The Europe Section Board is now meeting in Riga, Latvia during this weekend (25-27 October). Thank to our host, Guntis Brumelis, we had the opportunity to share our ideas and views in an organized SCB-ES session held in the Faculty of Biology at the University of Latvia as the opening event of the meeting.
The symposium on "Conservation in Europe: Research and policy" was attended by university students, PhD students, researchers and nature conservation bodies. After an introduction on the section and its activities by Barbara Mihók, Guy Pe’er (Communication Committee) talked about the challenges of getting out our messages as scientists to the society. Along the CAP reform to citizen science Guy addressed the question: "Are we using the wrong language?" in policy-relevant issues and concluded scientists need to work on effective ways of reaching out with the same intensity as on providing new scientific evidence.
András Báldi (President, SCB-ES) introduced IPBES and the SCB involvement within the process. In the second half of the session the importance of forest fires in natural forest dynamics in Swedish forests was highlighted by Bengt-Gunnar Jonsson, while Maria Trivinio de la Cal (Student Affair Committee) talked about an ongoing project in Finland connecting ecosystem services, habitat conservation and forest management and the trade-offs between them. Last presentation was held by Tibor Hartel from Romania about the highly complex issue of wood pastures and their special role as traditional socio-ecological systems in Europe.
After the symposium and an evening walk and dinner in the beautiful centre of Riga, the Board started the discussion with a tight schedule. More to come soon.