We want you to know what is going on in the BOD, our meetings, our actions, members leaving, the new ones elected,... but text written in this blog cannot be taken an official position or statement of the Society for Conservation Biology. Probably it is not even an official statement of the section... as these need to be approved by the members.
Tuesday, 15 November 2011
SCB Europe Section Elections - President Elect Candidates - Vote by 30th November!
Pierre L. Ibisch, biologist, doctor of natural science with habilitation in botany. Since 2004 professor for Nature Conservation with Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development. Founding director of the international Master Study Programme Global Change Management (MSc; 2005-2006), former dean of the Faculty of Forest and Environment (2006-2009). Research champion of the faculty; in 2009 he was awarded one of the university’s first research professorships (first phase 2009-2012; denomination “Biodiversity and natural resource management under global change”). Founding co-director of the Centre for Econics and Ecosystem Management (since 2011). Speaker of a collaborate post-graduate programme on adaptive nature conservation under climate change(since 2009). Since 1991, research and work experience in several countries Europe, Asia, Central and South America (e.g., 9 years in Bolivia, context of German development cooperation, among others as Director of Science Department of a major conservation NGO, 1997-2003; projects and activities, among others, related to biodiversity inventory and policy, protected area management, ecoregional planning and impact assessments). Member of various national and international commissions and advisory groups (e.g., Conservation Chair Bromeliad Society International, 2005-2010). Since 2004 active involvement in activities of the Europe Section of the Society for Conservation Biology: member of the Policy Committee (chair 2007-2008 and since 2011; active participation in initiative of promotion of roadless areas as conservation target) and Board of Directors (2005-2007 and since 2011). Member of the Scientific Committees of 1st European Congress on Conservation Biology, Eger, Hungary (2005-2006), 2nd in Prague, Czech Republic (2008-2009) and 3rd in Glasgow, Scotland (organizer and chair of various symposia and workshops; promoter of policy and ‘footprint activities’ in Prague, among others, special event related to ecological footprint, ‘footprint project initiative’).
I joined the Policy committee of the European Section of SCB in 1998, and pursued as a member of the Board of Directors (2 mandates) and as chair of the Communication Committee. My background is in animal behaviour & behavioural ecology (France, Canada) and currently evidence-based conservation and systematic reviews in environmental management (UK). I am very interested in promoting good science and efficient practices by working with all sorts of stakeholders.
The Europe Section has proven to be successful in many ways thanks to the dedication of a few dedicated persons (ECCB, publications, networking, summer school, coordinator…). In the future, we must build up the capacity of the Section(s) in order to be more influential at the policy, education and communication levels. The impact (and, sometimes, usefulness) of science is questioned in these times of financial turmoil. Scientists are asked to give their advice, opinion to support major decisions, but face problems to make themselves understood and heard by decision-makers. Regularly, the independence of scientist is questioned, which jeopardizes the core values of good science as an objective, bias-minimizing, innovative discipline.
The messages conveyed by the Europe section on its recent booklet is to promote better science, better practices. Those cannot be mere wishes. It is time for action. To my opinion, the current structure of the Section is not enough to convey these messages. We cannot expect you, members, to be more committed and involved in our activities based on such broad theme such as Edudation, Communication or Policy (our committees). Task forces, working groups, thematic actions, do. So what am I proposing? With your support, I would like to prepare, as President elect, the ground for a more efficient SCB Europe. To organise, in close concertation with the Executive office and the other Sections, a pilot experiment where the Europe Section would develop itself based on the equivalent of the famous UICN’s specialists’ groups, except that SCB’s mission is not to focus on individual species as such, but on the role science plays in their conservation and management. The pilot working groups would provide guidance about good methodologies to address various questions of policy and practice relevance, would appraise and support tools to communicate about why conservation sciences are indeed scientific disciplines, why a scientific approach is needed, where to find the experts and best advice, how to get access to the most up-to-date knowledge and synthesize it, how to develop critical thinking and assertiveness when facing pressure groups and difficult situations. Encouraging education programmes to support this, in universities and schools but also through continuous professional development, has already been envisioned and must benefit from an increased commitment. Europe has its own challenges, due to the variety of its cultures and histories, to make it an asset, we need to strengthen the Section. With your help.
I am Head of the National School of Forestry and Principal Lecturer in the Forestry, Conservation and Applied Science at the University of Cumbria. I am a behavioural and population ecologist specialising in the conservation and management of large mammals and forest ecosystems. I joined the SCB as a PhD student and I am a Life Member. I was elected to the European Board of Directors in 2004 and served for 6 years as Secretary; in 2010 I was elected to the Society’s global Board of Governors. I am currently Chair of the Local Organising Committee for the 3rd ECCB.
I believe that I am an ideally qualified candidate for the position of President-Elect bringing experience from both the European Board of Directors and the Society’s Board of Governors to the leadership of the Europe Section. 10 years on form the foundation of the Section we have established our identity through both the ECCB and our action on policy but it is now time for the Section to begin to mature in its role within the Global Society.
One of the greatest challenges which will face the Section (and professional societies generally) in the coming years will be retaining membership. We must be visible to the membership and effective in our actions. I believe that I can bring the skills of academic leadership to the activities of the Section and help us grow and develop as we continue the task of promoting science based conservation action among policy makers, practitioners and the scientific community.