The goal of our Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) Europe Section Blog is to share stories and relevant information about activities going on within our section and more broadly in the conservation community. Stories and articles shared on our blog should not be taken as an official position or statement of SCB or SCB Europe Section. Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Welcome to the new Board members - results of the 2011 Elections

We are pleased to announce that we have five Board members elected in the 2011 Elections!  Two former BoD members: Raphael Arlettaz (Switzerland) and Bengt-Gunnar Jonsson (Sweden) have been re-elected and three new people joined the Board: Piero Visconti (Italy), Tibor Hartel (Romania) and Guy Pe’er (Germany) starting their terms in 1st January 2012. Barbara Livoreil has been elected ”President Elect".

Congratulations and welcome on Board!

About the new members:

Barbara Livoreil

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 IUCN’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.

Raphaël Arlettaz

Raphaël Arlettaz' scientific background is in population biology, community ecology, eco-physiology and behavioural ecology. Since his nomination at the head of the first chair of Conservation Biology in a Swiss University (2002), he has re-oriented his research activities towards applied conservation biology and restoration ecology. Arlettaz also leads a field station of the Swiss Ornithological Institute in the Alps of Valais, a biodiversity hotspot. Raphaël has wide interests in biodiversity preservation. His studies aim at providing the necessary, rigourous evidence-based guidance to maintain and restore ecosystems and their typical emblematic species, especially vertebrates and invertebrates occurring in agro-ecosystems and Alpine ecosystems. He is also very committed to bridging the great divide that exists between research and action in conservation biology, developing integrated research-implementation programmes, mostly in Switzerland. Since 2011, Raphaël serves as the chair of the Membership-Chapter committee within the Europe section of the Society for Conservation Biology. He is currently stimulating the creation of regional chapters across Europe. In Raphaël’s opinion, such chapters might contribute to strengthen the Europe section of SCB while bridging the research-implementation gap that also prevails in Europe.

Tibor Hartel

I was born in 1978, in Sighisoara, Romania. My PhD (2008) was about amphibian ecology and conservation in a traditional rural landscape from Central Romania. I am a landscape ecologist with increasing interest toward the social aspects of biological conservation. My current research funded by Alexander von Humboldt Foundation address the ecology of the ancient wood-pastures from Transylvania and the attitudes of rural communities toward this human made ancient landscape element. What is the fate of this ecologically and culturally unique landscape element in a changing world? What are the limits and possibilities of protecting them? What are the ecological and social consequences of losing them? Such questions can be extended to other cultural heritages such are buildings, traditional crops which will likely have the same fate in the future. I feel that Eastern Europe is still underestimated in its importance for global conservation biology. In an ideal world I would see a more strong international focus on the Eastern European landscapes and societies. I especially encourage mixed teams made by natural-, social scientists, modelers and non-academic persons and institutions working together to address and develop solutions for the various and increasingly complex problems of Eastern Europe. I see the SCB-ES as a good platform for making lobby in this direction. I am in close collaboration with major local NGO`s and institutions and a number of international academic institutions. I particularly feel good in interdisciplinary teams, and consider my ability to bring good people and institutions together as strength.

Bengt Gunnar Jonsson

I am professor in Plant Ecology, with a focus on forest biodiversity and conservation policy. As a leading vision I wish to contribute to sustainable forest management in northern Europe. This includes not only providing relevant scientific knowledge and evidence, but also to make this available to forest stakeholders and policy makers. Since 2009 I have been a member of BoD of the Europe Section since. My main task has been the SCBs involvement in the new international science-policy interface (IPBES) where I have been the acting Head of the SCB global ad-hoc committee on the issue. I received my PhD at Umeå University, Sweden and have post-doc experience from Oregon State University, USA. Currently I hold a position as professor at Mid Sweden University in Sundsvall and am the project leader of the “Forest Biodiversity Group”. External activities include membership in the Swedish advisory board for the Convention for Biological Diversity. In addition I have participated in numerous national reference groups on protected areas, monitoring of forest biodiversity and Swedish environmental targets. As coordinator for the research network PRIFOR I have organised several workshops, symposia, conferences and excursions around forest biodiversity, forest history and sustainable forest management.

Guy Pe'er

I am conservation biologist, working on the interface between ecological theory and applied conservation.
My general interests include a) identifying factors that affect population dynamics and biodiversity in fragmented, heterogeneous and human-dominated landscapes; b) linking different ecological levels, from animal behaviour (primarily, movement, dispersal and connectivity), through population dynamics to community structures and biodiversity patterns; and c) developing of tools for nature conservation in light of land-use- and climate-changes, and ensuring their implementation on-the-ground.
While butterflies serve as a main focal group in my empirical work, I develop and utilise individual-based simulation models to study animal-landscape interactions for various hypothetical and real species, including (so far) butterflies, Eurasian Lynx, and birds.
My involvement in science-policy dialogues include serving as spokesman of the Lepidopterists’ Society in Israel (2005-2008) where I led, together with Mr. Dubi Benymini (president of the society), a successful campaign for the protection of butterflies in Israel; working within the EU FP7 project SCALES which seeks to identify means to match the scales of policy and management with the scales of ecosystem processes; and coordinating the Butterfly Monitoring Scheme in Israel (IL-BMS) since its launching in 2009 (together with Dr. Racheli Schwartz-Tzachor and Dubi Benyamini). I am a member of the SCB since 2002, and a member of the Policy Committee of the SCB-ES since 2010. Here, I wish to enhance the inclusion of scientific knowledge in decision-making and policy, and strengthen the capacity of the SCB to do so.

Piero Visconti

I have served in the Student Affairs Committee of the Society for Conservation Biology from 2008 and I am a founding member of the Student Affairs Committee of the European Section. In these positions I have promoted and coordinated awards for students such as the Spotlight on Student Research and the wiki page for Conservation Biology students. I am also actively involved in making the next European Congress on Conservation Biology student-friendly by promoting discounted accommodation, travel grants, student awards, workshop and courses of interest for students. I believe in a direct involvement of SCB members into SCB decision-making through web-polls and open forums which the Student Affair Committee has successfully trialed to develop its mission and inform the design of the student programme at the next ECCB conference. I am also very supportive of the formation of local SCB chapters to bridge the divide between conservation science and practice and assist conservation practitioners in achieving their conservation goals through the aid of SCB. I look forward to serve in the European board to strengthen the link of the board with SCB members, especially students.
I did my PhD in Australia on systematic conservation planning in dynamic landscapes and global priority-setting for mammals. Back in Europe, I am now a post-doc at the Global Mammal Assessment programme where I conduct research on future scenarios of threats and distribution of terrestrial mammals.

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