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.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Call for Nominations for 2015 SCB Service Awards

Deadline to apply is 1 December 2015

SCB is accepting nominations now through 1 December for 2015 SCB Service Awards!
Award winners will be recognized in front of their peers at SCB's 2015 International Congress for Conservation Biology and European Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB-ECCB) in Montpellier, France (2-6 August 2015).

From early career scientists to well-known conservationists, SCB Service Awards honor those whose commitment to conservation inspires others to succeed and whose outstanding achievements in the field contribute to lasting conservation success.

Past winners include Al Gore, Georgina Mace, David Attenborough, Phoebe Barnard, Eleanor Sterling and dozens of others who have made extraordinary contributions to conservation biology and the preservation of Earth's biodiversity. 

SCB will recognize winners from the following award categories at ICCB-ECCB 2015:

    Edward T. La Roe III Memorial Award (one winner)
    Distinguished Service Awards
    Early Career Conservationist Awards

Learn about each award type and submit your nomination(s) on the SCB 2015 Service Awards page of the SCB website. Non members are eligible to win an award, but you must be a member to make a nomination. Self-nominations are accepted. All nominations must include at least two letters of support.

Questions? E-mail Awards Committee Chair Carolyn Lundquist

SCB President Rodrigo Medellin presents Eleanor Sterling, (top left), James Watson (top right), Lucas Joppa (bottom left) and Bill Sutherland with SCB Service Awards at ICCB 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014


Nominations for the next Board of Directors elections including election of President and President Elect has already started. 
Submit your candidate now!

Dear SCB Europe Section Member,     
The deadline to submit nominations for the next Board of Directors (BOD) elections for the Society for Conservation Biology – Europe Section is fast approaching. Please submit nominations by Friday 31 October. We have five seats that will be opening:     

We need candidates that are willing and capable to allocate time to the work on the SCB-ES Board. We do not need candidates unwilling to take on SCB-ES tasks on top of their usual workload.
Board Members’ duties include active input to BoD activities and the willingness to chair one of our standing committees.  We particularly seek for persons interested in conservation education and/or policy. BoD activities also include travel to two BoD meetings per year somewhere in Europe usually in February and October.  

The President-Elect shall closely cooperate with the president in section activities, and perform the duties of the President when the latter is absent. Term of office for the President-Elect shall be 3 years followed by 3 years as President.

The President's responsibility is to maintain and improve the visibility and activity of the Section in accordance with SCB strategic foci. The President shall organize and preside over meetings and mailings (including electronic mailings) intended to substitute for meetings, and shall serve as the Section’s voting representative on the Society’s Board of Governors.

If you know of anyone who would be a good candidate for these slots (including YOURSELF; self-nominations are quite common) please submit this SCB Europe Section Call for Board Nominations 

Form by e-mail to:    
Edina Mozes 
SCB-Europe coordinator 
In subject indicate EXACTLY to facilitate my work:     
"SCB-ES Elections"

E-mail address: europe@conbio.org

The deadline for nominations is 31 October 2014.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Short report on IPBES events, in conjunction with SCB and ICCB-ECCB 2015

IPBES, the Intergovernmental Science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is a major initiative of governments to copy the success of IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change) in the topics of biodiversity and ecosystem services. These are in the focus of conservation biology, and of SCB as well. Our society was involved into the development of IPBES from the very beginning, and still active stakeholder to IPBES. After more than a year of development IPBES get to more visible activities, like the recent meetings on “Guide on production and integration of assessments from and across all scales”, and the “Regional scoping for a set of regional and subregional assessments”. Both deliverables had meeting in Paris, 13-16 August for the Guide, and 17-22 August for the Regional scoping. The Regional scoping is of extreme importance for the academic and non-academic communities, as it defines what regional assessments will be, which are the regions, what are the major policy questions to be addressed, etc. Nearly a hundred experts were involved into the scoping meeting, and many hundreds from around the globe will work in the assessments, including natural and social scientists, and indigeneous and local knowledge holders.

At the recent meeting Piero Visconti, co-chair of ICCB-ECCB 2015 Scientific Committee, Georgina Mace SCB past president and myself SCB-Europe president were invited to the scoping meeting in Paris. In addition, Salvatore Arico from the host organisation (UNESCO), past board member of SCB-Europe was present. Piero and myself initiated discussions with a number of experts about ICCB. We beleive that ICCB can be the best forum to present the first outputs of IPBES to the wide conservation community of c. 2000 participants in Montpellier. Anne Larigauderie, IPBES executive secretary, will give a plenary talk at the congress, and other activities on IPBES are also under planning.

Be prepared – ICCB-ECCB 2015 is approaching! 
Call for symposia is out (http://iccb-eccb2015.org/).

ICCB-ECCB 2015 poster presented at IPBES meeting, with Anne and myself.
András Báldi

Monday, 22 September 2014

Capercaillie, Banya and hot discussions: The Board goes north-east.

Lake Ladoga, Russia: Leaving from the big city of St. Petersburg, it takes only 5 hours (including 2 hours traffic jams) to reach the taiga and the largest lake in Europe, holding 1% of the world’s freshwater. Few wooden huts, simple-style toilet and a small Russian sauna („Banya“) served the perfect settings for our board meeting. The Board has now covered its most significant proportion of geographic Europe, from Portugal (Francisco) to St. Petersburg (Rustam, hosting  the meeting) – an aerial distance of 3600 km. It also included Edina, our new coordinator (who will introduce herself officially in the next blog entry).

Following the tradition, our meeting opened with a symposium at the University of St. Petersburg, jointly organised by the university, the regional NGO Baltic Fund for Nature, and SCB. It comprised  two presentations by Russian conservationists, and several introductory contributions by the Europe Section on how SCB works, what it does and a collection of main issues on our agenda at the regional, national, and international levels (e.g. CAP, IPBES, roadless areas). The venue – a spectacular Rococo-style room within a 400m-long corridor, added a particular historical aura to the event: A man-size golden clock took the elegant, luxurious Tsar way of reminding the speakers to keep to their time slots.

Having our Board meeting in Russia is indeed a historical event for the Society: An important strategic aim was to strengthen the links between East and West, improve the integration of Russian researchers and students in the SCB community, and, overall, draw greater attention to the Greater Europe in the Section’s agenda.
To experience wilderness and near-roadless areas, we travelled into the taiga and visited the beaches of Lake Ladoga and a bird-ringing station in the strictly protected, Nizhne-Svirsky Nature Reserve, encompassing an area of 41,000 ha. A travel on a narrow road (video taken by Francisco will come soon, to demonstrate how shaky it was ;-)) gave us the opportunity to watch several capercaillies, millions of mushrooms, and several spots of beaver activity. Finally, at the sandy shores of the (sadly over-fished and still-too-polluted) lake, we came to a crossroads: Where a small stream ends at the waters, animals have to pass as well. There we found the footsteps of elks, wild boars, wolves, raccoon dog and a bear. A crossroads also for us: here we shared a glass of champagne (actually plastic cups) with our András to commemorate 12 years of service to the SCB on his last board meeting.

Back at the beautifully simple venue, an attentive crew allowed us to maximise the time allocated for intense discussions. Issues of particular importance in our Board meeting involved membership and involvement: how can we improve participation of students, and better serve their wishes and needs? Can we facilitate the creation of new, vivid Chapters that would support local themes? And how can we improve communication – especially toward ICCB-ECCB? Other thematically important issues were wilderness, roadless areas and EU policy (e.g. the CAP).

We are indebted to Rustam (Board member and Director of the Baltic Fund for Nature), his assistant Tanya and the team at the reserve for making the visit of the Society in “true” eastern Europe so smooth.

For more information on issues such as the ICCB-ECCB, Šumava and the Common Agricultural Policy, and to know more about our Edina, our new coordinator, please await the next blog entries over the coming days.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Submit your proposal and present your topic at the most important Conference in Conservation Biology!

The 27th International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB) and the 4th European Congress for Conservation Biology (ECCB) take place in August 2-6 2015, in Montpellier, France.
It is time to submit your proposal for Symposia, Thematic Poster Exhibitions, Workshops, Round Table Discussions or Training Course. 

The central theme of the congress will be “Mission biodiversity: choosing new paths for conservation”. Accordingly, we envision ICCB-ECCB 2015 to be a truly interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary meeting, where delegates and students attend from as broad a range of professions and sectors as possible.

So, please feel free to distribute the call for Symposia, Workshops, Thematic Poster Exhibitions, Round Table Discussions and Training Course to colleagues and friends – including non-biologists e.g. Social scientists, Environmental Psychologists and Economics, Educators, members of interested NGOs – let’s make the upcoming ICCB-ECCB a place for a true dialogue.

We are also building a team to organize a range of exciting social events at the conference – parties, art, open spaces for a dialogue. Are you in? If so, click on ICCB-ECCB-social and write to us!

Deadline for submission is 31st October 2014. Notification of the results will be given prior to December 1st 2014. 

Click here for more information about the submission and ICCB-ECCB 2015. 

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Bialowieza: Far East or the centre of Europe? The Policy Committee checks in person.

Dead wood in a living forest
(left to right: Adam, Nuria, Stefan, Anna, Francisco, Willem.
Picture: Guy)
At the sound of the name, naturalists’ minds reverberate with pictures of temperate European jungle, roamed by bison, wolves, and other representatives of what “wilderness” is. Last week (26-30 Aug), the Policy Committee of SCB’s Europe Section had the chance to check imagination against reality, right at the border between Poland and Belarus. Five of us were welcomed by our charming colleague Nuria Selva, long-standing PC member and a former PC chair, as well as a resident of Białowieża for over 15 years. Nuria is a specialist on large carnivores and carcasses, and both Nuria and her partner Adam (naturalist, journalist) have an excellent knowledge of “their” forest. Adam and Nuria took us for three hikes into the forest, including the core zone of Białowieża National Park that was recently expanded to more than 5,000 hectares: It is by far the largest remnant of primeval temperate forest in European lowlands. Together, we could see in our eyes how a fully-functioning forest looks like, with hardly any management. We found wolf tracks, and were brought by Adam at fresh bison droppings (of impressive size) - even before the dung beetles had found them! All in all, we were happy to learn that Białowieża is, finally, at quite a good conservation status. At the moment no immediate action seems needed for its protection, but we need to remain alert, active and proactive.

Białowieża serves an excellent case study for many issues that are at the core conservation agenda in Europe and elsewhere: Wilderness versus management and forestry; strictly protected areas in a matrix of land use; large predators versus hunting; and the blessings and curses of EU policy – Białowieża surely provided inspiration for the true mission of our 2014 PC meeting.
Two days of intensive work were just enough to discuss consider a range of activities and questions which the Policy Committee deals with:

-          Activities around the Common Agricultural Policy with a recent Science article led by SCB-ES members – successfully echoing among decision makers but requiring further actions at the European Parliament;

-         the Roadless Areas Initiative, which started in our committee and is now going global – with a variety of activities including an upcoming plenary talk, session, and a concluding declaration at the upcoming Infra Eco Network Europe (IENE) Congress  2014 in Malmö, Sweden; and´

The Policy Committee at work
(Left to right: Francisco, Nuria, Willem, Guy, Martin.
Picture (and an empty Chair on the left): Stefan)
-         the status of other activities that the PC has engaged with, such as "conservation for peace", the state of Šumava National Park, etc.

One of the most important topics we discussed was the next ICCB-ECCB (International and European Congress for Conservation Biology), which will take place in August 2015 in Montpellier, France. We made various observations, among others, on the preparation process (website, cooperation with the City of Montpellier etc.) and the schedule (e.g. on plenary talks and side events), and brought up numerous ideas (to be reported soon), and we are confident that our work will contribute to the success of the congress.

Final note: if you think we travelled to the “Far East” of Europe for that meeting, check the map again. Our continent is tiny, but not THAT tiny. While our respected colleague Francisco made a huge distance from Portugal (by plane, train and taxi), he merely covered half the continent – to reach the very centre of Europe, geographically speaking. Did you know the European part of Russia has about the same size as the rest of the continent? Our trip to the eastern border of the EU should thus serve an important reminder for SCB’s “Europe Section” (not EU!) that we should continue ‘discovering’ the ‘other half’ of Europe. The forthcoming meeting of the Section Board of Directors will take place in two weeks in St. Petersburg and Lake Ladoga, Russia – to further remind us of our whole-European duties.

Stay tuned!

Stefan Kreft* and Guy Pe’er

Policy Committee of the Society for Conservation Biology - Europe Section (*Chair)

Thursday, 10 July 2014

SCB summer school: excursion to Greek mountains in Papingo

It was Sunday morning; all of us were energetic and excited. We were dressed up for hiking and ready to go. After a week of intensive classes, every student was looking forward to a long day hiking. Our instructors John, Gabor, Martin and Thanassios looked at roads on the map while having breakfast.  We were 11 students, two lab assistants and four instructors going for an excursion to Papigo. It started 8.00 in the morning from Ano Pedina. Winding roads surrounded by green forest, the excursion to Papingo started with extra-ordinary landscape from early morning. As we drove higher, views of mountains, roads, valleys and village patches got outstanding. 

After 30 minutes of driving we reached Papingo, a small beautiful village in the slopes of a mountain. Beautiful houses and narrow streets built from stones made the trip worthy from the beginning. Everything gave new impressions to us and there seemed to be much to explore. John took us to the small shop where we bought water, ice cream, chocolates and cookies for the 3-hour climb.  We started to walk towards Mikro Papingo, a village nearby Papingo at around 9 and reached there in 15 minutes.  We found Mikro Papingo as a unique village, sitting smiling on slopes of huge mountains as if mountains stand there proudly and high giving a spectacular natural view. Although we were getting late for the climb, we couldn’t stop taking pictures. 

Climbing till the refuge
We headed for a 3-hour climb towards the refuge. The hiking way and directions were well marked all
On the top
along the way. Few springs and shelters helped us for taking rest on the uphill. A clear day throughout the afternoon allowed us to enjoy the scenic views. Martin was looking at butterflies using his net, and presented us with several colorful and new species during the whole trip. We were fortunate to see some snow patches along the slopes on top of the mountain, not melted, being in the shade. Once we reached the refuge at the pass, the view on the other side of the mountain was magnificent. Although we were tired from the steep climb, the beautiful view from the top refreshed all of us. Our eyes extended far towards the horizon,it was full of mountains and scenic view. The landscape, narrow ridge of the mountain and clouds seen nearby will always be reminiscing to us. We took lots of photographs and had some toast and sandwiches at the refuge.

After half an hour, with our heads full of adventure, we went slowly downhill to Mikro Papingo. Dinner was organized in the village Papingo by the summer school. Gabor had already brought some wine from the village and all of us got the opportunity to taste it. Before returning to Ano Pedina, we had some time to buy souvenirs and “tsipouro”, a unique drink of Greece. All of us really enjoyed the excursion and will always remember the wilderness view from the top of the hill.

Rumakanta Sapkota