Updated: Dec 28, 2018
Ecological conferences can do an awful lot for the environment: raising awareness, getting people inspired, sharing research, collaborating, and general exposure to the latest in the field (no pun intended). However, they can also do an awful lot of bad - think about the amount of CO2 needed to transport everyone to one location, and the cost of running a huge conference centre. One could argue this negates a lot of the positive outcomes from a conference, so at ECCB 2018 (European Conference of Conservation Biology) they did things a little differently. Journecology were invited to report from ECCB in Jyväskylä, Finland in June this year, where we also gave a short presentation. Here's a rundown of events, and a quick overview video to get started!
In order to reduce the carbon footprint of the conference, the committee decided the following plan of action:
"To offset the harm caused by the conference, we will restore drained peatlands in collaboration with Parks and Wildlife Finland, a State Enterprise managing all state owned lands in Finland. Over half of of the original 10.4 Mha of peatlands in Finland have been drained for forestry. Drainage is degrading the ecological condition of the peatland and causing the natural C sink of the peatland to decrease or even turn into negative i.e. C source. By restoring the peatland by filling in the ditches, the hydrology of the peatland recovers rapidly inducing a slower recovery of the biological community of the peatland. It is also expected that the carbon sequestration function of the peatland will recover. During this project we will estimate the ecological benefits and the amount of carbon sequestration that will be gained due to restoration based on field studies on site and on literature respectively."
The theme of ECCB 2018 was 'planetary wellbeing' , and due to the boreal location this year, the was a focus on sustainable forestry practises with Scandinavia being world leaders.
ECCB2018 focuses on conservation and sustainable management of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems including inland lakes with an aspiration to balance human resource exploitation and nature conservation for planetary wellbeing.
Although a European conference, there were speakers and research covered from around the globe, some of the plenary lectures can be watched online here.
Science Communication Symposium
Amongst several others, Journecology was invited to talk in the #ECCBSciComm thanks to funds raised from a crowdfunder organised by Dani Rabaiotti and Steph Januchowski-Hartley. The symposium tackled the ever increasing importance of science communication in a modern world, and talks took a variety of perspectives. We recorded all of them for you to watch here, the symposium was an all round success with a packed room throughout. Matt presented about the startup and future goals of Journecology, and how this tied in with the conference theme.
Being in Finland
Finland was a fantastic location to have the conference, in particular Jyväskylä in the Finnish lakeland provided a truly wild and beautiful backdrop. Over the four days of the conference delegates were invited to take part in some traditional, and unusual, activities. These included nature hikes, fatbiking, night walks, and a trip on a sauna boat. You can hear Mikko Mönkkönen, co-chair of SCB (Society for Conservation Biology), and of the University of Jyväskylä talk more about it below.
We hope to be back to present or report next year and encourage any academics involved in the conference to get in touch with us if they are interested in having their work turned into an article, documentary, and photo gallery.