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2014 Plenaries

Monday, July 14, 8:00-9:30 a.m.

Conservation Biology, Politics and Policy—What Does It Take for Science and Scientists to Make a Difference? 
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Organized by Mike Phillips, Dominick DellaSala and David Johns
Panel: Dan Ashe, Dominick DellaSala, James C. Greenwood, David Johns, Mike Phillips and Bob Ream

Conservation Biology, like medicine, is a mission driven discipline.  It is not just about accumulating scientific knowledge and insight but applying both to heal the natural world.  With anthropogenic-caused extinction rates rising and ecological systems being degraded at unprecedented rates finding and implementing solutions is more and more urgent.  Many conservationists—and not just those in SCB but in advocacy NGOs, agencies, or acting as individuals—are trained in the natural sciences.  Although some have political experience, many or most lack in-depth knowledge of the political process and what it takes to achieve conservation in policy fora.  A troubling number seem to disdain and discount politics.  Those with political knowledge mostly have experience with “insider” approaches - providing information to decision-makers, making recommendations and the like.  Few if any have experience with “outsider” strategies such as the sort of mass mobilization and organizing that, e.g. ended segregation in the US or brought 20 mill people into streets on the first Earth Day.

For conservation science to assist in redressing the problems that threaten Earth’s biological diversity, conservation biologists have to more fully engage in all aspects of the political process.  The plenary session proposed here will consider practical ways to accomplish that engagement through discussing the roles individual scientists can and should play in the decision making process and exploring why organizing is necessary and communication is not enough.

For meeting participants that are interested, there will be an informal session scheduled immediately after this plenary to have smaller group discussion with the speakers to continue the conversation on how to engage in all aspects of the political process in the UC commons after the break at 10:00 a.m.

Tuesday, July 15, 8:00 - 9:30 a.m.
Conservation Across National Borders
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Organized by Brett Dickson, Vicky Dreitz, and Richard Jeo
Panel: Karsten Heuer, Richard Jeo and H. Ronald Pulliam

Conservation boundaries are often defined by country borders. North America’s two major borders have differing global recognition.  The US-Canada border is commonly described as the longest undefended border in the world.  The US-Mexico border represents the difference range of economic levels.   While these borders express differing pressures, both share a common characteristic – numerous transborder conservation initiatives.  Many government and conservation organizations have been successful with initiatives in respond to the threat of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation.  This plenary we will highlight the ecological, sociocultural, economic, and political consideration to establish conservation initiatives across national borders. 

Wednesday, July 16, 8:00 - 9:30 a.m.
The Consequences of Thinking Big: Conservation Across Cultures for Landscape-scale Results

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Organized by Chris Filardi, Doug Clark, Eleanor Sterling
Panel: Eleanor Sterling (moderator), Leo Douglas, Kiki Jenkins, Jess Housty, Linaya Workman, Germaine White

Achieving large landscape conservation in North America requires strategies with diverse actions implemented across complex societal, cultural, as well as ecological boundaries.  Gone are the days of working primarily on public lands.  To pursue conservation on scales increasingly called for by Conservation Biology, actions must engage varied cultural approaches to basic resource management questions, and must reflect how diverse stakeholders value different species and ecological communities. Additionally, biological boundaries and conservation priorities are often misaligned with political, cultural, or societal boundaries, complicating approaches to working across the social and biological dimensions of landscape conservation.

In response, conservation movements worldwide are actively seeking ways to better understand diverse points of view and co-create common visions.  This panel and associated symposia will bring together people with diverse identities and experiences working across cultural boundaries with sustained positive results.  Through plenary discussion and diverse presentations, the event aims to highlight key issues relevant to achieving positive cross-cultural conservation outcomes.  By reflecting upon the diversity of perspectives and approach across our own species, we can begin to see ourselves not as one movement, but as a species divided by richness that may provide the precise admixture of humanity necessary to confront the complex tasks before us.


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