, please outline their roles in the work. Current students and students with a graduation date of 24 June 2005 or later are eligible to apply. The extended abstract should be attached as a Microsoft Word or ASCII text file, and the subject line of the email should be “Extended Abstract for SCB 2006.” Abstracts that are not formatted according to these guidelines will not be accepted.


Example 1

Either Oral or Poster

Adams, Diana, Elizabeth Farmer, DOUG ZIFTER. Department of Botany, University of California, Davis, CA 95616 USA (DA, EF). Valley Environmental Consulting, 2800 Commerce Ave., San Jose, CA 95134 (DZ), dzifter@.


<i>Cordylanthus palmatus</i> is an annual, hemiparasitic plant that inhabits seasonally flooded wetlands with saline and alkaline soils in California’s Central and Livermore valleys. The goal of our research was to inform conservation strategies for the species by examining genetic diversity and structure using inter-simple-sequence-repeats (ISSR) nuclear DNA markers . . . (200 word maximum).

Moderate none

Please schedule after talk by C. Mollis

Doug Zifter, Valley Environmental Consulting, 2800 Commerce Ave., San Jose, CA 95134; dzifter@; 408-555-1212

Computer projector

Conservation genetics; wetland ecology; ecological restoration and reconstruction

Example 2


Consider for speed presentation

JONES, JANE, Bill Q. Smith, Bob Thomas. Department of Biology, University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557 USA (JJ, BQS), jjones@nevada.edu. Rocky Mountain Research Station, 1000 Valley Road, Reno, NV 89512 USA (BT).


Local land managers in the intermountain west need information on the response of various taxonomic groups to fire and fuels treatments. We focused on the response of birds to fire in pinyon-juniper woodlands at multiple spatial and temporal scales . . . (200 words maximum).

Moderate own

Jane Jones, Department of Biology, University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557 USA; jjones@nevada.edu; 775-555-1212

Computer projector

Adaptive management and monitoring; spatial ecology and conservation; remote sensing


New and Critically Endangered Mangabey Species Discovered in Tanzania

A unique species of mangabey, the first new African monkey species to be discovered since 1984, has been found in two distantly separated montane forest areas of Tanzania: Ndundulu Forest in the Udzungwa Mountains, and Rungwe / Livingstone in the Southern Highlands (> 350 km apart). The discoveries were made in each site independently and unbeknownst to the two different research teams that made the co-discoveries. This new monkey is now taxonomically classified as Lophocebus kipunji Ehardt et al. 2005 (in Jones et al. 2005). Its designated common name, the Highland mangabey, reflects that it only has been found in forests at elevations from 1300 m to as high as 2500 m. The species name, kipunji (pronounced “kip-oon-jee”), is the name that the Wanyakyusa people in the Southern Highlands had for this “shy monkey” they reported seeing from time to time in the forests. In contrast, villagers living closest to Ndundulu Forest in the Udzungwas indicated in interviews that they did not know of its existence on their own, and therefore had no name for it. It is arboreal and appears to be predominantly frugivorous.

The discovery in Ndundulu was made during a research project conducted by primatologist Carolyn Ehardt that was focused on demographics of the Critically Endangered Sanje mangabey (Cercocebus sanjei), a primate endemic to the Udzungwa Mountains that is one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates. In the Southern Highlands, a Wildlife Conservation Society project led by Tim Davenport found the same new mangabey several months before the discovery in Ndundulu, a discovery completely unknown to Ehardt and her colleagues during their work in Ndundulu. Ehardt and Davenport learned of their co-discoveries only as a result of a chance meeting in Dar es Salaam. Upon this “discovery of the co-discoveries,” Ehardt withdrew the manuscript that she and her colleagues (Trevor Jones, her former field assistant, and Tom Butynski of Conservation International) already had submitted to Science describing and naming the new species. The two teams then co-authored a report that was published by Science on 20 May 2004 (Vol. 308, No. 5725, pp. 1161-1164).

At an IUCN / SSC Primate Specialists Group Workshop to reassess the conservation status of the African primates, Ehardt and Butynski placed the Highland mangabey into the Critically Endangered category due to its limited total distribution (likely 100 km2 combined, both populations) and low population size (probably < 1000 animals). Ndundulu Forest, despite having limited protection as a Forest Reserve, is minimally impacted, although poaching does occur. In contrast, the Rungwe / Livingstone forests have been degraded heavily by illegal logging, hunting, agricultural encroachment, and unsustainable resource extraction. Although Davenport’s WCS Southern Highlands project has been working intensively with the local people to reverse the situation, immediate and significant changes will be required if this population of Highland mangabeys is to survive. Conservation efforts are being expanded in both sites, as well as ecological and genetic research which will support and guide those efforts.

Carolyn L. Ehardt, cehardt@uga.edu

NEON Progress Report

Planning for the U.S. National Ecological Observatory Network is beginning to yield new specifics about NEON science and the deployment of sensors and cyberinfrastructure.

NEON’s ultimate goal is to forecast the state of key ecological systems in the United States. When fully deployed, NEON will function as a widely distributed national laboratory-a network of shared infrastructure for ecological research. NEON will support systematic study of seven ecological priorities: invasive species, infectious disease, climate change, land-use change, biogeochemical cycles, biodiversity, and aquatic ecosystems.

To enable continuous, long-term data collection, storage, and dissemination, NEON will deploy a standardized set of sensors and cyberinfrastructure within 20 distinct climatic domains across the continental United States (in addition to domains for Alaska / tundra / taiga, Hawaii / Pacific Tropical, and Atlantic Neotropical). (See for more on the climatic domains and an interactive tool for exploring the maps.)

Within each domain (or NEON Node), infrastructure will be deployed in three land use / land cover types: wild, managed, and urbanized, each of which will contain transition zones between terrestrial and aquatic systems. Every NEON Node will feature a range of standardized instruments deployed at three fixed sites to provide critical data streams related to the ecological priorities, as well as mobile capacity to conduct routine manual sampling and to respond to sudden ecological events, such as the outbreak of an infectious disease.

NEON infrastructure will include cutting-edge laboratory and field-based instrumentation enabling scientists to collect key biological, atmospheric, chemical, and physical measurements; site-based experimental infrastructure; bio-collections facilities and sample archives; and the computational, analytical, and modeling capabilities required for NEON forecasting.

NEON will be based on an open architecture that gives scientists access to new and evolving hardware and software technologies. A suite of NEON education programs will explicitly translate NEON science in ways that capture the imagination and attention of the general public. Teachers will have real-time NEON data as a classroom learning resource, students and citizen-scientists will participate in field trips to collect data, and the general public will learn about their environment through daily ecological forecasts.

As NEON planning progresses, updated project descriptions will be available in print and online. The NEON Preliminary Project Execution Plan-a document providing details about the costs, scheduling, and build-out of NEON instruments, facilities, and cyberinfrastructure-will be delivered in 2006.

Tiger Conservation Program

In September 2005, Save The Tiger Fund (STF) launched the Campaign Against Tiger Trafficking (CATT). CATT is the first global partnership to build, inform, and support allied efforts by government and nongovernmental organizations. Serving as a convener and broker for partnerships, CATT will mobilize leaders of governments, nongovernmental organizations, businesses, and social and religious institutions to take coordinated actions including joint international law enforcement operations to stop tiger smugglers, securing habitats and monitoring wild tiger populations, and enlisting local communities and tiger-user groups to stop demand for and use of tiger parts. CATT’s launch coincides with that of the U.S. State Department’s Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking (CAWT), which recognizes illegal wildlife trade as a black market. Partnering with other governments and with nongovernmental organizations, including STF and CATT, CAWT will focus on a wide array of species threatened by trade, including elephants, rhinos, exotic birds, and tigers. To learn more, visit /CATT.

Citizen Science Training and Clearinghouse

The Citizen Science Institute works to empower volunteers to become more effective Citizen Scientists by providing them with focused education in the fundamentals of scientific methods. The primary goal is to train nonprofessionals to be effective volunteers in a field setting in which they gain a deeper understanding of the ecological relationships among soil, air, water, plants, and animals. The Institute also serves as a clearinghouse to match skilled volunteers with agencies, nonprofits organizations, and researchers who need assistance with research projects. For more information, visit or contact Candiece Mili Shields, Citizen Science Institute, P.O. Box 63514, Phoenix, AZ 85082-3890 USA, 1 602 286-3892, coordinator@.


The BP (British Petroleum) Conservation Programme Awards contribute to long-term environmental conservation and sustainable development in priority areas by encouraging and engaging potential leaders in biodiversity conservation and providing opportunities for them to gain practical skills and experience. This initiative, organized by BirdLife International, Conservation International, Fauna & Flora International, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and BP, has been helping young conservationists across the world to achieve their goals for the past 15 years. The program offers advice, training, and awards, primarily targeting university students. Three types of awards will be offered in 2006: Future Conservationist awards, 20 awards of up to $12,500 each, plus training; Conservation Follow-up awards, approximately five awards of up to $25,000 each, plus training (available to previous BPCP award winners only), and Conservation Leadership awards, two awards of $50,000 each, plus training (available to previous BPCP award winners only). The deadline for all applications is 16 December 2005. Awards will be announced by mid March 2006. All details, including guidelines and application forms, are available at or by contacting bpconservation-programme@.uk.

The Garden Club of America offers a US$8000 graduate fellowship in ecological restoration at a university in the United States. The fellowship is administered by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum. For the purposes of this program, ecological restoration is defined as “the process of assisting the recovery and management of ecological integrity. Ecological integrity includes a critical range of variability in biodiversity, ecological processes and structures, regional and historical context, and sustainable cultural practices.” Letters of application must be received by 14 January 2005; committee reviews will be completed early in March. For more information visit /scholarship/ecorestor.html or contact Mark Leach, University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum, 1 608 263-7344, mkleach@wisc.edu.

The Program for Studies in Tropical Conservation at the University of Florida announces the 2006 Dexter Fellowship Program in Tropical Conservation Biology. The goal of the fellowship is to enhance the conservation of biodiversity by supporting the training and research of graduate students from tropical countries where the needs and opportunities for biological conservation are greatest. The Dexter Fellowship Program provides two years of support for a new graduate student at the University of Florida beginning August 2006. Applications are due by 15 February 2006. For information and application instructions please see www.wec.ufl.edu/academics/grad/PSTC/dexter_fellows.htm or contact Susan Jacobson, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, P.O. Box 110430, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0430, USA, 352-846-0562, jacobsons@wec.ufl.edu.


The fourth international tree squirrel colloquium and the first international flying squirrel colloquium, including the conservation priorities workshop Tree and Flying Squirrels in the Developing World, will be held 22-29 March 2006 in the Periyar Tiger Reserve, India. For information contact Nandini Rajamani, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Indian Institute of Science Campus, Bangalore 560 012, India, 91-94431 42296, nandinirajamani@, or /nias/itsc.htm.


As part of SCB’s 2006-2010 Strategic Plan [see SCB Newsletter 12(3)], SCB’s standing committees (Nominations, Development, Conference, Awards, Student Affairs, Policy, Education, Membership, and Publications) are formalizing their membership as well as assessing and, where necessary, revising their terms of reference, objectives, and implementation plans. As this newsletter went to press, several committees submitted updates on their current status. More news from these and other committees will be featured in upcoming newsletters.

Publications. There are vacancies on this committee. If you are interested in serving, please contact chair Georgina Mace, georgina.mace@ioz.ac.uk.

Awards. This committee is chaired by Kathryn Saterson. Mike Scott chairs the Edward T. LaRoe III Memorial Award subcommittee. Current members are Luigi Boitani, Delali Dovie, David Duffy, Karen Firestone, Susan Haig, Menna Jones, Devra Kleiman, Carolyn Lundquist, Rodrigo Medellín, Jon Paul Rodriguez, Eleanor Sterling, Gopi Sundar, and Bill Sutherland. Each year, SCB presents five distinguished service awards for outstanding contributions to conservation biology or its application in policy, education, and journalism. Membership in the committee is open to any member of SCB. The members of the committee help to generate a diverse set of nominations from around the world for these awards. In addition, committee members help to define the policies and procedures for the awards process. This committee is open to new members at any time but is usually recrafted after the annual meeting.

Membership. This committee is chaired by Erica Fleishman. Current members are Kathy Kohm, Rodrigo Medellín, Reed Noss, John Robinson, Alan Thornhill, Jim Tolisano, Rich Wallace, and Peter Wilshusen.

Education. We have had substantial interest in membership in the Education Committee, which is wonderful, but difficult to capture and direct appropriately. Therefore, we are requesting that individuals interested in serving on the committee send a short description of their vision for proposed activities, outcomes, and accomplishments for the committee over the next three years. Information on what you would like to accomplish as a member of the committee would be helpful. Please send these summaries by 15 December 2005 to committee chair Eleanor Sterling, sterling@.


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