Emerging Issues Conference

Next month, the Ecological Society of America will host its second Emerging Issues conference, “Developing Ecologically-Based Conservation Targets Under Global Change.” The conference, conceptualized by Bernd Blossey and Laura Martin of DNR and Dov Sax of Brown University, will bring together one hundred ecologists, social scientists, conservation practitioners, and graduate students to (1) identify existing and novel conservation targets that are ecologically sound in light of rapid global change, and (2) develop a framework for assessing the inherent trade-offs, risks, and benefits involved in achieving those conservation targets. The ultimate objective is to provide science-based, practical decision tools for those charged with implementing conservation strategies throughout North America and internationally.

The conference will be held on February 27-March 1, 2012, at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV. The conference organizing committee also includes Cornellians Susan Cook-Patton (EEB), Ashley Dayer (DNR), Harry Greene (EEB), and Karim-Aly Kassam (DNR).

In 2007, the ESA Governing Board announced a new conference series to provide ESA members the opportunity to organize special conferences highlighting emerging, exciting ideas in ecology with the endorsement and support of the Society. The series, originally named the Millennium Conference Series and renamed the Emerging Issues Series, is intended to address high-visibility issues of wide interest in the science community. Organizers are encouraged to work across disciplinary boundaries, to engage compelling speakers, and to produce high-quality publications.

Special Session at 77th N.A. Conference Will Address Human Dimensions in Relation to Wildlife Health Issues

The Human Dimensions Research Unit at Cornell University have been involved in developing a special session for the 77th North American Conference focused on the human dimensions of One Health for Fish and Wildlife Management (wildlife heath, risk perception, wildlife disease, etc.) See below for the official conference announcement. View the SFWA Flier.

Throughout the world, natural resource agencies are increasingly recognizing and contending with links between human and animal health. This realization has prompted numerous agencies and organizations to develop and adopt comprehensive wildlife/human health initiatives, reports the Wildlife Management Institute.

The unfortunate reality facing management agencies is that emerging and persistent zoonotic pathogens (those that can be shared by animals and humans) directly and indirectly threaten the health of wildlife, domestic animals and humans while also posing serious economic, cultural, and natural resource impacts. Furthermore, these diseases and their management place heavy burdens on the financial and human resources of state and federal fish, wildlife and land management agencies. Although this is disconcerting in itself, of equal or greater concern to natural resource professionals is the additive effect of negative public perceptions associated with diseased wildlife populations.

A Special Session at the upcoming 77th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference will address the urgent need to promote public support for wildlife health via effective communication strategies. Titled, “Integrating Human Dimensions Knowledge and Wildlife Health Management,” this Special Session will be held on March 14, 2012, at the North American Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, and will spotlight the numerous challenges presented to state and federal agencies regarding public perceptions of wildlife-related health risks and stakeholder expectations for wildlife disease management.

The consequences of not effectively managing wildlife health and its biological/psychological influences on the general public will have far-reaching ramifications for the entire field of natural resource management. If wildlife is primarily viewed as a vector of disease, public support for conservation will likely diminish, as positive values associated with wildlife resources are outweighed by human health fears. At stake is public participation in wildlife-oriented recreation, the credibility of the wildlife profession and the status of wildlife as a valued resource.

Speaking at this Special Session will be experts from state and federal resource management agencies as well as researchers from leading universities who will highlight new research and insights pertinent to strengthening fish and wildlife health-related policies and aiding effective implementation. Specifically, presentations will address use of new analytical tools for assessing wildlife disease risks and developing optimal management solutions; stakeholder attitudes and risk perceptions toward wildlife health management; agency capacity to promote fish and wildlife health; and how the One Health paradigm is being applied to build stakeholder relationships and improve communication around fish and wildlife health.

This Special Session, chaired by Shawn Riley and Shauna Hanisch of Michigan State University, will conclude with an emphasis on how human dimensions inquiry can continue to inform our understanding of wildlife health management and the system within which it operates.

Tidball Explored Disaster Relief

On Wednesday, Nov. 9, Associate Director of the Civic Ecology Lab at Cornell University Keith Tidball led a discussion on environmental justice at Hobart and William Smith College. The discussion was a part of the Global Citizenship: Social and Environmental Justice conference.

Tidball continued on the topic started by Dr. Helen Caldicott, the renowned anti-nuclear war activist. His research focuses “on the interactions between humans and nature; particularly how these interactions relate to social-ecological system resilience.”

His discussion, entitled “Recovery and Resilience in the Aftermath of Disasters,” included a panel of HWS students who fundraised for the recent natural disasters in Japan, Haiti, and Hurricane Katrina. He spoke about possible plans for the future that would be helpful on the HWS campus when looking at social and environmental justice issues.

Tidball is program leader for the Nature and Human Security Program and the Communities and Urban Forests Extension Program at Cornell University. He is also the New York State Coordinator for the NY Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN).

To read the announcement about the discussion, visit the Hobart and William Smith College’s website: http://www.hws.edu/dailyupdate/NewsDetails.aspx?aid=14861