Dr. Sue Mainka, SCB Board Member & ‘Champion of our Work’; Remembered
The Society for Conservation Biology mourns the passing of board member Dr. Sue Mainka who bravely
faced cancer for five months before passing away on Sunday, February 12, 2012 in Nyon, Switzerland.
“Sue was a dear friend of several SCB Board members,” noted SCB President Paul Beier. “All of us in the
conservation community have lost a friend and true champion of our work.”
Sue maintained a blog – a new pace to life – that poignantly chronicled her struggle with colorectal
cancer as well as the things that brought her joy in the final months: family, a stroll along the lake,
visiting her IUCN office, the Australian Open tennis tournament. She offers humor – comparing her
cheeks to the Pillsbury Doughboy – and she reflects on the costs of cancer, both monetary and
emotional. On December 27 she started to read “The Emperor of Maladies: a Biography of Cancer,”
noting, after the first 100 pages, that “I think [the book] will live up to its reputation as a stellar
description of the state of play for this disease.” It also prompted this observation from Sue: “In 2010
the National Cancer Institute cancer research budget was USD $5.1 billion but the national defense
budget outweighed it 100 fold at USD $663 billion. What are we thinking? Truly we are a perverse
In the weeks before her death, Sue, a tennis fan, followed the Australian Open tennis tournament from
the hospital. It served as a distraction to the side effects of her treatment. A post script to her January
17 blog entry said, “The Australian Open starts this week. Go Roger, Go!” While her preferred champion,
Swiss great Roger Federer, came up short in the tournament, he no doubt gave Sue something fun to
cheer for. The tournament ended with an epic match – a five hour and 53 minute “endurance test”
between the two best players in the world. It was played on January 29, the day of her final blog
In another blog post – December 23 – Sue remarked how a series of earth quakes in Christchurch
reminded her that she wasn’t alone in her struggles: “And in the meantime, yet another series of 5.8+
earthquakes hits Christchurch, NZ, reminding me that there are many people out there with many
challenges to face as serious as mine.”
On December 26, she enjoyed a stroll along the lake where she snapped photos of water birds: “It's
another fabulous day weather-wise and so we stroll along the lake side and I try to take innumerable
photos of swans, mergansers, red-heads, coots, mallards, and (in vain) crested grebes. There seem to
be thousands of water birds all gathered on the lake enjoying all that the sunshine and fresh air has to
offer and when they suddenly and unanimously decide to take off, it sounds a bit like the next EasyJet
flight to Gatwick has just departed.”
Sue’s entire career was devoted to species conservation, including several years of volunteer work after
graduating from veterinary school. She worked on captive management of giant pandas at Wolong
Reserve, tropical rainforest conservation and agroforestry in Xishuangbanna, wetlands conservation,
conservation education in China, and several other projects in central China, Bhutan, Hong Kong and
After years of field work in China, Sue came to the International Union for
Conservation of Nature and served the organization in several capacities, Get Ready for
including as Deputy Head of the Species Programme (1997 to 2000), Head of
the Species Programme (2000 to 2004), and Head of Science and Knowledge ICCB 2013!
Management from 2009 until her untimely death.
“Sue knew well what conservation is about: a mix of technical expertise, SCB is pleased to announce
endurance in the field and skills in managing administration and political that the 26th International
meanders,” said former SCB President Luigi Boitani. “I had a deep admiration
for her tranquil yet most effective approach to manage the incredibly Congress for Conservation
complex IUCN Species Programme. Her blend of intellectual rationality and Biology will take place July
spirituality remains an example for all of us.”
21-27, 2013 in bustling and
On February 4, Sue received the IUCN's Peter Scott Award for Conservation historic
Merit "in recognition of her pioneering work on the conservation of the Giant
BALTIMORE, Maryland, USA.
Panda, her leadership of the IUCN Species Programme, and her
encouragement of conservationists worldwide, especially in Asia."
Just 45 minutes from
Jeff McNeely, chair of SCB’s Policy Committee and the former chief scientist
at IUCN, remembers Sue as a stalwart at IUCN who, through her work and Washington, DC and three
encouragement of young conservationists, cultivated a well of influence that hours from New York City,
endures in death just as it lifted others in life.
Baltimore, one of the oldest
“Sue Mainka was one of IUCN’s stalwarts, always willing to share her cities in the United States, sits
thoughts, offer constructive and thoughtful comments, and do whatever she
on the Chesapeake Bay, the
could to encourage the next generation of conservationists,” McNeely said.
“Sue is gone now, but her influence will be everlasting.” largest estuary in the United
States! ICCB will take place
at the state-of-the-art
Baltimore Convention Center
New Zealand Hosts Historic Congress for Conservation near the inner harbor in
Biology downtown Baltimore!
By Dr. Carolyn Lundquist
SCB's 26th ICCB
Attendees from more than 75 countries descended on Auckland, New July 21-27, 2013
Zealand December 5-9 for the Society for Conservation Biology’s 25th
International Congress for Conservation Biology. Hosted by the Oceania
Baltimore Convention Center
Section, more than 1,300 conservation scientists, professionals and students
gathered for the highly successful conference to present and discuss the Baltimore, MD, USA
latest research in conservation science and practice.
Congratulations to the Oceania Section for making the 25th ICCB one of the See You in BALTIMORE in
best ever! Under the theme “Engaging Society in Conservation,” ICCB July 2013!
featured six renowned plenary speakers, 41 symposia, 24 workshops, 12 pre
More information to come
and post conference short courses, and approximately 400 contributed oral presentations, 150 speed
presentations and 200 poster presentations. The four action-packed days also featured invaluable
networking opportunities with several receptions, special gatherings and field excursions. ICCB was
preceded by the three-day International Marine Conservation Think Tank, which attracted 250
attendees to the University of Auckland for workshops on marine science and conservation.
In addition to putting together a fantastic scientific program, the Oceania Section dressed ICCB in local
Polynesian culture. The conference started with a traditional Maori cultural ceremony (powhiri), where
SCB was welcomed to Auckland by the local iwi (tribe) in a formal ceremony with a karakia (blessing),
speeches, waiatas (songs) and a hongi (traditional greeting) with representatives of Ngati Whatua o
Orakei. The ceremony was followed by a beautiful kappa haka performance from a group of tane
(warriors) and wahine (women).
Evenings were full of exciting activities including workshops, a National Geographic Film Premiere (Hunt
for the Shadow Cat), a cruise around Rangitoto Island, an extremely well attended student social, poster
sessions, and other Section events and receptions. ICCB concluded with a memorable Polynesian festival
and banquet followed by dancing that went past midnight! As if attendees didn’t want to close the
books on one of the most memorable ICCB’s in history, a few hundred attendees migrated from the
dance floor to after-parties at local pubs in Auckland.
ICCB’s Silent Auction was a great hit, raising money to support the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust in
Christchurch which, among other activities, will assist in repairing predator-proof and stock-exclusion
fences damaged during the Canterbury earthquakes last year.
The Oceania Section is proud of its student members, as 10 of the 12 Student Poster Competition
finalists hailed from Oceania. All twelve finalists gave great presentations, including first place winner
Ayesha Tulloch, who presented “Prioritising species for monitoring conservation actions: accounting for
benefits, costs and uncertainty of management outcomes.” Congratulations to all finalists and a special
thank you to all student attendees in general for making ICCB a part of your journey to a career in
Substantial effort went into attaining media coverage so that the largest ever gathering in New Zealand
of international conservation scientists would not go unnoticed. As a result, ICCB was the subject of
numerous radio and television interviews in New Zealand and enjoyed coverage in most of New
Zealand’s print and online media. We issued special press releases on key issues, including the SCB
Section Presidents’ Symposium on the “International Year of the Forest”; Pacific Conservation Biology’s
special issue on climate change in Oceania that was commissioned by the Oceania Section and that
generated substantial press coverage in New Zealand and Australia; and a statement signed by
numerous delegates expressing concern over recent cuts in government funding to New Zealand’s
Department of Conservation.
The Oceania section sends its sincere thanks to its Christchurch based local organizing committee, who
worked through tragedy to host a wonderful and successful event: Jim Briskie, our fearless leader, Kerry
South (local organizer), Carolyn Lundquist (vice-chair), Craig Morley (vice-chair), David Norton
(programme chair), Bruce Burns (our Auckland go to guy), Roz Anderson-Lederer (volunteers chair),
Ximena Nelson (travel awards chair), Amy Whitehead (student activities chair), Jo Hoare, James Watson,
Ian Jamieson, Phil Seddon, Islay Marsden, Susan Wiser and Matt Kaverman. Many of these people
unknowingly took on full time jobs for 1-24 months to put this conference together, and it could not
have been done without the true kiwi spirit, dedication and “No 8 Wire” ingenuity that made this an
event to remember.
Meet the ICCB Student Award Competition Winners
Congratulations to the winners of the ICCB Student Award Competition!
First place winner Ayesha Tulloch is a conservation biology Ph.D. candidate at the University of
Queensland, School of Biological Sciences. Ayesha’s Ph.D. research focuses on a multidisciplinary
approach (economic, social, and environmental) to understand and solve conservation investment
problems in multiple stakeholder landscapes, with a particular interest in Australia’s threatened birds
and mammals. She will complete her Ph.D. this year and intends to continue her research into cost-
effective resource allocation for biodiversity conservation and decision-making processes for optimal
monitoring and management, and apply her new skills to new challenges, such as the prioritisation of
threats and their management to conserve biodiversity in our rapidly changing world.
Second place winner Ana Sequeira is an environmental sciences Ph.D. student at the University of
Adelaide (Australia), School of Earth and Environmental Science. Ana plans to use her degree as much as
she can to inform people of the impacts of their actions (primarily in the marine environment), whether
through direct fisheries or through global warming, food consumption habits, etc.
Third place winner Michael Ohmer recently received his Masters degree from the University of Otago in
New Zealand. He currently lives in Brisbane, Australia and is applying for a Ph.D. program at the
University of Queensland. He is passionate about the conservation biology of amphibians and will
continue to work on the chytrid fungus for his Ph.D. work. He plans to continue to study the field of
amphibian disease ecology, and hopes that his work can contribute to real conservation action in the
Fourth place winner Luke Powell is a wildlife ecology Ph.D. student at Louisiana State University, School
of Renewable Natural Resources. Luke would ultimately like to work in biodiversity conservation in
tropical forests under conservation pressure. In the immediate future, he’s interested in doing a post-
doc studying the effects of forest fragmentation on animals, probably birds.
Spotlight on Student Research
David Lawrence Assesses the Potential of National Parks to Serve as Protected Areas for U.S.
This newsletter profiles the third Spotlight on Student Research, an initiative that aims to highlight SCB
student members (undergraduate and graduate/postgraduate) whose research exemplifies the mission
of the Society for Conservation Biology to advance the science and practice of conserving Earth's
biological diversity. This round of the Student Spotlight was hosted by the North America Section.
The winner of the first Spotlight on Student Research – North America Section – is David Lawrence, a
Ph.D. student at the University of Washington who tells us his story below. The second place winner is
Pamela Wong, Ph.D. student at University of Toronto with a project on non-invasive polar bear survey.
The third place winner is Rob Found, Ph.D. student at the University of Alberta with a project on re-
wilding habituated ungulates in North America.
This round of the Spotlight on Student Research was coordinated by Bogdan Cristescu, Sadie Ryan and
Dominick DellaSala. We would also like to thank Steven Cooke and Judy Jacobs for help in reviewing the
The next Section to participate will be the Austral and Neotropical America Section (ANA). The deadline
for submission of proposals is March 30 with decisions made by April 10. The winner will receive a one-
year membership renewal to SCB, subscription to one additional scientific journal (to be determined),
and two books related to the winner's field of research.
Visit the Student Affairs Committee’s Wiki page for the Student Spotlight for details on the award and to
download the submission form.
Piero Visconti, Spotlight on Student Research
Nora Bynum, Chair, Education and Student Affairs Committee
Sadie Ryan, Chair, Student Affairs
Bogdan Cristescu, Student Representative, North America Section
Dominick DellaSala, Chair, North America Section
Lifelong Water Curiosity
Q&A with David Lawrence, Ph.D. student at the University of
Washington & First Place Winner, Spotlight on Student Research –
North America Section
“Assessing the potential of national parks to serve as protected areas for U.S. freshwater fish diversity”
David, what led you to a career in conservation?
The roots of my conservation career began with an obsession for all things aquatic. As a child I spent an
embarrassing number of hours staring into any water body I could find, trying to figure out what was
going on inside. As I grew up I knew I wanted my work to somehow incorporate the nature that fueled
my curiosity. In pursuit of this dream I completed a Bachelors and Masters degree in biology, and I am
now working on my doctorate. A lot of my formal studies of the sciences, and ecology in particular,
focused on the myriad problems faced by the ecosystems I was so enthralled with as a child. I decided I
wanted my science to not only document the nature of ecological problems, but also to provide
tractable solutions to deal with these issues. Focusing on conservation biology seemed like a perfect
opportunity to pursue this goal.
Tell us about your research
Globally, freshwater ecosystems are under severe anthropogenic pressure and as a result their rich
biological resources are rapidly diminishing. Humans now appropriate >50 percent of available
freshwater runoff, over one million dams fragment rivers, and species invasions are globally widespread.
Scientists have recently begun to explore the potential of establishing freshwater protected areas (FPAs)
as one approach to curtail biodiversity loss in these ecosystems. In a recently completed chapter of my
Ph.D, I produced the first national assessment of freshwater fish resources contained within the
National Park Service (NPS), and evaluated the potential for NPS units to serve a comprehensive
freshwater protected area system in the United States.
To assess fish faunal representation provided by the NPS, I collated records for all freshwater species
that presently occur within 147 park service units and compared them to fish occurrence across all
major watersheds of the US. Although most parks were not designed with freshwater conservation in
mind, I found nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of native US fishes reside in national parks. I also identified
the most irreplaceable watersheds that contain the species not currently housed within the NPS system
(Figure 1). This information could be used to determine the best sites for future parks or areas to
develop collaborations with other park systems.
The ability of NPS units to serve as FPAs depends on both threats to their contributing watersheds and
the capacity to manage activities in these watersheds. To address these issues I characterized the
current and future ecological threats (i.e., climate change, dams, watershed impervious surface, invasive
species) and management challenges to park watersheds (i.e., land stewardship beyond park
boundaries). This process involved delineating the watersheds of all the NPS units considered and then
intersecting these watersheds with a variety of geographic datasets (e.g., the National Land Cover
database) and forecasting models (e.g., the EPA spatially explicit population growth model). My work
illustrates that while most parks have the vast majority of their watersheds outside of park boundaries,
the contributing watersheds of many NPS units are held in some form of conservation status (Figure 2).
Although public ownership of land does not guarantee protection of its waters, it increases the
feasibility of establishing more complete watershed protection programs.
Finally, I identified 50 parks that could serve as the nucleus of a nationally comprehensive FPA system by
employing a conservation planning algorithm that weighs fish diversity representation provided by parks
relative to their ecological threats. The results from this work were published in the November 2011
issue of Conservation Letters.
Figure 1. Irreplaceability (i.e., selection frequency by the conservation planning software) of watersheds in the US
that contain the freshwater fish species that do not occur in any NPS unit.
Figure 2. Frequency distribution of NPS units based on (A) the percent of each park’s watershed outside of that
park’s boundary and (B) the percent of a given park’s watershed in some form of conservation status (i.e., federal,
state, local government land, private land with conservation easements, and tribal land).
What’s next in your research and career?
While my recent work has focused on conservation action at the national scale, I would like to
investigate mechanisms to promote freshwater conservation across scales. Many managers cannot
operate at scales beyond their own region or watershed, and so national forecasts of imminent threats
to their system (e.g., climate change) are difficult to incorporate into management plans. In my future
work I would like to develop multi-scale forecasts (i.e., local, regional, and national) of environmental
stressors that would allow organizations working at each level to develop adaptation strategies that are
consistent across scales, but also relevant to the context specific situations at finer scales.
If you could solve one conservation problem with a snap of your fingers, what would it be?
I would broaden access to scientific resources throughout the world to facilitate the advancement of
global conservation solutions. The lack of access to scientific journals, conferences, and translated
articles hampers the progress of conservation science within many developing countries.
What’s Next for SCB and Conservation Science?
By Sarah E. Reed (Fellow 2009-2011)
with contributions from Ben Sikes, Brett Dickson, Erika
The David H. Smith
Zavaleta, Helen Fox, Keryn Gedan, Kiki Jenkins, Liana
Joseph, Malin Pinsky, Oliver Pergams, Sara Souther, and Conservation Research
Fellowship is a post-doctoral
In December 2011, I had the honor of representing the Smith fellowship in applied
Fellows program on a panel for the SCB Board of Governors in
Auckland, New Zealand at the Society for Conservation Biology’s
25th International Congress for Conservation Biology. Organized administered by SCB. Its
by SCB Executive Director Anne Hummer to commemorate the
goals are to support early-
Society’s 25th anniversary, the panelists discussed the past,
present, and future of conservation science. My fellow panelists career scientists who will
Tom Lovejoy and Kent Redford focused on the past and present
shape the field of
states of conservation science. Drawing on the thoughtful insights
of my fellow Smith Fellows, I focused on conservation science conservation biology and
issues likely to arise in the future.
foster creative and
In an effort to represent the diversity of experiences and successful applications of
perspectives among the 58 past and present Smith Fellows, I
science to pressing
posed two questions via our listserv:
What are the most important conservation science issues
likely to come up in the next 25 years?
How should SCB and its member scientists best prepare
to address them?
Four general themes emerged from the Fellows’ responses and my own thoughts on these questions:
Several Fellows stressed the need for new and better ways to communicate about conservation
problems that are gradual, invisible, or uncertain. Microbes, soils, oceans, disease, human health,
and climate change are just a few examples of issues that are difficult to visualize or imagine. We
need new strategies and better language to communicate about these issues, especially to
audiences outside of SCB, and to connect meaningfully with practitioners and policymakers.
Further questions emerged from this discussion: What is the appropriate role for new media and
information technology? How much should we invest in training scientists to be better
communicators, versus partnering with communications professionals?
Many Fellows argued that we should increase cross-boundary collaboration and diversity in
conservation science. All kinds of boundaries are in need of crossing, including disciplinary,
political, and cultural boundaries. It is time for a truly interdisciplinary conservation science. We
need to expand the range of disciplines engaged in conservation science and deepen the
integration among those disciplines. (One expression of that commitment could be to change the
name of the Society itself—perhaps to the Society for Conservation Science? Some Fellows also
expressed a hope that the face of conservation science would soon reflect the face of society. We
should aim to create a scientific community that is diverse and integrated across race, gender,
ethnicity, discipline, methodology, and perspective.
As conservation biology matures as a science, Fellows encouraged us to challenge its rules and
assumptions and ensure that it continues to evolve in response to practical conservation
challenges. We need to create more opportunities (like the Smith Fellowship) to sit at the
interface between conservation science and practice and bridge the gap between research and
implementation. We need to encourage journals, funding agencies, and scientific societies to
value applied conservation science. We need to reward scientists whose work has a meaningful
impact on on-the-ground conservation. And we need to be accountable for the outcomes of our
work. We need to develop and implement systems for evaluating the effectiveness of
conservation strategies. This is especially true for fields seeking a ‘win-win’ solution for
conservation and human well-being, such as sustainable development, ecosystem services, and
Articulate a positive vision
Although documenting biodiversity loss and its drivers will continue to form an important part of
our work, the cumulative effect of many uncoordinated studies of decline and deterioration can
be demoralizing. Several Fellows highlighted the need for SCB to articulate a positive and strategic
vision for conservation, a message of inspiration and change. An important step in crafting this
vision is to account for people’s environmental knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors and the
experiences that shape those factors. There is an essential role for conservation scientists to
enhance environmental education curricula, maintain natural history programs, and increase
outdoor opportunities for young people.
The panel sparked a lively discussion among the members of the Board of Governors. None of these four
themes is really new, and many have come up again and again throughout the Society’s history. Each is
critical to the task of effectively engaging society in conservation. And if SCB is to be successful and
achieve its mission well into the future, it must work constantly to find new ways to engage society in
conservation. This served as the main theme of the 25th ICCB and it will play an ever-increasing role in
the science and practice of conservation.
SCB and Cedar Tree Foundation Welcome the Smith Fellows Class
SCB is proud to introduce the Smith Fellows Class of 2012!
Congratulations to Tabitha Graves, David Hayman, Viorel Popescu and Morgan Tingley—2012 Smith
Fellows and the newest life members of SCB.
Tabitha Graves will complete a project titled, “Designing an integrated, adaptive, and cost-effective
sampling tool for wildlife populations” under the academic mentorship of Dr. Mevin Hooten at Colorado
State University and in partnership with Dr. Gordon Stenhouse of the Foothills Research Institute.
David Hayman will complete a project titled, “Understanding White Nose Syndrome dynamics to
mitigate the precipitous decline of North American bats” under the academic mentorship of Dr. Colleen
Webb at Colorado State University and Dr. Juliet Pulliam at the University of Florida and in partnership
with Dr. Paul Cryan of the U.S. Geological Survey
Viorel Popescu will complete a project titled, “Estimating the cumulative impact of small hydropower on
species conservation and ecosystems services” under the academic mentorship of Dr. Chris Wilmers at
the University of California, Santa Cruz, Dr. Wendy Palen at Simon Fraser University and Dr. Perry de
Valpine at the University of California, Berkeley and in partnership with Dr. Mary Ruckelshaus of The
Natural Capital Project and Dr. Craig Orr of Watershed Watch Salmon Society.
Morgan Tingley will complete a project titled, “Long-term trends in the avifauna of the southern
Appalachians: disentangling climate change from habitat change” under the academic mentorship of Dr.
David Wilcove at Princeton University and working in partnership with Dr. Gary Langham of the National
Since its inaugural class in 1999, the Smith Fellowship has supported 62 post-doctoral scientists working
to bridge the gap between conservation theory and practice. Smith Fellows work on some of the most
pressing environmental concerns of the day and help to shape the future of conservation biology.
Read SCB’s press release announcing the Smith Fellows Class of 2012. Learn more about the David H.
Smith Conservation Research Fellowship here.
Section Congress Updates
Section Meetings in 2012 Highlight SCB’s Global Reach
SCB members work around the globe to advance the science and practice of conserving Earth’s
biological diversity. In 2012, SCB showcases its global reach with four Section meetings on four separate
continents! Our global community of conservation professionals will meet in North America, Europe,
Asia, and Australia to present and discuss the latest research in conservation biology and to propose
solutions to the most challenging environmental issues of the day.
The North America Congress for Conservation Biology takes place July 15-18 in Oakland, California. The
early bird registration period is open now and runs through April 27, 2012.
The Asia Congress takes place August 7-10 in Bangalore, India. Early bird registration is open now
through April 30.
The Europe Congress takes place August 28 - September 1 in Glasgow, Scotland. Early bird registration is
open now through April 30.
The Oceania Congress takes place September 21-23 at Charles Darwin University in Darwin, Australia.
Oceania 2012 “People and Conservation in Land and Sea Country” builds on the success of the highly
successful 25th ICCB, which the Oceania Section hosted in December in Auckland. Please note these key
March 15 – Symposia submission deadline
April 30 – Abstract submission deadline
July 1 – Early registration deadline
Remember – SCB members receive significant discounts on conference registrations! This is one of your
best member benefits. Be sure to take advantage of Section Congresses and the great professional,
networking and educational opportunities they offer!
SCB 2010 Treasurer’s Report to the Membership
By David Johns, Treasurer
This report has been delayed because the auditors were slow this year in both their field work and
evaluating their findings. The audit, however, is clean, meaning that our financial records accurately
reflect our financial situation.
After two years of significant deficits due to the bad economy, the Society ended 2010 with ~$268,000
net income. This is very good news, although the economy remained sluggish throughout year. Although
the US economy shows some improvement, it is expected to continue to show slow economic growth
and job growth, which could affect membership as well as giving from individual donors and
foundations. Economic recovery is likely to take another two-to-three years and contribute to
improvements in our own financial situation, although growth is associated with a heavier human
demand on the Earth’s natural systems and other species. We can, however, improve our situation in
the current economic climate as some other NGOs have. It is also highly likely that coming out of this
economic trough we will see a somewhat different world, with economic and political power continuing
to shift from the North Atlantic countries to East Asia. Europe’s request to borrow $150 billion from
China’s $3 trillion in currency and bond reserves is only one indicator. Chinese, Indian and Brazilian
growth rates are another.
The Society remains largely dependent on income from Conservation Biology. Institutional income
remains strong but individual subscriber income is declining. Net income from the 2010 ICCB was
positive and while net income from the ICCBs remain uncertain from year to year; we generally have
better returns from North American meetings. Costs of ICCBs are not born solely by registration, but by
sponsorships and fees which vary with economic conditions, meeting location and the success of the
local organizing committee. Membership services showed net income as did Cedar Tree Foundation
receipts, which fully covers all costs, including overhead, associated with the Smith Fellows program.
Grant income was also solid in 2010, but varies year to year as well. There is a need to continue to
diversify both earned income and donor income streams and to make them more reliable and
sustainable. Pursuant to board and staff discussion, the Executive Office (EO) will pursue more
aggressive membership recruitment and retention, adopt ICCB and section conference registration rates
that will cover conference costs, and continue to match donors with SCB programs that have appeal.
Administrative costs are under 11 percent, which is very respectable and under the 15 percent charity
watchdog organization recommend.
Balance Sheet (31 Dec 2010 compared to 31 Dec 2009)
Cash was up $200,000 from year end 2009 to $445,000. Accounts payable was up by $71,000, a
reminder that these changes do not necessarily reflect trends but often simply the timing of
receipts and payments. Other current liabilities were down $72,000.
The BDR value at year end was $954,000, down from $1.011 million at 2009 year end, or about
$57,000. Earnings were $103,000 during the year or 10.2 percent. $160,000 was disbursed to
the EO to pay down our office building mortgage. This is a transfer between capital accounts,
not to the operating budget so does not represent a loss of equity.
Receivables are up $129,000; it is always a good sign that revenue is in the pipeline, including
grants from MacArthur for CM ($200,000), Wilburforce for Policy ($155,000), Hewlett for Policy
($22,000) and others.
Total current assets were up $241,000 over 2009.
Equity in the land and building was $623 on a total value of $1.264 million. A new mortgage was
negotiated in 2010 incurring typical loan costs of $22,000+ and a pre-payment penalty of
~$14,000 on the old loan. The decrease of $167,000 in long term liabilities is due to the new
mortgage and pay down.
Overall assets increased $219,000.
Total liabilities were down $160,000
Overall the snapshot of our financial position provided by the balance sheet shows nothing of concern.
View the balance sheet.
Tables 1 and 2 – Profit and Loss (Budget report)
Actual Income and Expenses
Expenses were 93 percent of income, reflecting a net of $268,000 for the year.
Conservation Biology continued to be a major source of income for the Society, generating
$341,000 net income. The Society retained all individual subscription income rather than
forwarding half to Blackwell as in earlier years. This reduced the amount received from profit
sharing because it reduced the profit that Blackwell books. On balance this method favors the
Conservation Magazine had a $16,000 deficit, down substantially from recent years.
The Smith Fellows grant net covered costs associated with administering the program.
The 2010 annual meeting in Edmonton was profitable and the Society share was $79,000.
The policy program showed a net of $81,000, but these funds are intended for use in 2011.
The actual deficit for SCB groups was closer to $105,000 because $90,000 in 2010 revenue is
restricted to the 2011 Marine CB Congress.
Membership income shows a net of $30,000 over direct member expenses. Not all costs of
servicing members are allocated here, e.g. the newsletter.
The administrative and development deficit is normal, but does include some savings from the
executive director vacancy and additional costs associated with changing mortgage companies.
The contractual ED spent less time on program than the employee filling this position typically
Click here to view table 1 and click here to view table 2.
Budgeted and Actual Income and Expenses
Actual income was 90 percent of planned; actual expenses were 83% of planned because of
significant efforts to control costs and a vacancy.
Income was less than planned or at planned in every significant program except for policy,
groups and the EO. The ICCB and Smith Fellows in particular realized less income than planned
but also had proportionally lower expenses.
ICCB income was down significantly because some funds were not directly run through the EO.
Policy expenses are $99,000 greater than planned in large part due to preparation for the Policy
Fellow position and unplanned travel associated with several opportunities.
No income was budgeted for groups and the income recorded were grants received in 2010 for
the 2011 IMMC.
The peer review work was unplanned at the time of budget adoption.
2011 and the Future
In the last two months of 2011 it became apparent that the Society would not meet fundraising goals for
either ICCB or Conservation Magazine. Because ICCB was in December rather than mid-year, as
historically it has been, the books are still open. We do expect that the 2010 surplus will be adequate to
cover all or most of the 2011 deficit. Regardless, any deficit diminishes our capacity to realize our
mission and needs to be addressed.
To that end the 2012 budget is not only very conservative in its assessment of income; it emphasizes
goals that will strengthen the Society. The EO and sections will give renewed emphasis to retaining
current members and bringing lapsed members back into the Society. The strength of the Society lies in
its members. The board also recognizes that members must find value in Society membership, from
furthering the biodiversity mission we all share to more specific professional concerns. We will also
restructure ICCB and section congresses to ensure that all basic costs are covered by registration. The
Society will also be exploring new sources of donor revenue. Existing donors have volunteered to assist
and we are also reinvigorating the board development committee.
Ongoing work will not suffer as a result of these emphases. Conservation Biology will continue to
maintain the highest standards, our policy work in North America will maintain its rigor, and the
website, membership system and support for members will continue to see upgrades.
The Society for Conservation Biology has created a Student Listserv, an email discussion group for
students interested in conservation biology.
The SCB Student Listserv allows members to share information and exchange ideas relevant to students
of conservation biology and to stay current on SCB-related activities relevant to students. The listserv
provides a platform for future conservation professionals to find answers to career-related questions,
identify education and career-boosting opportunities, and receive help in career planning/building. The
list removes geographical boundaries and allows students anywhere in the world to access information
relevant to them. Members may unsubscribe to this list at anytime.
Study Marine Mammals this Summer in Peru!
The Center for Environmental Sustainability and Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia´s (UPCH) Life
Sciences Field School are pleased to present a unique opportunity to study marine mammals off the
coast of Peru in Punta San Juan this summer!
Ecology & Conservation of Marine Mammals of the Humboldt Upwelling Ecosystem runs from June 30-
July 9 and provides students with comprehensive knowledge on marine mammal ecology with special
emphasis on species inhabiting the Humboldt Current Upwelling Ecosystem.
This university-accredited course is intended for students on summer vacation and for enthusiastic
individuals with keen interest in the marine environment. This course is suitable for MSc. undergraduate
students in the last three years of study and individuals who want to learn from experts about sea lions,
fur seals, dolphins, whales, and marine otters of the South Pacific Ocean.
Students from any country are encouraged to attend, but the course will be taught in English. Click here
for more information.
Smithsonian-Mason Semester in Conservation Studies
The Smithsonian-Mason Global Conservation Studies Program is proud to offer two 16-credit programs
for undergraduates committed to the study of conservation. The programs are based at the Smithsonian
Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) near the Shenandoah National Park in Front Royal, Virginia.
Each semester-long program offers five integrated courses that include a practicum work experience
with researchers at SCBI as well as classes focusing on conservation theory and applications.
Semester in Applied Conservation Strategies focuses on the scientific, sociopolitical and
economic root causes of conservation issues and ways in which science informs management
Semester in Ecology for Effective Conservation Practices emphasizes the application of
ecological theory to the study of conservation and methods for successfully communicating
about threats to species.
The application deadline is March 1. Click here to learn more about the program, course prerequisites,
application information, FAQs and more.
During the semester, students live in a close-knit academic community that emphasizes active learning,
teamwork, hands-on experience, public communication and case studies, preparing them for
conservation-related professions and graduate study.
Smithsonian-Mason Graduate/Professional Training Courses
Check out these spring and summer graduate/professional training courses at the Smithsonian-Mason
Global Conservation Studies Program:
Statistics for Ecology and Conservation Biology
Species Monitoring & Conservation: Amphibians
March 26-April 6
Species Monitoring & Conservation: Terrestrial Mammals
Non-Invasive Genetic Techniques in Wildlife Conservation
Adaptive Management for Conservation Success
Click here for more information or email email@example.com.
The latest issue of Conservation Biology, released this month, explores several fascinating topics. If you
haven’t done so already, be sure to check what’s in the current issue of one of the most influential
journals in the field! Here is a sample:
Editorial: Bolder Thinking For Conservation
Letter: Serious New Threat to Brazilian Forests
Specimen-Based Modeling, Stopping Rules, and the Extinction of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
Content Analysis of Newspaper Coverage of the Florida Panther
Reduced Effect of Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumor Disease at the Disease Front
And much more! If you’re a subscriber but don’t have the print version, login to your SCB account to
access each article online.
On Monday, February 13, President Obama released his proposed budget for FY 2013. An
analysis by Brett Hartl, SCB Policy Fellow and former Fellow with the House Natural Resources
Committee, reveals that the budget request for wildlife conservation is not keeping up with the
number of species that the government officially acknowledges are in need of federal
The budget proposes spending approximately $179.7 million for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service to implement the Endangered Species Act (ESA), an increase of $3 million from the
current budget year. Within that total, the budget proposes spending $22 million to list new
species under the ESA and to designate critical habitat for those species already protected by
the ESA, an increase of $2 million.
The levels of funding requested for the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine
Fisheries Service to implement the ESA represents only a small increase in funding compared to
the budget levels from 2009, the first year of the Obama Administration. When inflation is
taken into account, the amount of money available for protecting threatened and endangered
species has actually decreased on a year-to-year basis. Likewise, when inflation is taking into
account, the amount of money available for listing new species under the ESA remains virtually
unchanged since the beginning of the Obama administration. Since the Obama administration
took office, an additional 72 species have been listed under the Endangered Species Act,
meaning that from a dollars/species perspective, there continues to be less money each year to
protect and recover endangered species.
Read Brett’s full analysis here.
The following is a look at some of the issues SCB’s Policy Department is working on in conjunction with
the Policy Committee. Most of our policy work falls under one or more of SCB’s five policy priorities:
Climate Change, Scientific Integrity, Treaties, Biological Security, and Investment & Procurement.
New Forest Planning Rule Lacks Teeth – says SCB in Washington Post
Juliet Eilperin (Washington Post) quotes North America Section President Dominick DellaSala and SCB
Policy Director John Fitzgerald in an article on a new forest planning rule that, when finalized, will
change the way nation manages its 193-million acre National Forest System. The new rule replaces
management procedures that have been in place since 1982 and is set to take effect this March.
DellaSala was identified as being affiliated with the Geos Institute rather than with SCB when he
applauded the long-term vision underlying the new rules that prioritize protection, restoration and
water preservation over commodity extraction. Not captured in the article, however, was DellaSala’s
stated skepticism that the new rule can be effectively implemented as written. Fitzgerald pointed out
that the rule has several weaknesses including the fact that it assumes but does not require officials to
show forest management plans include all practicable steps to conserve full biological diversity. More…
To read SCB’s peer reviews of and comments on the legal aspects of the Forest Planning rule as
proposed several months ago (the final rule will be very similar if not identical to Alternative A in the
Environmental Impact Statement), click here
SCB to Ask President of Brazil to Veto Forest Code Amendments
The Presidents of the Society for Conservation Biology and its ANA (Latin America and the Caribbean)
Section will deliver a formal resolution from SCB urging President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff to veto a
controversial bill that would weaken measures in place since 1965 that protect against deforestation in
The resolution that SCB will submit to President Rousseff states that SCB:
1) Urges the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, to veto the amendments to the Brazilian Forest
Code (1.876/99) recently passed by the Brazilian Senate; and
2) Respectfully requests the Brazilian government to reconsider the negative impacts on
biodiversity, ecosystem services, and the long-term viability and sustainability of economic
enterprises affected by the proposed amendments; and
3) Further recommends that the Brazilian government follow the well-considered sustainable
development principles proposed by the Brazilian Academy of Science (ABC), the Brazilian
Society for the Progress of Science (SBPC), and the Brazilian Association of Ecological Science
and Conservation (ABECO), as well as the 2011 UN International Year of the Forest Declaration
of the Society for Conservation Biology*.
Read the full resolution here and SCB climate resolutions noting the role of the Amazon (2009) here and
other forests (2010) here.
The bill, passed by Brazil’s senate, would amend a 47-year-old forest code that restricted the amount of
land farmers could clear. Until recent years the code was not well enforced. When enforcement of the
Forest Code increased under former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, powerful agricultural interests in
Brazil began work to loosen restrictions in the code. Now, under the bill that is expected to come before
new president Dilma Rousseff in March, farmers who would have been required to reforest 55m
hectares of land illegally cleared prior to 2008, will only be required to reforest 24m hectares, and
farmers who own up to 1,087 hectares would not have to pay penalties for land illegally cleared prior to
2008. The updated code would also change restrictions on clearing trees from riverbanks and hillsides as
buffer zones, which would be calculated according to dry-season river flows, dramatically reducing the
size of the buffer zones in many cases. Loopholes in the bill could also allow landholders in some states
to reduce in other ways the amount of forest cover required by current law.
Supporters of the bill, overwhelmingly from the small but powerful agricultural sector, say it reduces
regulatory burdens on small farmers, simplifies an overly complicated and confusing forest code that
has been amended numerous times since 1965, and will ultimately lead to less deforestation by
legalizing properties lacking land titles, thus making it easier to track illegal clearing.
A poll conducted last May on the Forest Code highlights the power of agricultural interests in Brazil’s
Congress, as the majority of Brazilians, 85 percent according to the poll, say forests and rivers should
take priority over agricultural production. This popular support for conservation of the Amazon has
translated into undeniable progress in Brazil in recent years to protect the world’s largest rain forest. A
government report released in December showed that deforestation in the Amazon is at its lowest level
since satellite tracking began.
NY Times - In Brazil, Fears of a Slide Back for Amazon Protection
Washington Post – Brazil’s Forest Policy Could Undermine its Climate Goals
Financial Times – Brazil Forest Code Reignites Amazon Fears
SCB Presents Poster at Convention on Climate Change in Durban
Several SCB members attended the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in
Durban, South Africa in December, including Treaties Task Force Co-chair Kyle Gracey and Linda
Krueger, Vice President for Conservation Policy at the Wildlife Conservation Society. Kyle presented
SCB's Forest Declaration [click here] and a poster highlighting the Declaration and related passages from
SCB’s Statements to Climate Negotiators in 2009 [click here] and 2010 [click here] at the Forest Day 5
meeting, held in conjunction with the negotiations.
The outcomes of the negotiations were described by some observers as more of an 'agreement to agree
in the future' than an actual resolution to the meeting. Negotiators agreed to extend the Kyoto Protocol
into a second commitment period of greenhouse gas emissions pollution reductions, beginning in 2013
and lasting either five or eight years (length TBD). However, governments did not agree to specific
pollution reduction commitments for any countries under the new period, leaving this as another
subject to negotiate further. Similarly, while nations agreed to negotiate a new international agreement
with legal force as soon as possible and no later than 2015, and to include all countries in this
agreement, the actual pollution reduction amounts still need to be decided. Negotiators created the
Green Climate Fund to provide US$100 billion per year by 2020 to developing nations, but the fund is
largely empty. Likewise, other financial commitments to developing countries remain only partially
Governments also gave the green light to carbon capture and storage in the Clean Development
Mechanism and agreed to a new set of emissions accounting rules for Land Use, Land Use Change, and
Forestry (LULUCF). The new rules received mixed reviews from most conservation organizations for both
requiring new reporting rules for certain types of deforestation and forest degradation activities, but
making it possible for countries to "hide" some of these emissions based on how they are permitted to
calculate their yearly emissions, especially in comparison to historical trends and expected future
emissions. In brief, they:
Require emissions accounting from forest management, which had so far only been optional
Use a reference level approach to accounting for forest management emissions, which would
essentially allow countries to obscure increasing emissions based on how they report their
historical forest management activities
Allow countries to not account for emissions that come from "natural disturbances", the
definition of which is stringent enough to exclude most but not all forest activities that have
some human influence
Include emissions from draining wetlands, and credits for rewetting them, which may incentivize
wetland conservation, but make voluntary the reporting of emissions, so countries will likely
seek emissions credits when they rewet, but not report when they drain
Count emissions from products made from harvested wood, providing another disincentive to
Negotiations will likely continue in late May in Bonn, Germany, and the next major summit will be in
2013 in Doha, Qatar.
Kyle Gracey was the primary author of this article.
Rule Change Would Remove Federal Protection of Gray Wolves in Wyoming
On October 4, 2011 the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) issued a proposed rule to remove the Gray Wolf
from the List of Endangered and Threatened Species in Wyoming, saying that the “best scientific and
commercial data available indicate that wolves in Wyoming are recovered and no longer meet the
definition of endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973…”
The North America (NA) Section is opposed to dropping federal protection for the Gray Wolf in
Wyoming and last month teamed up with SCB Policy Director John Fitzgerald to submit comments to the
FWS on the de-listing proposal; focusing its remarks on a single aspect of the rule. Specifically, SCB’s
concerns “pertain to the rule’s proposal that artificial means for establishing connectivity among
populations (e.g., translocation of individuals of the species by vehicle) are in themselves adequate to
alleviate relevant threat factors even when feasible methods for ensuring natural dispersal and
population connectivity exist.”
Read the comments here.
The comments call Wyoming’s proposed plan to manage the species “inadequate to ensure alleviation
of relevant threats.”
If the rule is finalized, wolves in Wyoming would lose federal protection (except in national parks) and
their management would be overseen by state or tribal wildlife agencies. In most parts of the state,
residents would be free to hunt wolves without a license.
The proposed rule comes less than a year after a rider inserted into a Congressional budget measure
over the objections of SCB and other scientific societies led to the removal of federal protection for
1,200 wolves in Idaho and Montana. Never before had Congress removed a species from the
Endangered or Threatened Species List, an assignment theretofore reserved for the FWS and National
Marine Fisheries Service, operating under review by the courts to ensure such delisting are in fact based
on the best available science as required by the ESA.
Once fiercely hunted, trapped and poisoned to near extirpation, the wolf is widely regarded as an icon
of America’s wild natural heritage and, with its numbers resurgent, a conservation success story. Its
resurgence in the Northern Rockies is largely attributed to successful re-introduction efforts and the
type of federal protections still in place so far for the Gray Wolf in Wyoming. But the same image that
contributed to its near extermination seventy years ago – that of a dangerous and efficient predator –
still resonates with many ranchers and some hunters, influential voting blocks in Wyoming (which has
three electoral votes, among the least in the nation). They often say wolves prey too much on livestock
and game, though the question of how much is too much is a very subjective one especially given the
various Federal and state subsidies for ranching and hunting such as taxpayer-supported Federal land
management budgets and low grazing fees on Federal land.
SCB Comments on Open Access to Scientific Societies’ Publications and Data
One of SCB's first visits to the Obama White House was to attend President Obama's statement directing
the White House Office of Scientific Integrity to coordinate the development of Scientific Integrity
Policies in each agency in order to end and to prevent what many perceived as an on-going the abuse of
science, and even some scientists in Federal agencies, particularly scientists who were whistle-blowers.
In a parallel effort to bring more transparency and information sharing to and through government in
the information and open-source age, the Office of Science and Technology Policy asked for public
comment on how data and publications, based in whole or in part on Federally-funded research, should
be made more readily available to the public.
While some societies were criticized for guarding too closely their own financial interests, SCB
attempted to address these questions in a way that pressed for greater sharing of both while
maintaining adequate financial support for editing, publishing and for the societies, such as ours, that
depend in part on revenue from journal subscriptions. We appreciate very much the sharing of drafts,
such as those of the Ornithological Council, and the early publication of others' comments, as these
helped inform our own.
Click here to read SCB’s Comments on Publications and here to read SCB's comments on data.
On the Road to Panama: SCB to Send Delegation to IBPES
SCB Europe Section board member “Bege” Jonsson will lead a delegation of four SCB members to
Panama in April for the second meeting of the first plenary of the Intergovernmental Platform on
Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Carolyn Lunquist, who represented SCB in the IPBES founding
meeting in Busan, Korea, Brett Hartl, our new Policy Fellow, and Olivier Chassot a professor in Costa
Rica, will join Bege in representing SCB
SCB’s detailed recommendations include strengthening the role of the scientific community and of peer
review, and adopting reports not by consensus but by majorities and including concurring and minority
opinions if they are also supported by strong, peer-reviewed studies. This procedure will avoid having
the majority opinion diluted, weakened and delayed until it is acceptable to all governments.
SCB also made key recommendations to empower the general requirements of treaties with more
specific scientific and management details. For example:
Section 3.3. Policy tools - IPBES should inform or provide scientific meaning for key standards or
duties that already exist in enforceable treaties and other law so that no court or agency could
doubt what they mean as a minimum standard of behavior, …
Section 3.3. Policy Tools - IPBES should demonstrate gaps in the law that allow key biological
threats to go uncontrolled and ways to address those in amendments and in practice. These are
provided for in a general way by Article 8(l) in the CBD like the general duty to regulate each
GHG in the UNFCCC but IPBES can provide more specific advice.
To view the agenda and draft decision documents, go to www.ipbes.net. Read SCB’s comments on the
Draft Work Program and Draft Rules of Procedure. You can find a link to the drafts we were are
discussing in these comments on the SCB policy page.
Rio+20 Addresses Sustainable Development
Delegates from around the world will gather in June
for Rio+20 in order to determine how to move SCB is considering whether to empanel
forward better on the sustainable development an official delegation for the Rio+20
goals adopted in Rio. SCB Treaty Co-Chair Kyle meeting and for the Conferences of the
Gracey will attend Rio+20. Members of the High- Parties to the conventions on biological
level Panel on Global Sustainability appointed by diversity and climate change later this
the Secretary general of the UN and Co-Chaired by year. Whether we do will depend in part
Tarja Halonen President of Finland and Jacob Zuma on which SCB members are already
President of South Africa recently completed their planning to go our could provide their
report, Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A future own funding, and the extent to which
worth choosing. This was in part intended to inform they may be at liberty to wear two non-
the discussions at Rio+20. The High Level Panel conflicting hats for different events or
made a long list of recommendations and their purposes. If you are considering
summary is reprinted below. Please note the attending these and expect to have
emphasis on investment and procurement, and independent funding, please contact
accountability. Treaty Task Force Co-Chairs Kyle Gracey
and John Fitzgerald by sending an email
Empowering people to make sustainable choices to jfitzgerald(at) conbio.org .
The more influence we have in society, the greater
our potential impact on the planet and the greater The Treaties Task Force also invites
our responsibility to behave sustainably. This is members interested in treaties to join
more true than ever today, when globalization and the join the Task Force. Interested
the pressures on our natural resources mean that members should email SCB’s policy team
individual choices can have global consequences. at policy(at) scb.org.
For too many of us, however, the problem is not
unsustainable choices, but a lack of choices in the
first place. Real choice is only possible once human
rights, basic needs, human security and human resilience are assured. Priority areas for action include:
Delivering on the fundamentals of development: international commitments to eradicate
poverty, promote human rights and human security and advance gender equality
Advancing education for sustainable development, including secondary and vocational
education, and building of skills to help ensure that all of society can contribute to solutions that
address today’s challenges and capitalize on opportunities
Creating employment opportunities, especially for women and youth, to drive green and
Enabling consumers to make sustainable choices and advance responsible behaviour individually
Managing resources and enabling a twenty-first-century green revolution: agriculture, oceans
and coastal systems, energy and technology, international cooperation
Building resilience through sound safety nets, disaster risk reduction and adaptation planning
Working towards a sustainable economy (see Investment and Procurement section, below)
Strengthening institutional governance
To achieve sustainable development, we need to build an effective framework of institutions and
decision-making processes at the local, national, regional and global levels. We must overcome the
legacy of fragmented institutions established around single-issue “silos”; deficits of both leadership and
political space; lack of flexibility in adapting to new kinds of challenges and crises; and a frequent failure
to anticipate and plan for both challenges and opportunities — all of which undermine both
policymaking and delivery on the ground. To build better governance, coherence and accountability for
sustainable development at the national and global levels, priority areas for action include:
Improving coherence at the subnational, national and international levels
Creating a set of sustainable development goals
Establishing a periodic global sustainable development outlook report that brings together
information and assessments currently dispersed across institutions and analyses them in an
Making a new commitment to revitalize and reform the international institutional framework,
including considering the creation of a global sustainable development council.
Of particular interest to SCB members:
255. Governments and the scientific community should take practical steps, including through the
launching of a major global scientific initiative, to strengthen the interface between policy and science.
This should include the preparation of regular assessments and digests of the science around such
concepts as “planetary boundaries”, “tipping points” and “environmental thresholds” in the context of
sustainable development. This would complement other scientific work on the sustainable development
agenda, including its economic and social aspects, to improve data and knowledge concerning socio-
economic factors such as inequality. In addition, the Secretary-General should consider naming a chief
scientific adviser or establishing a scientific advisory board with diverse knowledge and experience to
advise him or her and other organs of the United Nations.
263. Governments should consider creating a global sustainable development council to improve the
integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development, address emerging issues and review
sustainability progress, with meetings held on a regular basis throughout the year. This body could be a
subsidiary organ of the General Assembly and would replace the Commission on Sustainable
Development. It would need to have a broad geographical and political membership and to fully engage
relevant international institutions — including United Nations agencies and the international financial
institutions — and non-State actors from civil society, the private sector and science.
264. Such a council would develop a peer review mechanism that would encourage States, in a
constructive spirit, to explain their policies, to share experiences and lessons learned, and to fulfill their
This work could give a great impetus to funding restorative work and de-funding that which degrades
and depletes beginning by adding detailed information to help guide with the more than 8 trillion dollars
in the hands in investment managers (such as Norway’s pension fund) that have pledged to follow the
UN Principles for Responsible Investment, adding advice from the UNEP-Finance Initiative’s series of
papers on particular industries, etc.
SCB’s Bio-Security Task Force Leads National Council on Science & Environment
Recommendations on Invasives and Responsible Trade
From the Burmese python that is literally strangling native mammalian life out of Florida’s everglades to
the brown marmorated stinkbug that has caused millions of dollars in agricultural losses in the mid-
Atlantic to numerous plant pathogen invaders like the emerald ash borer that wreak havoc in many
North American forests, the incursion of invasive species, pathogens and parasites presents enormous
environmental and public health challenges that threaten the bio-security of the United States.
SCB recognizes that achieving bio-security in a meaningful sense will grow ever more challenging as the
climate changes offering opportunities for further incursions by new pathogens, parasites and invasive
Last month, the Society’s Task Force on Bio-Security sponsored a workshop on bio-security in a changing
climate at the National Council for Science and the Environment’s 12th Annual Conference in
Washington, DC. Participants in the workshop, which was organized by Task Force Co-Chair Peter
Jenkins, and chaired by Policy Director John Fitzgerald, produced ten recommendations for improving
bio-security following the Breakout Session format used by the NCSE Annual Conferences.
Speakers presented new research on invasive species and explored policy and management solutions to
the threats of disease outbreaks, species extirpations, ecosystem disruption and degradation, and the
economic damage they cause.
One recommendation says the Secretary of the Interior should issue more rigorous regulations using his
explicit authority in the Endangered Species Act for permitting imports of fish, wildlife and plants,
including those not listed as threatened or endangered. These regulations should require more detailed
reports on proposed imports of fish, wildlife and plants and the risks they pose before the Secretary
issues permits for those exports to the US. Furthermore, US Department of Agriculture veterinarians and
other staff should help the Fish and Wildlife Service and Center for Disease Control protect endangered
species from imported diseases. And agencies, the recommendation continues, should adopt
regulations that address invasive species more proactively under Section 7(a)(1) of the ESA. FWS, the
recommendation concludes, should also regulate trade in amphibians posing risks of transmission of
chytrid fungus, which is decimating a wide range of amphibians.
The group also recommended that the US drop its opposition that continues to block representation by
the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity on the advisory group of the World Trade
Organization dealing with invasive species and disease issues in trade.
NCSE conferences bring together experts (as well as students) from academia, government agencies,
professional societies, and NGOs to address different issues each year. The 2012 conference theme was
“Environment and Security.” SCB’s Policy Director also led and organized the 2008 NCSE session on using
the law to better conserve biological diversity which provided the core recommendations to the Obama
Transition Team from NCSE complementing those already developed by SCB (which will be at the heart
of our policy symposium at the North American Congress on Conservation Biology in Oakland, California
Investment & Procurement
This fifth pillar of SCB’s policy program will also be considered at the NACCB Policy Symposium (SYM13)
as experts on green finance and the economics of energy will outline ways forward that do not depend as
much as many energy development (of all kinds, both dirty and cleaner) and environmental programs
have on government help.
Head of UNEP Finance Initiative to Step Down
Paul Clements-Hunt, head of the United Nation’s Environment Program’s Finance Initiative, is resigning
his post effective February 29 to return to the private sector. Clements-Hunt joined UNEP in November
2000. Click here to read Clements-Hunt’s letter announcing his resignation.
High Level Panel Advises Rio+20 to Consider Investment
The High-level Panel on Global Sustainability made a long list of recommendations and their summary
included three sections – one on investment and procurement. We highlight this portion of the
Working towards a sustainable economy
Achieving sustainability requires us to transform the global economy. Tinkering on the margins will not
do the job. The current global economic crisis, which has led many to question the performance of
existing global economic governance, offers an opportunity for significant reforms. It gives us a chance
to shift more decisively towards green growth — not just in the financial system, but in the real
economy. Policy action is needed in a number of key areas, including:
Incorporating social and environmental costs in regulating and pricing of goods and services, as
well as addressing market failures
Creating an incentive road map that increasingly values long-term sustainable development in
investment and financial transactions
Increasing finance for sustainable development, including public and private funding and
partnerships to mobilize large volumes of new financing
Expanding how we measure progress in sustainable development by creating a sustainable
development index or set of indicators