EU biodi e-conference

Jaakko Hyvönen jaakko.hyvonen at HELSINKI.FI
Wed Nov 14 16:07:19 CST 2001

please find below info from Dr. Geert Raeymaekers
(geert.raeymaekers at who is not subscriber of the list:

>European Platform for Biodiversity Research Strategy
>e-conference on
>Biodiversity conservation in theory and practice (5-23 November 2001).
>Dear Colleagues,
>As part of the Belgian Presidency of the EU, the Belgian Biodiversity
>Platform organises this e-conference to assess the use of scientific
>research in species and habitat conservation in Europe.  One of the
>objectives of this e-conference is to indicate the gaps in biodiversity
>research which are not appropriately addressed by the European
>and R&D programmes.
>The LIFE-Nature projects of the European Union has been chosen as test
>cases since these projects provide a "European-wide" interface between
>biodiversity research and conservation in practice.
>I have therefore been asked by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform to act as
>Consequently, I would like you to inform, in particular the European
>Bryonet members, that it is still possible to attend and to contribute to
>this conference and would be grateful if you could register at:

and an additional note from him:


As part of the Belgian Presidency of the EU, the Belgian Biodiversity
Platform organises an e-conference "Biodiversity conservation in
theory and practice" (5-23 November 2001). One objective of this
conference is to assess the use of scientific research in species and
habitat conservation in Europe.  The other objectives is to indicate
the gaps in biodiversity research which are not appropriately
addressed by the European biodiversity and R&D programmes.

Two sessions are now running in parallel:

Session 1: Biodiversity conservation in practice
Session 2: Biodiversity conservation in theory.

The organisers of the conterence want to learn about your experiences
in the field.  For more information and to register go to:

During the first week, most people addressed the issues of "small
populations" and "flagship species".   However, as chairperson of the
Session 1, I want to broaden the discussion and ask therefore the
participants to indicate the areas where research is lacking or
needed in their biodiversity-related work.

Based upon the background papers and the contributions of last week
(see above mentioned-website), I indicated together with the Steering
Committee of the Belgian Biodiversity Platform two themes to further

1.  "Expert systems".  Conservation biology is to a large extent
based upon emperical research results.  Therefore, expert systems are
much needed to get these emperically-gained data to the end users, in
our case the site managers. The question is: which "expert systems"
do we need?

ÿ Do we need better networks to contact experts? Guidelines for best
practices in a certain area, e.g. heathland restoration? Good
examples of succesful in-situ / ex-situ or reintroduction programmes?
Flora's or other species idenfication tools? Information networks on
species distribution and abundance data - and trends in these?
ÿ Given that conservation projects often fail because of
socio-economical or cultural problems, have some of these been
researched systematically in one of your projects? Is there a need to
do so or do we need an "expert system" to solve these problems?
ÿ Do we need inter-disciplinary research for nature conservation? But
if so, which "non-biological" sciences or disciplines do you actually
need on top of the biological sciences (taxonomy, plant and animal
geography, ecology, physiology, genetics)? And what should be
researched in the first place?

2. "Ecosystem dynamics" or "population ecology. Although we realise
that species are continuously migrating between patches and that the
structure and function of entire habitat types are continuously
changing, most of our conservation actions still do not fully take
these changes into consideration and work within an "equilibrium"

ÿ How long can we manage a certain site successfully to maintain
certain habitat types (e;g. a reedland) or species (e.g. a rare
butterfly) within a certain area? Has this been researched for the
habitats or species you are protecting?  Do you have examples from
your projects?
ÿ Do we understand enough the driving forces behind the 'succession stages'?
ÿ How important is it to study nutrient cycling, hydrology, seed
dispersal mechanisms, migration of species, mortality/fecundity or
other factors, which affect ecosystem dynamics or population ecology?
ÿ Do you think conservation biology should focus more upon
conservation of processes instead of conservation habitats?

Dr. G. Raeymaekers, chairperson."Session 1"

Jaakko Hyvönen                        phone office    +358-(0)9-19124413
Division of Systematic Biology          phone cellular  +358-(0)50-5171184
PO Box 7                                phone home      +358-(0)9-2985258
FIN-00014 UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI      facsimile       +358-(0)9-19124456
FINLAND                               e-mail          jaakko.hyvonen at

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