The U.S. Endangered Species Act requires not only protection of all listed threatened and endangered species, but also recovery of species so that they are no longer at risk of extinction. Determining when species are recovered has proven to be difficult, in part because we do not know how to systematically measure the effects of the various factors that contribute to extinction risk. As a result, it is difficult to determine how much of those factors must be alleviated for species recovery.
Change is constant for Pastoral Social Ecological Systems (PSES), which have had to respond to social environmental change over the millennia. Livestock domestication, provision of 10% of the planet's meat, and the use of 20% of Earth's land exemplify the scope and scale of PSES responses.
Novel ecosystems - where biotic and/or abiotic changes have led to systems that have no analog in the present or past - are a worldwide phenomenon. Myriad interacting environmental changes and thresholds to restoration prevent return to some historical state. What should restoration ecologists do when confronted by such systems? One answer may be to restore function to degraded systems.
Reduced diversity of populations can have far-reaching consequences for ecosystem functioning and resilience when it results in lost capacity for individuals to adapt or acclimate to changing environmental conditions. Such losses are of concern for species such as the submersed aquatic plant species Vallisneria americana that have experienced large declines due to anthropogenic factors.
Sustainability, social media, and women are a unique combination. How do people network around concepts of sustainability, and what is the role of social media and social networks in particular? The Global Women Scholars Research Network uses the platform of the Commission for Sustainable Development, Rio+20 to look at how women network around a science issue, particularly sustainability and climate change.
Redefining our Relationship to Nature: Alternative Environmental Metaphors and Socio-environmental Synthesis
Our approach to conservation—and to nature—is shaped in part by our metaphors. In this presentation, I examine alternative ways of conceptualizing invasive species (e.g., “invasional meltdown” versus “novel ecosystems”) and evaluate their implications for socio-environmental synthesis and, more broadly, for our relationship with nature.
A meeting of cyberinfrastructure officers and/or center Directors was facilitated by NSF program officers to help identify and prioritize cyberinfrastructure needs. Additionally, a goal of the meeting was to determine the extent of coordination necessary to allow an independent network of biological research centers and center-like organizations to thrive and add value to existing and future investments across the research community.
The SESYNC Graduate Scholars Program harnessed the creative abilities of graduate students from both the social and natural sciences to identify socio-environmental topics that are ripe for synthesis. The SESYNC Graduate Scholars represent a diversity of academic disciplines and geographic regions. The program included a Theme Identification component amongst the Graduate Scholars, as well as an online social networking component between each Graduate Scholar and his/her own network of other graduate students.
Researchers will convene a workshop to build a prototype system that combines elements of choice modeling, ecosystem modeling, and interactive multiplayer games all focused on capturing the economic value individuals on alternative levels and qualities of ecosystem services. Participants will develop a novel tool that will involve an interactive gaming platform linked to an ecosystem simulation model. This will allow individuals to “play” the system to create their version of the “best” landscape.