SOCIETY FOR CONSERVATION BIOLOGY NEWSLETTER
Volume 9, Issue 3
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Why is SCB internationalizing?
2. Vote for SCB’s logo!
3. International section news
4. Anil Agarwal: Forensic rigor and passion for change, by Sunita Narain
5. The fitful evolution of the Sperrbebiet National Park, a Namibian wilderness in a biodiversity hotspot, by Phoebe Barnard
6. SCB’s 2002 annual meeting: a successful international forum
7. 2002 SCB Student Awards
8. Upcoming annual meetings
a. Member input requested
b. 2003: Duluth, Minnesota
c. 2004: New York City
d. 2005: Call for Proposals
9. News from the SCB Members’ Meeting, Canterbury, 17 July 2002
10. Conservation In Practice wins the gold
11. Washington welcome for Executive Office
12. Call for 2003 Award Nominations
13. Thanks to SCB’s committee members
14. Conservation education: traveling blues
15. Education committee invites new members
16. Texas A&M Chapter educates, celebrates local biodiversity
17. 2002 Conservation Biology Editor’s report
WHY IS SCB INTERNATIONALIZING?
SCB’s process of internationalization took a huge step forward at our 2002 annual meeting, where hundreds of people attended seven organizational section meetings, one for each continent plus the marine realm. In the midst of all the enthusiasm there were a few skeptics who questioned SCB’s motives. Is internationalization driven mainly by a desire to enroll more members? Could this be a neo-imperialistic attempt to increase the global influence of North American conservation biologists?
Before addressing these questions, it is important to note that nominally SCB is, and always has been, an international organization. Our founders were well aware that both biodiversity and conservationists are globally distributed. Furthermore, based on our membership survey [see SCB newsletter 7(4)], 95% of you want SCB to be a truly international organization. So first and foremost, we are internationalizing because it is what we always intended to do so and because our members want us to do it. Unfortunately, SCB ideals and reality sometimes have not been well matched, and we must now actively redress sixteen years of laissez-faire organizational development that has left SCB with too few members outside of North America.
Do we want to gain more members through internationalization? Of course we do; most professional conservationists are not yet members of SCB or any analogous organization, and we need their partnership to develop and strengthen the discipline. But having more members is a benefit of internationalization, not the impetus behind it.
Do we want North American conservation biologists to share their knowledge and perspectives worldwide? Yes, but it is equally important that North Americans listen and learn about the knowledge and perspectives of their colleagues from all corners of the earth.
This global sharing is fundamentally what internationalization of SCB is all about. Early in the internationalization process we considered catalyzing the formation of autonomous conservation biology societies around the world, but a member survey clearly showed that our members did not favor the latter alternative. Our members want to be part of a cohesive, global, professional society, and we are now making great strides in that direction. We still have a long way to go because the new sections are fledglings that will require much support to flourish. If you have not yet joined a section, now is a great time to start participating. If you have already joined a section, you can now join a second section.
Joining Two Sections
At the 2002 annual meeting, SCB’s Board of Governors decided that each member of SCB may join two sections as a voting member. Many people have allegiances to two different places (especially those who live on land and work in the sea). Thus, we received numerous requests to make this change, notably from the leaders of the sections. There are two simple ways to join a section: either edit your online member profile at any time, or join when you renew your annual membership. To limit the potential influence of any one person, the Board of Governors also decided that a member may serve on the Board of Directors of only one section at a given time.
Mac Hunter, President
VOTE FOR SCB’S LOGO!
SCB needs a logo that symbolizes the breadth of the world’s biological diversity and our efforts to conserve it. Fifty-five individuals submitted a total of 127 entries in response to the logo contest announced in the February 2002 issue of this newsletter and on SCB’s web site. The Board of Governors selected two finalists, and now invites all members to vote for the winner. Cast your vote at /Vote/ or by contacting the Executive Office, membership@. Votes must be submitted by 1 November 2002.
INTERNATIONAL SECTION NEWS
SCB’s annual meeting was a great success for the Africa Section. Our symposium attracted a large audience and we thank the presenters and organizers for a job well done. Over 140 people attended our section meeting. Thanks to everyone who came for making the meeting so lively and productive, which was motivating to the newly elected board. We were pleased to introduce the section’s Board of Directors (BOD): President – Paula Kahumbu (Kenya), Vice President – Morne du Plessis (South Africa), Treasurer – Alan Bornbush (USA), Communications – Trinto Mugangu (DRC), Membership – Joan Jaganyi (South Africa) and Beth Kaplin (USA), Science – Chris Chimimba (South Africa).
During the section meeting, members agreed that key goals for the section include advancing the discipline in Africa, correcting the imbalance of conservation biology in Africa, and promoting science in schools. We agreed on some simple, measurable goals that are achievable in the short term. These included ensuring that membership fees are affordable for all Africans, an issue that SCB addressed through a new reduced rate of $10. To attract greater African membership, we proposed finding means of making payment in local currency through local NGOs and resource centers in each country.
Medium term section goals that were identified included linkages with other important initiatives such as the WSSD, tropical biology field courses, World Parks Congress, and NEPAD. We invited individual members to assist us by volunteering with ideas and activities to achieve these important goals. We also noted that linkages are necessary between African scientists, and that countries enduring prolonged, armed conflict should not be forgotten. Linkages with other SCB sections were proposed, as was enhancing exchanges among professionals, students, academics, and conservation practitioners within and beyond Africa. Members suggested that the Africa Section could play a key role in facilitating availability of tools required by African conservation scientists. These tools include providing access to data bases and developing mechanisms to ensure the re-direction of information back to Africa.
Longer term goals that we agreed on will help enable Africans to find solutions to African conservation problems. We proposed that the section become a forum for improving science policy in Africa. To do this we aim to facilitate the development of capacity within Africa to promote conservation science at all levels of education, through schools, universities, and individuals. Individual members could contribute by mentoring students in science, grant proposal writing, and publication. It will take commitment and participation from every member of the section to achieve these ambitious goals.
The BOD met three times during the annual meeting to map out the future of the section based on the comments of the membership. It was agreed that a student officer position should be created on the BOD, and that the bylaws should ensure representation of African regions. Any member interested in reviewing and contributing to the bylaws should contact Paula.
On behalf of the BOD I would like to thank the membership for entrusting the administration of the section to us, and thank all the members for their generous offers, ideas, and assistance during the annual meeting. The BOD made a promise to maintain dialogue with membership to fulfil our goals, something we very much look forward to doing.
Establishment of the Asia Section is underway. Some 51 professionals met during the 2002 annual meeting to discuss the formation of the section. A steering committee of 18 people was formed to undertake the process: Pralad Yonzon (Acting Chair), Mike Baltzer, Philippa Benson, Joshua Ginsberg, Xiaojun Li, Tom McCarthy, Yosihiro Natuhara, Donna O’Connell, Madhu Rao, Benjavan Rerkasem, Pei Sheng-ji, Mahendra Shrestha, Raman Sukumar, Maren Tomforde, Jack Tordoff, Carl Traeholt, Eric Wikramanayake, and Endi Zhang.
Once we have 100 members in the Asia Section, the steering committee will organize elections of a Board of Directors. Therefore, the SCB Executive Office will be inviting all SCB members to join the Asia Section. Hopefully, many members of the steering committee will choose to stand for election. You may communicate with us at Asia@.
Austral and Neotropical America
The members of the Austral and Neotropical America Section (ANA) have elected their first Board of Officers. Board members come from nine countries throughout the region.
President: Jon Paul Rodriguez (Venezuela)
President Elect: Javier Simonetti (Chile)
Secretary: Lorena Calvo (Guatemala)
Chief Financial Officer: G. Arturo Sanchez-Azofeifa (Canada)
Directors: Martin Acosta Cruz (Cuba), Miguel Angelo Marini (Brazil), Cristian Olivo (Bolivia), Andrea C. Premoli (Argentina), Miguel A. Vazquez (Peru)
During the 2002 annual meeting, four officers (Martin Acosta, Miguel Marini, Jon Paul Rodriguez, and Miguel Vazquez) met informally with ANA section members who found their way to the British Isles. Approximately 30 participants exchanged views on the role that the section could play in strengthening the discipline of conservation biology in the region, and the mechanisms that could be put in place to achieve this. Increasing the size and participation of the section membership were identified as critical first steps. Funding provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to the SCB–Cuba project will allow the ANA Board of Officers to hold its first strategic planning meeting in Havana in late 2002 or early 2003.
In June 2002, the ninth issue of the Neotropical Conservation Biology Bulletin (NeoCons) was published (Volume 2, Number 3). Published every two months since February 2001, and distributed free of charge to SCB members and non-members alike, this electronic publication has more than 880 subscribers in 55 countries. To review past issues of NeoCons, contribute to the bulletin, or subscribe, please visit /SCB/Publications/NeoCons/.
All SCB members are invited to send comments and suggestions to the Board of Officers of the ANA section at ANABOG@
Welcome to the Australasian Section’s regular contribution to the SCB newsletter. Through this column we hope to keep members up-to-date with our activities and to encourage more SCB members from our region to join the section—the stronger our membership, the more we will be able to achieve. The Australasian region has been defined as Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific islands of Melanesia and Polynesia (including the Hawaiian archipelago).
The election process has now been completed for the section’s Board of Directors (we have yet to finalize a name for this board) and the ten candidates with the highest votes have been elected. Board members and their respective term lengths are Karen Firestone (Australia – 3 years), Andy Mack (Papua New Guinea – 3 years), David Norton (New Zealand – 3 years), Eric Dorfman (New Zealand – 2 years), Caroline Gross (Australia – 2 years), Menna Jones (Australia – 2 years), Robert Davis (Australia – 1 year), Jean-Marc Hero (Australia – 1 year), Meg Montgomery (Australia – 1 year) and Angie Penn (Australia – 1 year). The different term lengths will allow for annual elections and ensure that there is good overlap in Board membership from year to year. David Norton is the inaugural President and will be the section’s representative on SCB’s Board of Governors. The Board of Directors would like to thank all those who stood for election and everyone who voted.
Although the bylaws for the section have yet to be ratified by SCB’s Board of Governors, some 25 Australasians attended an initial section meeting during the 2002 annual meeting. The section meeting was meant to be a ‘listening meeting’ to assess what members wanted. Members raised important issues and showed a great deal of enthusiasm for the section, which is extremely encouraging.
A ‘local’ Australasian launch for the section is now being organized. The launch will take place during the joint Australian and New Zealand Ecological Society conference in Cairns (Queensland, Australia) in the first week of December 2002. Full details on the time and location for the latter meeting are available via the conference web site (www.tesag.jcu.edu.au/ecology2002) and SCB’s web page (/SCB/Activities/Sections/OzNz).
The section’s Board is now working on some proposals for two-year goals for the section, which they will bring to the Cairns meeting for discussion with the membership. Some initial thoughts include sponsoring SCB membership for students from developing countries in our region, sponsoring a symposium at the 2003 Australian Ecological Society conference, and enhancing our web page to include more information on conservation biology in our region.
It is still very early days for our section but we really would appreciate hearing any ideas and thoughts for what the section could do, and look forward to seeing a good turn out of members—and potential members—at the section meeting in Cairns. For further information on the Australasian Section contact either David Norton (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Karen Firestone (email@example.com).
David Norton, President
The European Section of the SCB was formally established at the first meeting of its Board of Officers at the annual SCB meeting in Canterbury. The founding Officers are András Báldi (Hungary),Cesar Blanche (Spain), Luigi Boitani (Italy), Javier Bustamante (Spain), Martin Dieterich (Germany), Renato Massa (Italy), Frits Mohren (Netherlands), Phillip Morin (Germany), Jari Niemelä (Finland), Peter Pearman (Switzerland), François Sarrazin (France), and Per Sjögren-Gulve (Sweden). Luigi Boitani was elected President for the next triennium and Peter Pearman was elected Secretary. A first draft of the bylaws of the section was written and will be finalized soon. The first open meeting of the European Section was held at the annual meeting in Canterbury. The meeting was attended by 44 people, and provided an opportunity to discuss broad guidelines for governance and the activities of the section. A first endeavor of the European Board of Officers will be the establishment of a Membership Committee. The officers also are planning a 2-3 day workshop to design a strategic plan to guide the section’s activities for the next triennium.
Luigi Boitani & Peter Pearman
2002 SCB Annual Meeting
The Marine Section enthusiastically participated in its first SCB annual meeting as an official section. Thus far, the section has recruited a total of 217 members in at least 13 countries. At the Board of Governors meeting, our bylaws were ratified. These bylaws are posted at /SCB/Activities/Sections/Marine/Bylaws. We also summarized our recent activities at the Board meeting and Members’ Meeting.
We held two Marine events during the 2002 annual meeting. The first was a Marine membership meeting, led by Leila Hatch and Carolyn Lundquist, at which about 20 attendees discussed section business, objectives, and activities. The second event, a social gathering at a pub, drew roughly 40-50 attendees. At these events, we promoted membership in the Marine Section, discussed our section goals, and encouraged all current and potential members to join one of our many section committees designed to promote marine conservation worldwide.
Complementing the many marine-oriented presentations in diverse scientific sessions throughout the meeting, two sessions (12 presentations) were dedicated solely to marine conservation.
We appointed a sixth officer (David Hyrenbach) to fill the position of Financial Officer. Originally from Madrid, Spain, David is a postdoctoral researcher at Duke University’s marine laboratory and the Point Reyes Bird Observatory. His expertise in the oceanographic habitats of pelagic birds and turtles will make him a valuable addition to the Marine Section’s Board.
In our newly approved bylaws, we created nine committees: Marine Conservation Policy, Marine Conservation Science, Education, Program, Communications, Membership, International, Nominations, and Audit. Member participation on these committees is encouraged and welcomed. Please contact the Communications Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in joining a committee. Further information on these committees is contained in the bylaws, which are posted on the Marine Section website.
Work In Progress
We are in the process of updating the marine area of SCB’s website (among other things, we will include current postings about Marine Section activities). We also are discussing the possibility of creating a promotional Marine Section brochure with the Executive Office. In addition, the Science and Policy officers are busy developing and submitting ideas for marine-related symposia at future SCB annual meetings.
For more information on the Marine Section or to join either the section or the marine listserv (marinelist@), visit /SCB/Activities/Sections/marine/ or contact any of the Section officers.
Communications Officer, Marine Section
Approximately 35 of the ~700 members currently enrolled in the North American Section attended an organizational meeting at SCB’s 2002 annual meeting. A brief history of the formation of sections and the recent elections of the North American Section was given and questions from the membership were answered. The remainder of the session was devoted to generation of ideas for activities and priorities for the section. Action items were identified as either short-term (to be initiated within two years) or long-term (to be initiated after two years). Suggested activities and priorities were then ranked as ‘highly desirable’ (1), ‘desirable but not high priority’ (2), or less important (3). Items marked with a * are our highest priorities.
Activity / Priority : Term : Rank
Develop section bylaws and mission statement : short : 1*
Initiate efforts to strengthen section membership : short : 1
Make sure all potential section members are aware of the section : short : 1*
Develop task forces for 1-2 key issues / action items : short : 1
Plan a workshop for 2003 annual meeting (increase Canadian membership): short : 1*
Develop a section website and write newsletter columns : short : 1*
Form a communications committee for public education and public relations, practitioners and managers, those who work on policy : short : 1
Develop policy issue criteria : short : 1
Develop an insert for the SCB membership brochure: short : 1
Participate in expert reviews : short / long : 1
Work on relationships with local chapters (most are North American) : short : 2
Increase linkages with other North American societies (i.e., Society for Ecological Restoration) : long : 1
Help develop stable funding for conservation biology in the U.S. : long : 1
Develop educational materials related to conservation biology : long: 2
Help develop and promote student internships : long: 2
Develop a section newsletter : long: 2
Foster management or policy reviews : long: 2
Develop disciplinary subsections : long: 3
ANIL AGARWAL: FORENSIC RIGOR AND PASSION FOR CHANGE
BY SUNITA NARAIN
Anil cherished the search for scientific excellence. “Forensic rigour combined with passion” is how a publication once described Anil. I cannot think of a better description of Anil, who lived every day of his life trying to understanding life and how much we can learn from innovation and change around us.
Anil was born in the year of India’s independence—a member of the group that Salman Rusdhie has called the midnight children—and in his early years he was greatly influenced both by the legacy of the British and by the legacy of the founding fathers of free India. He grew up in urban India and attended India’s premier engineering institution. Anil was cut off, as most Indians are, from the reality of rural India. But this was soon to change.
In 1974, Anil as a young journalist came across the Chipko Movement, which baptized him into the environmental concern. His teachers were the poor women of this remote Himalayan village. The women were ecologists, but of a slightly different variety. They hugged the trees saying that government could cut forests only over their dead bodies. But not because they believed that trees should not be cut—instead, the women believed they should have the right to cut the trees. For them the environment was much more than pretty trees and tigers. Their cause, in fact, had very little to do with trees. It was more selfish. Their own lives were so deeply and desperately intertwined with the existence of those trees that their very culture and survival was at stake. Hence, their protest and their struggle.
Anil understood this pain and espoused the women’s message. From this he gave the Indian ecological movement its intellectual grounding. He wrote that environment and development were two sides of the same coin. He said that for the people of this village as for the millions in the developing world, what mattered was not the Gross National Product but the Gross Nature Product: their land, their crops, their forests, their streams and wells, their grasslands, their fodder trees, their animals. Their lives depended heavily on the very existence of these natural resources and, of course, their productivity.
Anil then spent a lifetime trying to get us to focus our attention on the protection, enhancement, and sustainable use of this Gross Nature Product, and he tried to find answers to problems in the knowledge of the people themselves. It is from this basis that the environmental movement drew its sustenance. The concept of ‘protectionist conservationism’ prevails across the paradigms of environmental management in the Western world. But the Indian environmental movement is built on the concept of ‘utilitarian conservationism.’ It remains deeply humanist and deeply conservationist.
What I also found amazing was Anil’s love, indeed fascination, with how people lived with their ecology. He wrote how cultural diversity of the world was a direct outcome of the biological diversity of the world. He wrote often how he began to understand the extraordinary ecological diversity of India—ranging from the rangelands of the trans-Himalayan cold desert of Ladakh to the pastures of the hot desert of Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat. From the forests of the sub-temperate high mountains of the Himalayan range, which outside the poles boast of more glaciers than anywhere else in the world, to the forests of the high tropical mountains of the Nilgiris and Palnis in the south. Amongst all these different ecosystems and land formations, Anil was most fascinated by the vast riverine and coastal plains, especially the Indo-Gangetic plains where he was born. The Indo-Gangetic Plains are the world’s most flood-prone plains. They sit below Earth’s most seismic and also its youngest mountain system; as a result, these ranges, which are lashed by intense rainstorms, are also intensely fragile and erodible. These are highly productive, life-supporting lands, but their ecology is inherently tumultuous and crisis-ridden.
Anil made us realize that these ecological formations were inhabited by diverse people—nomads with sheep, goats, and cattle in the desert lands; millions of farmers living in the extensive plains growing rice, wheat and millet; tribal people in India’s vast and diverse forests; and the fisherfolk living on the resources of the innumerable wetlands and rivers and expansive coastal waters. He said there is hardly any ecological space that is not occupied by some human group. Instead of becoming a nature-centered environmentalist, he became more and more interested in the extraordinary diversity of the human-nature interactions that exist in India. And in the wholeness, complexity, beauty, innovativeness, and intelligence of these varied human-nature interactions.
The third step in Anil’s understanding of humanist deep ecology was his belief about the extraordinary cultural diversity and its rationality in the India’s extraordinary ecological diversity. From ecology, he had moved to people, and from people-ecology interactions, he had discovered, as he loved to say, culture and its importance and its relationship with ecology.
It was in the innate intelligence of local practices and knowledge that Anil began to see the most unifying factor in the country’s cultural diversity. In fact, as he said, he began to see that over time, the culture itself had encoded and incorporated traditional knowledge of the Indian people in their diets, in the way they live and heal themselves, in the way they cultivate and care for their animals and for plants, in the way they relate to water and to rivers. Almost like culture has become a genetic code—a genetic structure slowly incorporating information on how to deal with the changing environment and pass it on to succeeding generations—the myriad Indian cultures have incorporated practices and beliefs over millennia, which helped them to survive and grow in the harsh, difficult, yet promising and diverse Indian environment.
But Anil was never interested only in studying India. He always was interested in studying what can change India, what can get rid of its poverty, what can eliminate its growing helplessness in dealing with basic issues like water, how it can govern itself better, and so forth. Therefore, he repeatedly asked what he could learn to answer these questions, which will shape current and future India.
Because of this, Anil’s advocacy was about the need to involve local custodians and knowledge-holders in the management of natural resources. The political economy of ecological concern was his business. His major impact was in making us realize that ecological security and food and social security go hand in hand. Because he believed always and fervently that sustainability is about making people understand the impact of their actions and giving them the ability to make the change, Anil’s message was always inspiring and always empowering. This is a far more difficult struggle because it is a struggle against us. But as his work and legacy shows, mindsets are changing and action is beginning.
On his behalf, let me thank the chair and the committee of SCB’s Distinguished Services Award for recognizing Anil and what he stood for. This award would have meant a lot to him. It means a lot to me.
Centre for Science and Environment
New Delhi, India
Anil Agarwal received a special posthumous award from the Society for Conservation Biology in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to making mankind’s onward advancement consistent with ecological protection.
THE FITFUL EVOLUTION OF THE SPERRBEBIET NATIONAL PARK, A NAMIBIAN WILDERNESS IN A BIODIVERSITY HOTSPOT
BY PHOEBE BARNARD
On paper at least, there could be few better examples of environmental planning and policy than the activities over the past few years leading—we hope—to the proclamation of a new park in a biodiversity hotspot, the Sperrgebiet National Park in southern Namibia. But whether this wilderness park will be proclaimed in the next 12 months as planned by the Namibian government remains to be seen, since the park represents a pioneering but often difficult partnership of conservation and mining, in which good intentions must be proven to be more than noble platitudes on paper.
The Sperrgebiet, or ‘forbidden area,’ is a vast and spectacularly beautiful wilderness in the southwestern coastal corner of Namibia, abutting the cold Benguela Current of the Atlantic Ocean. It forms the northern part of the Succulent Karoo biome, one of the world’s top 25 biodiversity hotspots, and the only arid hotspot. The Succulent Karoo lies mainly in South Africa, extending into Namibia, and is home to an extraordinary richness of succulent plants and associated biota, some with extremely restricted ranges. It is a mediterranean-type but harsh winter-rainfall environment, a very species-rich island in the sea of the hyper-arid, summer-rainfall Namib Desert. Fog, wind, and sand movements are important ecological drivers.
Most of the Sperrgebiet has been protected for millennia by its harshness and inaccessibility. It is nearly uninhabitable by humans, and completely unsuitable for agriculture by virtue of its lack of water, fragile substrates, and the unforgiving wind which sculpts its austerely beautiful landscapes. Over most of the past century, the Sperrgebiet also has been protected because of its diamond deposits. Diamonds were found near the coastal village of Lüderitz in 1904, and coastal and riverine stretches of the area have been mined intensely under high security since then. The Namibian government now manages most of the 26,000 km2 area (not including the active mining area held by the Namibia-DeBeers Corporation, which makes up about 5% of the overall area). However, more than a third of the Sperrgebiet is covered by mining and prospecting licenses issued by the Ministry of Mines and Energy, which is under pressure to open the restricted area to base metals prospecting and mining.
In 1998, a Sperrgebiet Land Use Plan was commissioned by a joint committee of the ministries of Environment and Tourism, Mines and Energy, Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, and other parties to explore sustainable land use options and minimize opportunity costs of the short-term mining activities. An environmental investment fund and a natural resource accounting project in Namibia both are trying to facilitate the reinvestment of profits from unsustainable land uses into sustainable uses. Coupled with Namibia’s constitution, which explicitly protects biodiversity and ecological processes in support of Namibians’ welfare, and a recently completed national biodiversity strategic plan that promotes systematically derived conservation targets in biodiversity priority areas, the situation on paper in Namibia looks pretty good.
As always, however, the proof will be in the pudding, and not in the recipe book. The land use plan, prepared for the Namibian Government by Walmsley Environmental Consultants with the interministerial committee and other partners, proposes the proclamation of a multiply-zoned national park (with upgrading of zones as mines are phased out and restored). In the longer term, the park will be a major jigsaw puzzle piece in the envisaged trinational, transfrontier Namib Desert conservation area, which will link Angola in the north, Namibia at the core, and South Africa in the south.
The Sperrgebiet Land Use Plan is an excellent and visionary plan. But by April 2002 it still had not been submitted to the Namibian cabinet for approval, so the National Biodiversity Programme has resuscitated the plan and the steps toward park proclamation. The 2002 World Summit on Sustainable development provides a relatively rare ‘window of opportunity’ for fast-track political commitment, and in that light we have found good political support for the idea of a new national park—not an easy concept to promote in a country with very urgent needs for land reform and poverty alleviation. However, pockets of apathy remain, and it is not yet clear whether our efforts to proclaim the area will succeed.
Mining and conservation are not comfortable partners during the best of times, but Namibia has remarkably good mining partners. It cannot afford to forego millions of dollars in treasury revenues from diamond and zinc deposits in order to protect a remote and inaccessible biodiversity hotspot. So delicate negotiations at the political and technical levels are underway to secure commitment for a partnership of mining and conservation interests within a national park framework. At the same time, the Sperrgebiet Conservation Plan has been initiated to refine the initial land use zoning. This area-prioritization process is led by the Namibian firm EnviroScience in partnership with the National Biodiversity Programme, Directorate of Parks and Wildlife Management, and is expertly facilitated by Conservation International. The Sperrgebiet Conservation Plan is closely associated with SKEP (Succulent Karoo Ecosystem Plan), the larger, transfrontier conservation plan for the entire Succulent Karoo. SKEP is an important process facilitated by Conservation International that is similar to the very successful CAPE (Cape Action for People and Environment) program in the Cape Floristic Region, southern Africa’s other top biodiversity hotspot.
The Sperrgebiet National Park will substantially increase the broad level of protection afforded to the Succulent Karoo hotspot. Strengthening of conservation measures in the adjoining Richtersveld Park in South Africa, and identification and protection of additional sites in that country, will be important outcomes of the SKEP process. Given the vulnerability of the Succulent Karoo biome to climate change and land use pressures, as demonstrated by Guy Midgley, Richard Cowling, Timm Hoffman and others, it is important to design conservation areas with process corridors to support predicted species responses. It is also essential that we have the management capacity to implement these conservation plans in the long term.
Namibian National Biodiversity Programme,
Directorate of Environmental Affairs,
Private Bag 13306,
biodiver@.na or email@example.com
Phoebe Barnard, Coordinator of the Namibian National Biodiversity Programme, received a 2002 Distinguished Service Award from SCB in recognition of her extraordinary contribution to conservation in Namibia, especially for putting science into practice. Building on her highly regarded research on animal ecology, Barnard has obtained the support of natural and social scientists throughout Namibia, whose expertise and energy are making the National Biodiversity Program a truly national effort.
SCB’S 2002 ANNUAL MEETING: A SUCCESSFUL INTERNATIONAL FORUM
SCB’s 16th Annual Meeting, the first ever held in Europe, was held 14–19 July 2002 at the University of Kent at Canterbury in the United Kingdom. The meeting was co-hosted by the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) and the British Ecological Society.
Generous sponsors allowed us to help support travel expenses for a substantial number of attendees. The British Ecological Society paid half of the registration and accommodation costs for 158 registered students from many different countries. SCB awarded 32 full travel grants to students and professionals from developing countries; residents of 21 countries were represented in these groups. The British Ecological Society, Conservation International’s Center for Applied Biodiversity Science, and World Wildlife Fund USA’s Russell Train program also provided funds to cover all expenses for certain symposium speakers and mid-career professionals from developing countries. The U.S. National Science Foundation awarded grants for full travel and registration costs to 12 North American students.
This sponsorship helped us achieve our aspirations for hosting a dynamic mix of attendees. With a total of 1049 attendees from 74 countries, this was SCB’s most internationally diverse annual meeting to date. The attendees also included 188 registered students, who nicely counterbalanced the silverbacks. In addition, the 2002 meeting was the first four-day annual meeting of SCB. The change from three to four days allowed us to offer a greater number of presentations in fewer parallel sessions. The scientific program included 7 concurrent sessions each day, as well as a total of 16 symposia and 3 workshops. There were 580 oral presentations (149 in invited symposia, 431 contributed) and 86 posters.
The meeting’s theme, People and Conservation, reflected two key interests. First, much conservation in Britain and Europe has to be achieved in highly man-modified habitats; this is one of the reasons why the British Ecological Society, with its distinguished history of contribution to conservation biology, co-hosted the meeting. Second, the mission of DICE is to integrate international conservation and development sustainably by combining natural and social sciences in designing measures to help conserve biological diversity. The meeting included four plenary lectures. Sir Crispin Tickell discussed sustainability and conservation in the context of the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Fikret Berkes spoke about rethinking community-based conservation. Richard Cowling addressed planning for multiple biodiversity targets in the Cape Floristic Region. Finally, John Lawton, recipient of SCB’s 2002 Edward T. LaRoe III Memorial Award, spoke about future priorities for conservation biology
The SCB members’ meetings were significant in two regards. First, while only the Marine Section had been established formally before the meeting, an evening devoted to discussion among members of each international section resulted in achievement of a key SCB objective: the launch of sections for Africa, Australasia, Europe, Neotropical and Austral America, and North America (establishment of an Asia Section is well advanced). Second, the turnout at the general Members’ Meeting was the strongest ever.
Social events were well attended and widely enjoyed. The weather remained incredibly kind throughout the week, to the point that many overseas delegates no longer believe Britons’ favorite complaints! The high point for many attendees was a special concert in Canterbury Cathedral. Over 500 people attended the awards ceremony, which closed with a spectacular firework display.
Approximately 150 people took advantage of 15 field trips to witness the tight relationship between people, built and managed environments, and biodiversity in south-east England, and the conservation efforts underway to protect the region’s remaining native biodiversity. The Kent Wildlife Trust provided considerable support in organizing the field trips.
Fun and energy generated at this meeting notwithstanding, we should end on a serious note, given that the biodiversity crisis continues. Following Sir Crispin’s plenary, the meeting attendees agreed to send a declaration to the Secretary General of the United Nations, which concluded with the following.
“Our collective research and experience confirm that conservation of the diversity of life on earth, the lands and waters it needs to survive, and the natural processes that sustain it, are essential to long-term human survival and prosperity. A future for all humankind that nurtures the full potential and dignity of each individual is inseparably linked to robust, functioning ecological systems.
With this knowledge, we, on behalf of our colleagues around the globe, urge the delegates to the 3rd United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development to support the Secretary General and embrace and include conservation of biodiversity as a keystone element of the agenda emerging from your historic Summit. Alleviation of poverty and pursuit of a sustainable human future depend on a diverse, vibrant, and healthy planet. This can only be achieved by fully integrating the maintenance of biodiversity with sustainable development.”
Many thanks for joining us in Canterbury. It was our pleasure to host this year’s meeting, and we hope that it was a rewarding and enriching experience for all. The positive comments we already have received from so many delegates has amply repaid the hard work of the local committee.
for the SCB 2002 Organizing Committee
2002 SCB STUDENT AWARDS
University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
How large do reserve networks need to be?
Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada
Collapse of pelagic and large coastal sharks in the northwest Atlantic
University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Direct-use value of biodiversity, sustainable livelihoods and conservation
Fourth place (tie)
Duke University, North Carolina, USA and North Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Ecological and political implications of conversion from shade to sun coffee in Puerto Rico
Miami University, Ohio, USA
Effectiveness of parks and reserves in protecting endangered biodiversity: a case study of the Tana Primate National Reserve, Kenya
Emma Burns, University of New South Wales, Australia
J. Alan Clark, University of Washington, USA
Corinna Hoodicoff, University of Victoria, Canada
Winsor Lowe, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, USA
Diego Vázquez, University of Tennessee, USA
Betsy von Holle, University of Tennessee, USA
UPCOMING ANNUAL MEETINGS
Member input requested
Did you attend the 2002 meeting in Canterbury? If so, SCB wants your input! To continue making our annual meeting as relevant and useful to our members as possible we ask that you complete a short online evaluation form. Please go to /SCB/a.cfm?MeetingSurvey and take a few moments to let us know how satisfied you were with the meeting. Your completed evaluation will help us improve the quality of future SCB meetings.
2003: Duluth, Minnesota
The 17th Annual Meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology will be held 28 June—2 July 2003 in Duluth, Minnesota, USA. The theme of the meeting, Conservation of Land and Water Interactions, will focus attention on water, forests, wetlands, the Great Lakes and other large lakes and rivers of the world, marine and coastal systems, and associated biodiversity issues.
Topics for invited symposia already have been selected. However, the local organizing committee will continue to consider proposals for workshops and organized discussions that are submitted by 30 November 2002. For more information contact 2003@ or visit /2003/. The call for abstracts for invited symposia, oral presentations, and poster presentations will appear on SCB’s web site in October 2002 and in the November 2002 issue of this newsletter. All abstracts will be due by 10 January 2003.
2004: New York City
The 2004 annual meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology will be held 30 July – 2 August at Columbia University, New York, New York, USA. The meeting will be hosted by the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC), a consortium of five New York science and education institutions: the American Museum of Natural History, Columbia University, the New York Botanical Garden, Wildlife Conservation Society, and Wildlife Trust. More details will appear in future issues of the SCB newsletter.
2005: Call for Proposals
SCB’s Board of Governors is soliciting proposals from organizations that would like to host the 2005 annual meeting. The Board is open to proposals from anywhere in the world. The deadline for receipt of proposals is 1 May 2003. To obtain a copy of the proposal format and instructions please contact Richard Knight, chair of SCB’s Conference Committee, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEWS FROM THE SCB MEMBERS’ MEETING, CANTERBURY, 17 JULY 2002
Approximately 140 people attended the 2002 Members’ Meeting. These minutes summarize the most substantive news from the meeting.
Finances. SCB’s 2002 revenue is anticipated to be ~US$1,400,000. About 1/3 of the revenue will come from foundations and grants to support Conservation In Practice as it becomes self-sufficient. The remainder will come from subscriptions to Conservation Biology, grants to the Executive Office, the 2001 annual meeting, donations, interest, and other sources. Estimated expenses for 2002 are ~$1,300,000. In 2002, $30,000 will be added to SCB’s endowment (currently $548,000). Our goal is to build an endowment equivalent to one year’s operating budget.
Executive Office. SCB’s Executive Office opened in October 2001. Alan Thornhill is Executive Director, and Elizabeth Parish is Operations Manager. The Nature Conservancy kindly has provided the Executive Office with office space for its first two years of operation. The office will focus on services for SCB members and on international policy issues (mainly by providing information at the science / policy interface).
Publications. See this newsletter for the Conservation Biology Editor’s report. Four issues of Conservation In Practice (formerly Conservation Biology In Practice) were published during the past year. The publication currently has 3200 paid subscribers. SCB’s newsletter now is available in five formats: PDF (with or without graphics), RTF, HTML, and print. An electronic voting option was established for the 2002 Board of Governors election. About 80% of the ballots were cast electronically. Each of the new sections has up to one page to use in each newsletter. SCB’s web site remains a vital method of communication. The site receives ~500,000 visits per month, ~15% from outside the U.S. The membership expertise database is fully operational.
International Sections. See this newsletter for updates.
Planning and Development. The February 2002 Board of Governors meeting was mainly a strategic planning exercise. The Board believes that SCB has three primary areas of emphasis that need continued development: the Executive Office, internationalization, and Conservation In Practice. Conservation Biology also remains a key focus. In addition, the Board hopes to move SCB toward advising on the science behind international policy and increasing support for teaching of conservation. External grant support is needed to achieve many of SCB’s goals.
Chapters. SCB has 25 active chapters in the United States, China, Philippines, and Bolivia. The newest chapter is in New Orleans, Louisiana. A group of members in Indonesia recently inquired about forming a chapter.
Meetings. The 2003 annual meeting will be held in Duluth, Minnesota, USA from 28 June—2 July, and the 2004 meeting will be held in New York, New York, USA from 30 July—2 August. Proposals for the 2005 annual meeting will be accepted until 1 May 2003.
Awards. The number of Distinguished Service Award categories was reduced to five (Academia; Government; Outside Academia and Government; Social, Economic, and Political Work; Education and Journalism). The Group (private, non-profit) category was eliminated. In 2001, the Awards committee received 29 nominations, including 17 candidates outside the U.S. and nine women. Five nominations were received for the 2002 Edward T. LaRoe III Memorial Award.
Student Awards. The 2002 Student Awards competition drew 43 abstracts, 12 of which were selected as finalists. The Student Awards committee seeks additional members; contact committee chair Aram Calhoun (email@example.com) if you are interested in serving.
Policy. The Policy Committee will work with representatives from each of the international Sections to determine the criteria by which global policy issues are selected for SCB engagement.
Education. Because the Education Committee has 30–35 members, most of its work is conducted via subcommittees. Conservation literacy guidelines should be available on SCB’s website by September 2002. The committee sponsored successful roundtable discussion for educators and practitioners at the 2002 meeting that drew ~50 attendees.
Membership. During the next few years, one of the Membership Committee’s priorities will be retention of existing members. The Board of Governors has created a low membership rate of US$10 to make membership more affordable for conservation professionals in developing countries. Members who take advantage of this alternative will receive an electronic version of the newsletter and access to member-only sections of the web site. SCB is working to develop a more comprehensive sponsored membership program that includes publications.
Bylaws. The membership unanimously approved five substantive changes to SCB’s Constitution and Bylaws. (1) SCB’s Executive Director was designated an ex officio (non-voting) member of the Board of Governors. (2) Composition of the Executive Committee was formalized (President, immediate two past Presidents, President Elect, Secretary, and Chief Financial Officer). (3) The President was empowered to speak for SCB only after consultation with the Executive Committee. (4) Student Awards and Membership became standing committees. (5) The process for proxies at special meetings of the Board of Governors was formalized.
Board of Governors. Mac Hunter thanked the Board members whose terms expired at the close of the 2002 meeting (Robert Curry, Peter Kareiva, Curt Meine, Sarah Reichard, and John Robinson) and welcomed the new Board members (Paul Beier, Luigi Boitani, Paula Kahumbu, Bryan Norton, David Norton, John Ogden, Jon Paul Rodriguez, Kathryn Saterson, Bruce Thompson, and David Wilcove). Information about the 2003 election will appear in the November 2002 newsletter.
Sarah Reichard, Secretary
CONSERVATION IN PRACTICE WINS THE GOLD
SCB’s publication Conservation In Practice won a 2002 Excel Gold Award for magazine excellence. This award is given annually by the Society of National Association Publications in recognition of outstanding writing, content, graphic design, and overall packaging. More than 900 entries were submitted for this year’s award; past recipients include American Scientist, BioScience, and Nature Conservancy. In the words of SNAP, “ [SCB’s] efforts have truly identified the Society for Conservation Biology as a leader.”
When we launched Conservation In Practice two years ago, we set out to create something different. We were looking to fill a niche between the weight of academic journals, the glitz of popular magazines, and the advocacy of membership publications. Fortunately, we had no idea of the challenge we were setting for ourselves. The learning curve has been steep—sometimes seemingly vertical. But the more we get our feet on the ground, the more we are putting new ideas in play.
A well articulated idea can upend the status quo. Our goal is to capture such ideas in the pages of Conservation In Practice. We want to change the way readers think about conservation, challenge conventions, and stimulate creativity. Getting there is another matter. We often spend months brainstorming ideas for articles and volleying drafts back and forth with authors to get it right. A clear sentence is no accident.
We hope our model works for you. As we build our editorial calendar for 2003, we are scouting for your ideas. What are the key issues and important problems that you face? What should the conservation biology agenda including during the next five years? Ten years?
Contact us at any time. We appreciate your support, we hope you’ll stay with us, and encourage your friends and colleagues to subscribe!
Kathryn Kohm, Editor
Catherine DeNardo, Senior Editor
Kerri Waszkiewicz, Circulation Director
Kate Snow, Contributing Editor
Conservation In Practice
Department of Zoology, Box 351800
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 685-4724, FAX (206) 221-7839
WASHINGTON WELCOME FOR EXECUTIVE OFFICE
The launch of SCB’s Executive Office in the Washington, D.C. area is a significant step toward incorporating conservation science into international and U.S. policy making, agency funding, and decision-making—a component of SCB’s mission and vision. To celebrate the establishment of the Executive Office, The United Nations Foundation and co-sponsors hosted a “Welcome to Washington, D.C.” reception at Conservation International on 12 June 2002.
Many top scientists and policy advisors gathered for the evening, which included catered food and drink, several notable speakers, and the opportunity for SCB staff to meet members of the environmental community who are located in the Washington, D.C. area.
Speakers included SCB’s Executive Director Alan Thornhill, who delivered a message from President Mac Hunter as well as his own comments. The audience also was addressed by SCB Board member Gustavo Fonseca; Tom Lovejoy, President of the Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment; Conservation International President Russell Mittermeier; and UN Foundation Vice President Melinda Kimbel.
The reception was co-sponsored by the American Institute of Biological Sciences, Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society, Wildlife Conservation Society, World Resources Institute, and World Wildlife Fund.
CALL FOR 2003 AWARD NOMINATIONS
Edward T. LaRoe III Memorial Award
The Edward T. LaRoe III Memorial Award is given annually to an individual for outstanding application of science to the conservation of our biological resources. The intention of the award is to recognize the innovative application of science to resource management and policy. Although all scientists will be eligible for the award, because of Edward LaRoe’s distinguished career as a public servant, preference will be given to employees of governmental resource management or science agencies.
Past winners of the LaRoe Award are
2001: Robert Pressey
2000: Phil Pister
1999: Chandler Robbins
1998: J. Michael Scott
1997: Barry Noon
1996: Kathy Ralls
1995: Reed Noss
The 2002 LaRoe Award winner is John Lawton.
Please send nominations for the 2003 LaRoe Award to J. Michael Scott, Department of Fish and Wildlife, P.O. Box 44-1141, Room 103, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844-1141, firstname.lastname@example.org (with copies to Sarah Martinez, email@example.com).
Nominations should be in the form of a nominating letter with an accompanying resume of the nominee. Nominations must be received by 1 October 2002.
Distinguished Service Awards
SCB annually presents five awards for distinguished service in the field of conservation biology. For the 2003 awards, SCB is soliciting nominations from its members and others working in the field of conservation biology. The five categories eligible for the award are
Outside academia and government
Social, economic, and political work
Education and journalism
To obtain a nomination package, please contact Seema Paul, Awards Committee Chair, spaul@. Nominations must be received by 1 October 2002.
THANKS TO SCB’S COMMITTEE MEMBERS
SCB benefits greatly from the energy and dedication of many members who participate in committee activities and initiatives. We would like to thank everyone listed below for their efforts during 2001–2002.
Mac Hunter, President
Awards. Seema Paul (Chair), J. Michael Scott (LaRoe subcommittee Chair), Katrina Brandon, William Conway, David Duffy, Caldwell Hahn, Nigel Leader-Williams, Barry Noon, Reed Noss, Phil Pister, Kathy Ralls, Walter Reid, Chandler Robbins, Eleanor Sterling, Ken Vance-Borland.
Conference. Richard Knight (Chair), David Duffy, Kerry Irish, Devra Kleiman, Kent Redford, Chris Wemmer, Bethany Woodworth.
Education. Steve Trombulak (Chair), Priscilla Allen, Paul Angermeier, Rob Baldwin, Jim Beets, Britta Bierwagen, Robert Blair, Carol Brewer, Glenn Brown, Elaine Caton, Meg Domroese, John Drake, Tom Fleischner, Betty Harper, Marion Hourdequin, Susan Jacobson, Larry Klotz, Sheryl Leffer, Gina Crowder Levesque, Jeffrey Lusk, Tim Male, Shaily Menon, Kristian Omland, Rick Paradis, Dan Perlman, Julie Robinson, Sacha Spector, Eleanor Sterling, Georgia Valaoras, Peter Zahler.
Internationalization. Mac Hunter (co-Chair), Georgina Mace (co-Chair), David Given, Jane Packard, Kent Redford, John Robinson, Jon Paul Rodriguez.
Media. Robin Meadows (Chair), Mark Brunson, David Johns, Patrick Kelly, Elizabeth Parish, Catherine Puckett, Alan Thornhill.
Membership. Erica Fleishman (co-Chair), Curt Meine (co-Chair), Mike Collopy, David Flaspohler, Nigella Hillgarth, Stephen Humphrey, Mac Hunter, Kathryn Kohm, Gary Meffe, Mil Muskett, Jane Packard, Sarah Reichard, John Robinson, Alan Thornhill, Jason Van Driesche, Kerri Waszkiewicz.
Nominations. Reed Noss (Chair), Dee Boersma, Dennis Murphy, Erica Fleishman.
Planning and Development. Nick Salafsky (Chair), David Blockstein, Elizabeth Parish, Alan Thornhill.
Policy. Michael O’Connell (Chair), Tracy Dobson, Joseph Dudley, Leah Gerber, Caldwell Hahn, Martin Main, Barry Noon, Jamie Reaser, Walter Reid.
Student Awards. Aram Calhoun (Chair), James Gibbs, Rosemarie Gnam, Kimberlie McCue, Eleanor Sterling, Sacha Spector.
CONSERVATION EDUCATION: TRAVELING BLUES
The Norwegian philosopher and environmentalist Arne Naess made a distinction between science specifically designed to preserve species and ecosystems—conservation biology—and science designed to keep the human economy going—in his view, most other environmental science. He also encouraged all environmentalists to examine their personal consumption of resources. While Naess is known as the progenitor of ‘deep ecology,’ a close reading of his work (including essays in the journal Conservation Biology and in M.E. Soulé’s 1986 edited volume Conservation Biology) does not emphasize ecological spirituality. Naess, as shown by his highly readable book Is it Painful to Think?, was a consummate academic in the Western intellectual tradition. (His other book, Ecology, Community and Lifestyle, is somewhat convoluted but worth reading.)
As conservation biologists, most of us are acutely aware of our personal consumption of resources. However, some of our routine actions truly may not be sustainable. When affluent residents of developed countries travel to less developed areas, the impact of their choices regarding product consumption may not only be immediate. Instead, their choices also may impact future decisions about local or regional commerce and contribute to global homogenization. Accordingly, I have compiled a few questions about travel.
• This is conference season, and many of us are zipping around the world. Is this a blind spot?
• What distance do you fly each year?
• Do you rent cars, or use public transportation whenever possible?
• Do you demand a high level of service and comfort (e.g. air conditioning, heat) at your destination?
• Do you eat local foods?
• Do you project a colonial image when it comes to ecotourism? Do you attempt to see the natural world through the eyes of your guides? Along these lines, do you share your own knowledge of local and global ecology? Do you view yourself and the guides as a partners and colleagues?
• Do you drink local beer?
EDUCATION COMMITTEE INVITES NEW MEMBERS
SCB’s Education Committee is looking for new members for the coming year who are interested in working on specific projects to advance the educational mission of SCB. Although we do most of our work via email, the committee is a work group and not a discussion group. Projects we will work on during the coming year include enhancement of the SCB Education Resources website, development of mechanisms to promote conservation biology material in K-12 classrooms, and development of tools to aid conservation education in developing countries, among other initiatives.
If you would like to be considered for the Education Committee during the coming year, please send an email message to the committee’s chair, Steve Trombulak (firstname.lastname@example.org), by 15 October 2002.
TEXAS A&M CHAPTER EDUCATES, CELEBRATES LOCAL BIODIVERSITY
Discovering, celebrating, and nurturing local biodiversity was the theme of the fifth annual BioBlitz in College Station, Texas. The 24-hour event, held 5–6 April 2002, was organized by the Texas A&M University Chapter of SCB in partnership with the City of College Station Parks and Recreation Department. BioBlitz is a public event that brings together scientists, students, and community members of all ages. For a second consecutive year, the event was held at Lick Creek Park, a 500-acre park that has remained relatively undeveloped.
A record number of 350 participants, volunteers, and community members attended BioBlitz 2002. The event was launched with a barbecue followed by guided walks, insect black lighting, and a late-night search for chorus frogs. Creating a 24-hour inventory of the plants and animals that live in the park was one of the major activities of BioBlitz. Survey teams of university faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and community members identified and recorded species in each of six groups: birds, mammals, fishes, reptiles and amphibians, plants, and invertebrates. Guided walks through the park that were conducted each hour by survey team members provided opportunities for dialogue among citizens and scientists. Throughout the event, local wildlife and environmental organizations exhibited their work and provided educational information. BioBlitz participants also contributed to a simultaneous community event, Keep Brazos Beautiful, by helping to clean Lick Creek. A major goal of BioBlitz was to foster children’s interest and appreciation of biodiversity. KidBlitz provided opportunities for hands-on learning, including games such as Biodiversity Bingo. Children also explored pelts, bones, and preserved specimens, and handled and viewed local species of snakes, turtles, insects, and fishes.
BioBlitz 2002 benefited from the leadership of April Conkey, David Laurencio, Jane Packard, Duane Schlitter, and Sheila Walker and from generous sponsors, donors, and grants. The greatest successes of BioBlitz 2002 were the interactions among scientists and citizens, and the encouragement of youth to explore and value local biodiversity. We look forward to extending these successes into BioBlitz 2003!
Leah Brown (Vice President, Texas A&M University Chapter)
2002 CONSERVATION BIOLOGY EDITOR’S REPORT
Gary K. Meffe, Editor
with input from Margaret Flagg, Editorial Assistant, and Ellen Main, Managing Editor
In 2001, six issues of Conservation Biology were published on time. The number of manuscripts submitted in 2001 significantly increased from the previous two years (10.9%), to the highest number ever received, which presented quite a challenging workload for the Editorial Office. Three Special Sections appeared in 2001, and a total of 1846 pages was published, down 5% from the previous year (the all-time record). The new feature Conservation in Context appeared in 2001 and engendered great interest. Once again Conservation Biology received a great deal of press coverage thanks to our media consultant, Robin Meadows, who provides news tips to the media of selected articles one week before each journal issue is mailed. These tips are picked up by the media, and numerous inquiries are made and stories written. News tips also continue to be made available on-line through the science news service EurekAlert! (). Our Editorial Assistant, Margaret Flagg, and Managing Editor, Ellen Main, continue to do exceptional work.
The submission rate for this journal year (January through December 2001) increased from 2000. We received 643 manuscripts, up from the 580 manuscripts submitted in 2000 and 581 in 2001. We also received and processed 121 preliminary manuscript inquiries, a major increase (36%) from the previous year’s total of 89. Most of these consisted of an abstract and an inquiry as to its suitability for the journal. The trend in submittal rate is as follows:
Year : Number of manuscripts : % change
1993-94 : 302
1994-95 : 378 : 25.2
1995-96 : 434 : 14.8
1996-97 : 540 : 24.4
1997-98 : 579 : 7.2
1998 : 614 : 6.0
1999 : 581 : -5.3
2000 : 580 : -0.17
2001 : 643 : 10.9
Overall, the interest in submitting manuscripts in 2001 increased significantly from 2000, with many more preliminary inquiries and actual submittals.
We used 31 ad hoc Assigning Editors this year, individuals who handled one or more manuscripts but are not on the Board. Ad hoc Editors were used when a manuscript did not fall within the expertise of existing Editors, when they had special expertise in the area, or if the appropriate Assigning Editor was particularly busy with other manuscripts. This system has worked very well and will continue to be employed. Ad hoc Editors are acknowledged in the December issue of each year and are an integral part of this journal; I thank them for their contributions.
Decisions and Rejection Rates
Of the 643 papers received in 2001 (Table 1), 236 (36.7%) were rejected by the Editor without review (up from the previous year’s 32.9%), usually within three days of submittal and usually due to inappropriateness of subject matter or low quality; 407 (63.3%) were sent for review, most through Assigning Editors and a few directly by the Editor.
Table 1. Journal-year statistics, 1 January-31 December 2001
Number of manuscripts
Month : Submitted : Rejected by editor : Sent for review : Total rejected : Accepted : No decision
January: 51 : 19 : 32 : 36 : 14 : 1
February: 50 : 3 : 37 : 30 : 19 : 1
March: 57 : 20 : 37v38 : 15 : 4
April : 39 : 11 : 28 : 29 : 8 : 2 :
May: 56 : 22 : 34 : 42 : 12 : 2
June: 59 : 14 : 45 : 39 : 13 : 7
July: 51 : 21 : 30 : 40 : 7 : 4
August: 62 : 21 : 41 : 45 : 8 : 9
September: 47 : 18 : 29 : 33 : 9 : 5
October: 61 : 28 : 33 : 45 : 4 : 12
November: 53 : 24 : 29 : 36 : 3 : 14
December: 57 : 25 : 32 : 38 : 2 : 17
TOTAL: 643 : 236 : 407 : 456 : 107 : 78
Of the 407 manuscripts sent for review, 220 (54.1%) were rejected, 107 (26.3%) were accepted, and no decision had yet been reached on 78 (19.2%), which are still in review or in revision with authors. Of the total number of papers submitted (643), 456 (70.9%) were rejected (a major increase from last year’s 59.1%), 107 (16.6%, compared with last year’s 25.0%) were accepted, and no decision was yet reached on 78 (or 12.1%, down from 15.9% last year) as of 10 June 2002. Of the 565 papers for which decisions were made, 456 (80.7%) were rejected. However, some of the “no decision” papers are being revised and are likely to be accepted, so the overall rejection rate will be lower than this, probably near 75%.
Turnaround time generally continued to improve in 2002, despite the significantly heavier workload. Mean turnaround time for manuscript review decreased from 87 days in 2000 to 75 days in 2001 (Figure 1; min = 5; max = 288). We have an ongoing struggle with busy reviewers completing the task in a reasonable amount of time, and we continue to replace Assigning Editors who are consistently slow. Time from acceptance to publication (Figure 2) increased slightly from 229 days to 237 (min = 135; max = 352) due to a slight backlog that has built up. Although up slightly, time from acceptance to publication continues to be near the lowest in the journal’s history. Total time from submission to publication (Figure 3) decreased again from 406 days to 353 (min = 149; max = 501), the lowest in journal history. Thus, average time from submittal to publication is now just under 12 months, down from 13.5 months in 2000.
Region of Authorship
Region of authorship is determined by the address of the first author at the time the work was done, and only partially reflects sovereignty of contributions. International participation in authorship is actually higher than indicated by these statistics. Of the 107 papers submitted and accepted in 2000, the proportion written by U.S. authors continues to be frustratingly higher than we would like, and actually increased slightly from 64.6% to 68% (Figure 4). Regional changes from 2000 are Asia (2% to 2%), Africa (2% to 0%), Australia (6.8 to 7%), Canada (4% to 5%), Central/South America (7.4% to 3%), and Europe (11.5 to 15%).
The page budget for the journal remains the same at 1632 pages; 1846 pages were actually published in 2001, but at no extra cost to the journal or the Society for Conservation Biology because special sections are funded externally. These sections represent a bonus for the readers.
The journal’s Science Citation Index rating for 2001 continued to be strong at 2.78, virtually unchanged from 2.81 in 2000.
As always, Editorials continue to be one of the more challenging aspects of journal production. We welcome submissions of potential Editorials or discussion of ideas for such. Email the Editor at the journal’s address (email@example.com) with your thoughts and ideas.
Publications from SCB’s Review of Recovery Plans
From September 1998 through June 2002, under the leadership of P. Dee Boersma, SCB conducted a national review of recovery plans for species listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act [see SCB Newsletter 6(1):12]. The June 2002 issue of Ecological Applications (Volume 12, Issue 3) contains a special section, “Applying ecological science to recovery planning,” which includes 13 papers coauthored by graduate students and agency personnel. A final overview paper is in press in Conservation Biology.
SCB’s characterization and review of existing recovery plans was conducted with the full cooperation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The goal of the review, which was carried out by graduate student seminars at 18 universities, was to compile a database and conduct exploratory analysis of the information in recovery plans in a manner that (a) facilitated communication among students, faculty, and USFWS and (b) contributed toward development of training programs and guidance to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of producing recovery plans based on sound science. Data from nearly 200 recovery plans included in the review served as the basis for a broad characterization and analysis of recovery plans that was conducted at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California.
These publications will be a lasting contribution not only to understanding constraints on federal resource agencies, but to fostering more academic interest in the needs of land managers and decision-makers. Special thanks to Debby Crouse, Peter Karieva, Gordon Orians, William Fagan, Jonathan Hoekstra, and the many students, faculty, and USFWS staff who contributed to this effort.
The Dennis Raveling Scholarship for Waterfowl Research is awarded annually to students with a desire to pursue a career in waterfowl or wetlands ecology. Awards are based on the candidate’s resolve, high academic achievement, and project merit. Candidates must be pursuing an advanced university degree in wildlife, zoology, botany, ecology, or a related biological science. The scholarship helps provide field experience and training in the tools, methods, and concepts of waterfowl and wetlands research and management. Two awards (US$2000 and $1000) will be given in 2002. The deadline for receipt of applications is 31 October 2002. For details contact Nicole Berset, California Waterfowl Association, 4630 Northgate Blvd., #150, Sacramento, CA 95834, (916) 648-1406, FAX (916) 648-1665, nicole_berset@.
The School of the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Institute for Plant Biology and Loyola University Chicago announce an agreement to develop and offer a joint academic program in plant conservation biology. This is the only higher-education program of its kind in Chicago. The partnership targets the needs of the School’s own students and Loyola University Chicago undergraduates and postgraduates interested in careers in plant conservation. Courses are taught by plant conservation scientists at the Chicago Botanic Garden and Loyola University faculty. Loyola will provide accreditation in merit certificate programs in plant conservation biology and ornamental plant materials, and for several of the School’s courses. For more information contact the Chicago Botanic Garden, (847) 835-8261, /certificate/pcb.html.
The Columbia Mountains Institute of Applied Ecology will offer a course on DNA-based wildlife studies from 18–21 November 2002 in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. The course consists of three consecutive sessions: study design and field methods for DNA-based, mark-recapture inventories, genetic analysis of individual identity in DNA-based inventories, and advanced mark-recapture analysis of genetic data. Cost is CAN$175 per session. For more information, contact the Institute at (250) 837-9311 or .
EcoLife Expeditions will conduct a field course in wildlife management from 28 December 2002 – 12 January 2003 in South Africa. The course is geared to students interested in African wildlife conservation. The syllabus includes lectures, classes, and hands-on projects taught by instructors from the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Wildlife Management. The cost of the course is US$1300. For more information contact Ecolife Expeditions, 976 Duncan Street, Brooklyn, Pretoria 0181, South Africa, +27 12 460 5430, FAX +27 12 460 9707, Education@ecolife.co.za, www.ecolife.co.za.
Free copies of The Conservation Handbook, by William Sutherland, are available to practicing conservationists and institutions outside North America, western Europe, Japan, New Zealand and Australia who otherwise would find it difficult to obtain a copy. In lieu of paying royalties to the author, the book’s publisher, Blackwell Scientific, provides a free copy for each copy sold. The Christensen Fund kindly has provided a grant for the postage and the bookstore generously agreed to administer and distribute the copies. To request a copy, or suggest a copy for someone else, please complete the form on the web at /xchange/grat_reg.html. Please quote the reference number(s) given on the application form in any correspondence. So far over 1700 copies have been given away to 134 countries. The number of copies donated can be followed at /info/sutherland/Gratis_Copies_Summary.html. This scheme was easy to set up and easily could be copied for other conservation books and field guides.
The Columbia Mountains Institute of Applied Ecology will host the conference Mountain Caribou in 21st Century Ecosystems from 16–18 October 2002 in Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada. Mountain caribou are an ecotype of woodland caribou living in the snowy mountains of southeastern British Columbia, and a red-listed species. For more information contact the Institute at (250) 837-9311 or .
The Ecological Society of Australia and the New Zealand Ecological Society will hold a joint meeting from 2–6 December 2002 in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. Details are available at www.tesag.jcu.edu.au/ecology2002/ or from Jill Landsberg, P.O. Box 6811, James Cook University / School of Tropical Biology, Cairns, Queensland 4870 Australia, (07) 4042-1443, Jill.Landsberg@jcu.edu.au.
The Ninth North American Crane Workshop and North American Crane Working Group will be held 21–25 January 2003 in Sacramento, California. Contact Scott Hereford, (228) 497-6322 x 28, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Tom Hoffmann, thoffmann@, /~nacwg.
SCB is a co-sponsor of the symposium Innovations in Species Conservation: Integrative Approaches to Address Rarity and Risk, which will be held between February and April 2003 (dates to be announced) in Portland, Oregon. Speakers will discuss innovative management strategies directed at conserving rare or poorly known species, including the ecological, social, and legal context of these strategies and the risks and uncertainties associated with their implementation. For more information, see http://outreach.cof.orst.edu/species/ or contact Ruth Jacobs, (541) 750-7304, email@example.com.
The fifth annual San Francisco Bay Area Conservation Biology Symposium will be held 1 February 2003 in Berkeley, California. The symposium will be hosted by the Berkeley Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology. The symposium will serve as a forum for graduate students and faculty to share and discuss recent findings and policy issues in conservation science and to encourage collaboration among scientists, practitioners, and policy makers. For more information see www.cnr.berkeley.edu/consbio/symposium.html or contact Sarah Reed, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Allison Bidlack, email@example.com.
Partners In Flight—Joint Meeting of the Northeast and Southeast Working Groups will be held 12–15 March 2003 in Blacksburg, Virginia. The workshop will highlight ongoing planning, delivery, and evaluation efforts contributing to landbird and all-bird conservation goals of Partners in Flight and the North American Bird Conservation Initiative. A portion of the program will focus on efforts in the Appalachian Bird Conservation Region. Abstracts for oral or poster presentations should be submitted by email to Jeffrey Walters, firstname.lastname@example.org, by 15 January 2003 or 31 January 2003, respectively. For complete information see http://fwie.fw.vt.edu/www/military/PIF_Blacksburg.htm.
The 3rd International Wildlife Management Congress will be held in Christchurch, New Zealand on 1–5 December 2003. This will be the first time a wildlife management meeting of this magnitude has been held in the southern hemisphere. The Congress will have a strong Pacific and southern hemisphere flavor, but the main focus will be on contrasting perspectives on wildlife management in the northern and southern hemispheres. Deadline for receipt of abstracts for papers is February 2003. For full details see www.conference.canterbury.ac.nz/wildlife2003/.