Session Summaries

1      Sustainable agriculture

There has been an increasing interest for development of sustainable agriculture by use of ecological modelling, ecological engineering principles and ecological indicators. It is therefore of utmost importance to discuss the latest results obtained through experience in the development of sustainable agriculture, including particularly the criteria, models and indicators that we could use to assess the sustainability of agriculture.

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2      Ecohydrology, biotechnology and engineering for Sustainable Development Goals

The actual challenge of approaching the limits of global carrying capacity, induced by the parallel degradation of global environment and population growth, aggravated by climate change, calls for the immediate paradigm shift towards more sustainable management of natural resources. Current practice seems to neglect the fact that our existence on Earth inevitably depends on our ability to profoundly understand, maintain and re-establish fundamental long-term climatic, hydrological and ecological processes across scales, and synchronise our activities with them. Prioritizing short-sighted and disintegrated management, we risk an increase of uncertainty in sustaining both ecological and social systems. Environmental science and engineering have now each progressed enough to develop a mutual dialogue on the synthesis of the efforts between ecohydrology, hydroengineering, civil engineering, ecological engineering and biotechnology within the context of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) to contribute to ecologically sound solutions towards harmony between the biogeosphere and humanity. The United Nations 2030 Agenda sets 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will guide global efforts to eradicate poverty and hunger and achieve universal peace through harmonization of social needs with the enhanced biosphere potential. The enhancement of ecological potential is a multi-dimensional goal that includes enhancement of water resources, biodiversity, ecosystem services for societies, resilience to climate and human impact, and cultural heritage. These aspects, integrated with the water-biota ‘dual regulation’ mechanism, provide a background for development of ecosystem biotechnologies and system solutions at the catchment scale. This session will focus on integrated interdisciplinary approaches to resilient and sustainable system solutions in the framework of the current UNESCO International Hydrological Program priority – Ecohydrology, including the need for interdisciplinary dialog and cooperation between the fields mentioned above, to support the UN SDGs.  

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3       Roots at the heart of belowground ecology

Plant roots are “at the root of” several ecosystem services such as plant biomass production, carbon sequestration, nutrient and water cycling, as well as soil resistance to erosion. These services are strongly influenced by the growth and the activity of plant roots which interact with soil properties and microorganisms. Roots are natural conduits of carbon into the soils, modify soil structure and create habitats for microorganisms, influencing in return root growth and nutrient uptake. Being shallow or deep, fine or coarse, roots play a key yet relatively poorly understood role in belowground ecology. Increasing our knowledge of root ecology is crucially important to engineer sustainable soil ecosystems and enhance essential ecosystem services. In this session, we aim at gathering studies focused on the role of roots in belowground ecology from the individual to the plant community level, using either experimental, field or modelling approaches.

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4       Biodiversity, ecosystem services or naturalness, is this the question?

In this session we welcome contributions that provide data, arguments, observations, etc., to make advances on the dilemma between ecosystem biodiversity, ecosystem services providing and naturalness. More precisely, it is aimed to contribute to answer the following questions (among many others): Does ecological sustainability relies on the biological diversity, ecosystem services or/and naturalness, on none of them? Are there antagonisms or a synergy between biodiversity, ecosystem services and naturalness? What are the relevant spatiotemporal scales to approach this dilemma? What are the ranges of relevant management strategy? What should be the priorities of sustainable management of ecological systems: biodiversity conservation, optimization of ecosystem services providing, restauration? A large range of contributions is expected, from various types of ecosystems, of different biomes, and based on various indicators and methods.

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5       The maximum power of H.T. Odum

H.T. Odum (1924 - 2002) was an innovated ecologist and professor at several U.S. universities from 1950s to 1990s. The fields or topics of ecological engineering, ecological economics, estuarine ecology, ecosystem services, ecological modelling, and energy basis of humans and nature, all topics central to this and previous EcoSummits, had their beginnings or were nurtured in his books and other publications. We will describe the contributions of a man who was praised by noted system ecologist Ken Watt in 1994 as follows: "...some time in the next two decades, Howard T. Odum will be recognized widely as one of the most important scientific figures of this century. ….”

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6       Science and policy: Creating a happy marriage (approaches to facilitate science-policy interactions)

The complexity and multidimensionality of biodiversity conservation necessitates the integration of knowledge involving stakeholders with diverse backgrounds. This ‘boundary work’ is a rather messy and unstructured process with little transparency. Currently, there are very few guidelines available for what works in conservation. In this session, we will explore a range of approaches that have been used to facilitate the interactions between science and policy to yield substantial on-ground biodiversity conservation.  This will be followed by a live discussion on methods which can be used to elicit judgements for decision making in the last 15 minutes of the session. The speakers will provide an overview of approaches based on practical experiences in biodiversity conservation and environmental management and discuss the methodological effectiveness in the context of scientist-policy-maker interactions

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7      Scenarios and models of key indirect and direct drivers in relation to nature's benefits to people

Links between biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services are only weakly accounted in most environmental impact assessments, in policy design and in environmental planning. The same applies for links between ecosystem services and the quality of life as decision base for shaping environmental policies and spatial plans. As such, it is challenging to evaluate the full set of relationships and feedbacks set out in the IPBES conceptual framework and to account for the interactions between indirect and direct drivers and how they trigger natural responses at different scales. In this symposium we will address how to deal with different information types (qualitative & quantitative) in scenario-based assessment of nature´s benefits to people, i.e. how to address uncertainties in modeling and in the regional assessments and how to communicate them in consulting environmental policies, plans and programs.

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8      Integrative approaches to understanding mixed-species groups: Towards community conservation

Mixed-species groups are a common form of social organization among vertebrates. A solid foundation of empirical knowledge exists about the propensity of species to join such groups, as well as the social roles played by leading and following species. Yet it is necessary to know more about how dependent group members are on heterospecifics, and to develop cogent theoretical models of interspecific relationships that provide predictive power. A literature detailing how mixed groups respond to human disturbance is expanding as well, but it is still dominated by descriptive results, without causal inferences that connect the social interactions between species to their responses to disturbance. We will bring together behavioral scientists, community ecologists and conservation biologists to give an integrative perspective on the implications of mixed-species groups for conservation.

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9     Looking for mangroves resilience and sustainability

Every mangrove region has a unique history, ecosystem and human culture. Some mangrove areas have been totally lost or severely degraded, while others remain relatively pristine, free from human over exploitation. Each situation needs to be properly apprehended to question mangrove resilience and address local management and conservation needs. This requires interdisciplinary gap-bridging studies involving many disciplines and issues, such as ecology, eco-engineering, ecosystem services, climate change, disaster risk reduction, restoration, integrated coastal zone management at different spatial and temporal scales of analysis. This session welcomes contributions on the understanding of ecosystem resilience for ensuring mangrove sustainability.

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10       Paludiculture: Sustainable peatland utilization

Drainage based peatland utilization is connected with several environmental problems (emission of huge amounts of greenhouse gases (GHG) to the atmosphere and dissolved nutrients to the ground and surface waters). Rewetting of drained peatlands can stop environmental pollution and restore their ecosystem services. By this they can either be restored to close-to-natural conditions or they can be used for biomass production under wet conditions. Paludiculture, i.e. wet agriculture and forestry, is a promising land use alternative on peatlands. Pilot implementation projects and accompanying research show that paludiculture provides several ecosystem services. It has a great potential to substantially cut GHG emissions and, thus, to help mitigating climate warming while at the same time providing alternative sources of income in structurally weak regions.

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0183        Peatland rewetting and restoration as a climate change mitigation measure: Lessons learned and challenges for the future

In Europe large proportions of peatlands are drained for agriculture, forestry or peat excavation. They release huge amounts of greenhouse gases (GHG) to the atmosphere, mainly as CO2, as well as dissolved nutrients to the ground and surface waters. Rewetting of drained peatlands can restore their ecosystem functioning and, thus, stop their GHG source function to help mitigating climate warming and at the same time rehabilitate their habitat function to help protect endangered biota. During the last decades peatlands were rewetted in many regions worldwide, mainly in the Northern latitudes. The session brings together scientists with a wide range of expertise regarding the effects of rewetting and restoration of peatlands on a variety of ecosystem functions to discuss what we learned so far and to develop future research strategies that will help us to unleash the full potential of peatland rewetting to restore their ecosystem functioning.

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11       Evolutionary thinking, selection and genetics for ecological engineering

Up to now, ecological engineering has been rooted mainly in ecosystem ecology, population dynamics or spatial ecology. It remains poorly inspired by evolutionary thinking and the modern evolutionary synthesis. However, it is now recognized that evolution and ecology are tightly coupled through complex feedbacks. Ecological engineering practices may thus trigger the Darwinian evolution of the involved organisms and these consequences have to be considered when designing engineering solutions. Conversely, evolution represents a unique opportunity for ecological engineering. Indeed, manipulated organisms can be carefully chosen, for example to optimize a particular ecosystem service or to deliver multiple ecosystem ones. When not available in nature, desired traits, organisms or even communities can be obtained by artificial selection. More generally, designing self-adapting and sustainable ecological systems involves an evolutionary dimension. In this session, we propose to confront different approaches on how evolutionary thinking can provide new avenues for ecological engineering for a large range of application domains (agriculture, aquaculture, ecological restauration, pollution remediation, climate engineering, design of new ecosystems…). Three issues are particularly important: (1) the use of Genetically Modified Organisms, (2) the use of selection at the scale of communities or ecosystems, (3) the interplay between artificial and natural selection likely to provide the best and most suitable solutions.

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12       The emergence of wicked problems in coupled human and natural systems: A study in social-ecological complexity

Sustainability of coupled human and natural systems (CHANS) requires policy and management strategies that consider both change in different domains (e.g., ecological, socio-economic, cultural) at different spatio-temporal scales and their impact internally and externally to the considered system. Because wicked problems always occur in a social context, they have been largely overlooked by natural scientists. The goals of the sessions are: to present a general CHANS framework that includes the interactions between environmental and socio-economic dynamics, and the forecast of the effects of these interactions on CHANS dynamics, ecosystem services and sustainability; to discuss a process to identify when an environmental issue becomes a wicked problem; and outline the implications for ecosystem management. A panel discussion will further develop the role of long term social-ecological research in addressing wicked problems. Current knowledge of CHANS dynamics and implications for ecosystem stewardship, including nature-based solutions, ecological restoration and novel ecosystems, will be examined.

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13      Monitoring biodiversity to provide solutions: The use of spatial information at different scales

New developments in remote sensing such as very high resolution satellite imagery, LiDAR techniques that support the measuring of vegetation structure among others parameters, can really help nowadays to speed up the process of biodiversity monitoring and vegetation mapping at very fine scales. More satellite imagery is becoming available as open data, such as the imagery from the European SENTINELS. Current free and open data policy will have a dramatic impact on our ability to understand how biodiversity is being affected by anthropogenic pressures. We need to gain knowledge on the status of degraded systems that play key roles in the trade-off between provision of goods and maintenance of carbon stocks, biodiversity, and other related environmental services. Using a mixture of remote sensing and field methods requires ecologists and remote sensing experts to collaborate closely with the newest capabilities and modeling approaches. The session highlights examples in different regions of new capabilities on coupling remote sensing filed observation and models in answer to operational solutions towards a better understanding of natural systems to mitigate global warming effects and anthropogenic impacts.

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14       Global expansion of harmful cyanobacterial blooms: What’s responsible and how do we reverse this troubling trend?

Eutrophication has promoted a global proliferation of harmful cyanobacterial blooms (CyanoHABs) threatening ecosystem and animal (including human) health and sustainability. Nitrogen and phosphorus input constraints are likely needed to control this troubling trend. CyanoHABs exhibit optimal growth rates at relatively high water temperatures; hence global warming plays an interactive role in their expansion and persistence. Additional manifestations of climatic change, including increased vertical stratification, salinization, and intensification of storms and droughts, play synergistic roles in promoting blooms. Rising temperatures cause shifts in nutrient thresholds at which blooms develop; thus nutrient reductions for blooms control may need to be more aggressively pursued in response to climate changes. Presentations addressing the causes, consequences and controls of blooms on ecosystem and larger scales are welcomed.

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15       Ecological models as tools to assess persistence of ecological systems in face of environmental pressures

In conditions of ever-growing anthropogenic pressures the ability of populations, species and communities to persist is crucial for maintaining biodiversity. While experimental approaches are of great importance to understanding the mechanisms behind persistence and adaptability, multiple constraints (logistic, spatiotemporal scales, manpower) limit experimentation in some cases, making ecological models an indispensable tool for gaining insight about ecological processes. We, therefore, propose a session on ecological modelling where analytical or simulation models are used as tools to address the following questions: 1. What are the ecological and evolutionary consequences of global change on ecological systems? 2. What are the ways to achieve persistence of ecological systems at the short (ecological) and long (evolutionary) time span in the face of diverse environmental pressures? We would like to encourage the consideration of a range of ecological systems covering different levels of organization: from genes to individuals to populations to communities, as this will allow revealing the mechanisms behind persistence at different facets of biodiversity.

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16       Biomarkers: Tools/endpoints to detect environmental and toxicological stressors

Communications (oral/poster) should be in mind that biomarkers are powerful tools in detecting organisms’ adaptations and health condition, either induced by natural or anthropogenic causes. Molecular alterations occur as physiological responses of organisms to environmental modifications, due to the presence of natural or chemical substances, or by deviation of parameters in the population (e.g., density, invasive species). The ability of this ease handle and cost-effective endpoint techniques should not be disregarded since the interpretation of biomarkers signals provide a valuable indication of populations/communities condition based on the individuals, concerning bioaccumulation of hazards in organisms, food chain processes and food consumption, helping also on the effectiveness of monitoring programmes (e.g., quality status or trend).

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17       Carbon footprints in agroecosystems

Global demands for major grains are projected to increase by 110% by 2050, driven by the ever-growing human population’s need for food, feed, fiber and fuel. To meet the target, grain production must increase substantially. Given the limited availability of uncultivated land on the planet and the growing environmental concerns over converting carbon-rich forests and grasslands to cropland, the large part of increase in grain production must come mostly from existing farmland with intensified farming systems. However, farming intensification has serious climatic consequences. Fuel, inorganic fertilizers and pesticides used in crop production emit greenhouse gases that can contribute negatively to climate change. This is one of the major concerns among policy-makers, scientists, producers, and all those involved in the food chain. It is not known whether adopting alternative, advanced agroecosystems can allow the continuous increase crop yield while concurrently reducing carbon emissions. This session intends to address some of the key issues on this subject.

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18     High-elevation ecosystems

High-elevation ecosystems are particularly sensitive to recent global changes because they are fragmented, restricted to small areas, and because life has become adapted to very specific environmental features such as cold temperature, snow cover, or freeze-thaw cycles. As a result of these strong environmental constraints, high-alpine regions harbor very high biodiversity, with many endemic taxa in a number of plant and animal groups. From a societal perspective, they provide many services, among which water provision, soil stability, carbon storage and recreation areas. During this session, we will discuss them as sentinel systems in the face of global changes (e.g., biogeography, conservation, invasion). From a societal viewpoint, we will discuss their sustainability and its consequences on the well being of human societies. We will envisage both tropical and temperate mountain systems.

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19      Ethics, sustainability and the water, energy, food nexus approach

Global environmental change and a growing population with rising income levels and thus increasing demand for a variety of goods and services will put additional strain on the regenerative capacity of renewable resources. According to current calculations, by 2030 the human demands for water, energy and food are expected to grow by 30 to 50%. In order to meet these demands, the nexus challenges among food, energy and water resources need new management concepts.
Precondition for an effective and sustainable management concept, however, is an ethical global framework that provides for a globally just resource distribution. Integrated assessment is generally used to frame, study and solve such complex interdependencies. In this session, the preconditions and management requirements for the comprehensive management of the nexus resources shall be discussed.

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20     Sustainable river system management during energy generation and use: A large river example

Sustaining large river systems like the Columbia River, Yangtze River and Mekong River requires understanding complexity and the appropriate balance of competition for river resources across geographic scales. Large international rivers require a coordinated approach to addressing sustainability given demands for hydropower energy generation, water withdrawals, and environmental flows. This session will begin in the upper river with a focus on research targeting tradeoffs between agricultural, energy and river system needs. Then progress to the estuary, where research focuses on balancing hydropower generation with tidal wetland and coastal fishery resources. Such a focus on the entire large-river system is essential to advancing the understanding of multi-scale interactions and facilitating effective management to achieve sustainable systems. Specific research areas will include 1) observations and evaluations of tradeoffs among water, agriculture and energy, 2) how climate change or economic development affects the large river system, and 3) examples of coordinated science approaches that could translate to enhanced country-level coordination across the river system.

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21      Managed Forests

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22      Implementing transformative, ecosystem-based adaptation

TARA (Transformative Adaptation Research Alliance) is an international network of scientists and practitioners committed to developing new approaches for adaptation to climate change. In this session we will present and illustrate with practical case studies the TARA framework for operationalising transformative adaptation. The TARA framework uses elements of an ecosystem-based approach, and is based on three components: (1) the values-knowledge-rules concept for changing the decision context for adaptation; (2) the adaptation pathways metaphor for revealing possible trajectories of the adaptation decision-making context and providing flexibility to enable active learning; (3) the adaptation services approach to provide options for livelihoods and wellbeing under uncertainty. The interaction between these can help bridge the gap between science, policy and management and provide an operational framework to enable reflexive practice.

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23      Ecological engineering practice: An international review

Ecological engineering is a design discipline, increasingly defined by project experience. Over the past 20 years, formal academic programs and professional associations have been established to support this emerging profession. As a transdisciplinary practice informed by site-specific, ecological and societal factors, ecological engineering in each region or country tends to develop unique practices. This session is a forum emphasizing presentation of ecological engineering project, professional society, and academic program experience. Goals are an international exchange of ideas and experience to advance ecological engineering practice, to investigate the de facto intellectual territory of ecological engineering practice, and to discuss differences between theory and practice.

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24      Impact of land-use change on biogeochemical cycles, biodiversity and related ecosystem services

The impact of changing land-use on ecological processes, nutrient cycling and biodiversity is increasingly becoming of concern, particularly when integrating ecosystem services into our understanding of any ecosystem. In both emerging and developed economies, sustainability is challenged when conserving the ecological integrity of these exploited systems. The erosion and loss of biodiversity and nutrients from soils not only affects agricultural production, soil fertility, water quality or greenhouse gases emission, they also have important impacts on biogeochemical (N, C, P) cycling in downstream lakes, streams and reservoirs, altering lake productivity and organic matter remineralisation rates. This session will discuss the trans-biome impacts of land use change in agricultural sites and will provide some thoughts on the directions that research might take in the future under the anticipated impacts of climate change.

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25      Solutions for sustainable environmental performance

While social and environmental concerns within innovation processes and related firm performance implications have received considerable attention, little has been demonstrated about what drives these changes and how they are conducted within organizations. In many industrial manufacturing sectors, environmental strategies essentially depend on trading systems, standards and legal constraints that are specific to firms’ activity. Thus, regulation and market pressures constrained firms of different sizes to conduct environmental management tools but not necessarily to change their environmental strategies. In this context, environmental regulation creates opportunities for some firms and strong cost constraints and market entry barriers for others (see the case of european industrial firms Chassagnon and Haned, 2015). This argument is consistent with the Porter and Van der Linde hypothesis asserting that environmental regulation and competiveness can be positively related under favorable economic conditions. The main goal of the session is to put ahead analyses that study processes through which innovations and creative solutions for more sustainable activities are put together to enhance “value added” in the long term. We hope papers to essentially contribute to the literature by focusing attention on how firms conduct efficient innovation strategies that integrate environmental concerns.

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26      Ecosystem services for impact assessment of projects, plans and policies

One of the main tools proposed to deliver on sustainability expectations and needs “on the ground” is represented by impact assessment (IA). Broadly defined, IA is the process of identifying the future consequences of an action. IA tools have proliferated ever since Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was proposed over 40 years ago. A large family of IA tools exists today, each focusing on different aspects of sustainability (e.g., health IA, social IA), and/or levels of decision-making, such as projects, plans and policies. The emergence of ecosystem services (ES) approaches has been pushing for a paradigm shift also in IA. This evolution poses a number of opportunities, but also challenges to the future development of IA, and to its effectiveness. This session discusses these opportunities and challenges in the light of the available evidence, by focusing in particular on the implications for the credibility and salience of IA processes, the effects on the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and the improvement of decision-making processes. The session welcomes: empirical case studies, demonstrating the use of ES in IA processes (EIA, SEA, HIA, SIA, etc); reviews of the state of practice of the application of ES in real-life IA in specific sectors (land use, energy, agriculture, water, etc) or geographical regions; proposals of methods and operational tools to improve the consideration of ES in IA to improve decision-making.

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27      Modelling the impact of human activity, behavior and decisions on the environment. Green marketing strategy and green consumer

The topic of this session will be related to the approach of the concept of sustainability analyzed in terms of eco, bio, and economic vision. Starting from modeling greenhouse emissions and the pollutants’ transport, analyzing their negative effects on the environment, as the climate change, we aim to identify the tools that could be used to develop the ability of human communities to manage and utilize the resources by ensuring the environmental protection and sustainable development. The session promotes an inter- and trans-disciplinary investigation of the current problems of the sustainable development, starting from the individuals’ education for acting as green consumers to the green marketing policy of corporations and governments.

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28      Engineering mixed planted forests for sustainable provision of ecosystems services

Planted forests provide major contributions to carbon sequestration, wood production (ca. 45% of the produced round wood) and many other ecosystem products and services worldwide. However, while planted forests are most commonly grown as “monocultures”, tree diversity is increasingly acknowledged as enhancing growth and resilience of forests. There is therefore a need for developing new designs of planted forests based on tree species mixtures that can deliver a wider range of ecosystem services while taking socio-economic and technical constraints into account. The objective of this session is to gather experts in forest ecology, planning and management to discuss and synthesise key aspects regarding the establishment and management of novel mixed plantations. The session is co-sponsored by two task forces of the International Union of Forest Research Organization (IUFRO); it is planned that this will form the basis of a joint position paper.

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29      Assessing the status of exploited marine ecosystems

Ecological Indicators are being widely used to assess the status of exploited marine ecosystems due to multiple drivers, in particular fishing and the environment, and their impacts over time. This session will provide an overview of the current status of exploited marine ecosystems in a comparative context, and will focus on frameworks that combine ecological indicators to provide synthetic assessments of ecosystem status including biodiversity, community structure and capacity of marine ecosystems to sustain fisheries. The latter will be enriched by modelling studies that examine impacts of, and potential for sustaining hypothetical fishing strategies (targeting various parts of marine food webs). Novel means of assembling information yielded by ecological indicators will be encouraged to provide assessments of marine ecosystem status.

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30      Where ecology meets society: The past and future of humans and ecosystems

This session aims to bring together scientists from the natural sciences and the humanities in order to share ideas on the human role in shaping current ecosystems. It is increasingly acknowledged that the long-lasting effects of land use and management are crucial for the understanding of most environments of the world. However, relatively little real effort has been put into building connections between ecology and disciplines directly dealing with the human past. Understanding the interactions between the past development of human societies and related patterns in ecosystems will help us to comprehend current patterns in nature. This will allow for better predictions of the future of our ecosystems under various management scenarios.

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31      Palaeoecology, resilience, and sustainability

Maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services in a changing environment requires a temporal perspective that informs realistic restoration and management targets. The integration of long-term perspectives into adaptive ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation has begun, and concrete examples of applied palaeoecology and historical ecology are now starting to emerge in ecosystem management, particularly in freshwater resources, restoration ecology, fire management, and forest conservation. Long-term perspectives can contribute to the sustainable management of ecosystem services by providing insight into the range of variability and resilience of ecosystems, thereby potentially informing management targets. Such targets need to be dynamic, adaptive, and responsive to changing boundary conditions.

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32      Wetland restoration and biogeochemistry: Engineering carbon balanced landscapes

Wetland ecosystems provide an optimum natural environment for the sequestration and long term storage of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, yet are natural sources of greenhouse gases emissions, especially methane. Methane is now described on a molecular basis as 27 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide in a 100-year horizon. Therefore, to many landscape managers and non specialists, most wetlands would be considered by some to be sources of climate warming or net radiative forcing. We will bring experts who have studied carbon balancing of wetlands from around the world together to investigate how we can restore and create wetlands that will be, at worst, carbon neutral, and at best carbon sinks on a landscape scale.

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33      Ecosystem Services

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34      Understanding the links between soil diversity and soil ecosystem services to inform sustainable soil practices

Successful crop management is essential for global food security. Plants are involved in intimate interactions with other micro- and macro-organism during their entire life and these interactions are essential for plant growth and health. Especially microorganisms in soils are crucial for nutrient cycling and disease suppression. In the recent years the importance of interactions and communications belowground is increasingly recognized. Improving our understanding of belowground interactions and communication is critical for assessing the functioning of ecosystems, which underpins soil and plant health. The introduction of beneficial species or the prevention of pathogen accumulations are often highly unpredictable processes. By exploring microbial interactions and communication we will be better able to understand how sustainable soils function and which actions would promote sustainability of under-performing soils.

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35      Plant resilience after extreme stress

Climate change forecasts of more frequent climate extremes suggest that such events will become increasingly important drivers of future ecosystem dynamics and function. One of the major challenges for advancing our understanding of the ecological consequences of climate extremes is to determine plant resilience at individual and community levels. Across biomes and plant functional types, exploring the traits and processes involved in plant’s ability to survive and recover after an extreme stress provides key knowledge to identify tipping points and assess the consequences on the sustainability of plant communities and ecosystem services. In this session, we aim at gathering studies on a large range of species and plant communities to foster discussion and exchanges in particular on concepts (definition of climate extremes, resilience,…), methodologies (cavitation, mortality indicators, in situ/controlled conditions, modelling…) and approaches (role of plant/soil interactions, biotic interactions…).

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36      Soil C, a double-win for food security and climate mitigation in low input agriculture: Lessons from temperate and tropical regions

In tropical countries, agricultural production needs to be increased to feed a growing population. In temperate countries, agriculture needs to consider how to reduce negative impacts on the environment. The challenge of meeting these demands has to take into account the effects of climate change. While tropical and temperate regions are facing different issues in their agriculture, building up carbon in the soil contribute to merge solutions in both regions. Low-inputs agriculture favors alternative managements of production systems guaranteeing a high organic matter. This experience needs to be acknowledged, investigated and tapped to come up with local solutions. This session will be huge potential and opportunity to exchange on how soil C can sustain local solutions to global issues facing temperate as well tropical countries.

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37      Soil bioengineering systems for building green infrastructure

Green infrastructure is a global concept that entails the interrelationship of different dimensions: ecological functioning and ecosystem services; biodiversity; ecosystems resilience improvement; natural hazards and climate change risks; ecotechnological solutions development and monitoring; a clear social and political commitment. Soil bioengineering approaches perfectly match with the preceding aims so there is an strong synergy between them. This session is aimed at multi-disciplinary audience comprising but not limited to engineers, landscape planners, ecologists, environmental scientists and managers. Through talks spanning a number of disciplines, poster presentations and workshops the attendees will be able to explore the wider aspects of the green infrastructure approach and concepts.

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38      Cities as hybrid ecosystems: Ecological linkages between urban grey and urban green systems

Cities are hybrid ecosystems compounded by interlinked grey and green systems. On the one hand urban green systems (UGS), as basis for urban biodiversity, can have crucial role in improving quality of life of urban population. UGS are remains of natural ecosystems, such as forests, wetlands, etc. remaining small-patch-habitat-mosaics, often disturbed or temporary, but also special habitats even for endangered species, always embedded in built environments and suffering from the so called ‘urban push’. On the other hand, cities are made of human made infrastructures and buildings, the artificial dimension of urban ecosystems. Ecological understanding of this artificial dimension - coupled with the underlying natural dimension needs further conceptualization and operationalization. For such ecological approach new methods and indicators are needed. Up to date grey and green research remain separated. In this session we target presentations from both sides of the urban ecosystem: urban green (UGS), urban grey and their linkages. Theoretical as well as empirical presentations looking at how the green and the grey are articulated, following – or not – ecological laws are encouraged. Authors are asked to outline explicit relationships between both dimensions, allowing discussing the emergence of hybridism in urban ecosystems.

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39      Education of climate change and environment protection specialists

The ecology and environmental protection are the established fields of research and education. Yet recently they became affected by ongoing climate change and by anthropogenic activities aimed at its mitigation and adaptation. There are strong conflicts but also synergies between environmental protection and climate change mitigation/adaptation. Thus, the ecological research as well as the nature conservation and environmental protection practices require a new kind of professionals capable to bridge the gap between the science of ecology and climate change and the practice in environment protection and climate change mitigation/adaptation (environmental engineers, climate change managers). Thus, the aim of the proposed session is to gather the experts from educational and research sectors to discuss the challenges in education of new Environmental and Climate Change Engineers. What are the existing experiences with classical environmental protection courses during the Era of climate change and what should be modified and/or developed in order to provide environmental engineers with a new expertise?

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40      Increasing species richness and genetic diversity in agriculture

Modern intensive agriculture is based on a drastic reduction in the species richness and genetic diversity of cultivated plants, at least within fields. Meanwhile, ecology has been showing for the last 20 years that species richness increases primary production and stabilizes this production in space and time. Results have more recently accumulated to show that genetic diversity within species also plays an important positive role in ecosystem functioning both in natural systems and in agroecosystems. The session will thus gather talks about the use of mixtures of species and cultivars to increase the sustainability of agriculture and to provide diverse ecosystem services. The goal is to explore all possibilities to design optimal mixtures including particular breeding schemes to develop species and cultivars particularly adapted for mixtures. All aspects of the implementation of mixtures are also relevant, including technical, sociological and economical aspects. Though mixtures are particularly promising for plants in agriculture, talks about mixtures of species and genotypes in other fields (aquaculture, cattle breeding …) are also welcome because some solutions and the underlying ecological mechanisms might be common to all contexts.

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41      Systemic approach to foster human health through nature-based solutions

There is an urgent need to find ways to combat disorders that relate to life style in developed countries. Traditionally, these illnesses are treated with post-symptom medication with enormous economic cost and adverse side-effects. There are, however, a growing number of studies suggesting that ecosystem services can play a key role in offering cost-efficient ways to combat these modern illnesses. Ecosystem services need to be packaged into nature-based solutions to make them operational in the society. This session assesses the preconditions for the development and operationalization of nature-based solutions to enhance foresight in health care. The session covers four topics that relate to human health and nature - exercise, nutrition, immunology and mental health - and explores how these dimensions could be interlinked through nature-based solutions.

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42      Soil fauna: Key to soil organic matter dynamics and fertility

Soil is a non-renewable ecosystem resource under seriously pressure by land use, urbanisation and climate change. Soil organic matter (SOM) is key to soil fertility, climate change mitigation, combatting land degradation, and the conservation of above- and below-ground biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. Current models of SOM dynamics are defined in terms of plant residues input and microbial decomposition, overlooking the important contribution of soil fauna. Here, we promote interaction to foster networking and collaboration for improved SOM models by implementing the role of the soil fauna as a basis for sustainable soil management. An international interdisciplinary approach is the proper platform for both experimentalists and modellers to provide solutions. This session will address key challenges in SOM management, soil fauna and modelling.

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43      Improving predictability of circumboreal forest fire activity and its ecological and socio-economic impacts through multi-proxy data comparisons and monitoring

Circumboreal fires represent up to 12% of the global biomass burned annually, directly affecting carbon balance and atmospheric GHG concentrations. Fires are also the primary driver of boreal ecosystem dynamics, so climatically-induced changes in fire regimes affect successional pathways of dominant tree species, which in turn, affect different ecosystem services such as carbon storage, biodiversity, and availability of forest products, therefore affecting community economies. The ability to predict forest fire activity at monthly, seasonal, and above-annual time scales is critical to mitigate its impacts under predicted global change scenarios. Large scale anomalies involving energy balance of Pacific and Atlantic oceans and associated atmospheric pressure patterns have been repeatedly shown to affect drought conditions and therefore regional fire regimes in North America. It therefore provides potential for advanced detection of upcoming fire season intensity and it is reasonable to expect that similar teleconnections between ocean and atmosphere, controlling fire regimes, extend over the whole circumboreal region. The session aims at confronting results from several boreal studies based on monitoring or multi-proxy analyses relating fires and climate in order to evaluate the potential ecological techniques that could be developed.

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44      The role of living shorelines as habitat conservation strategies

Armoring shorelines to prevent erosion is a long-standing global practice that has well-documented adverse effects on coastal habitats and organisms. Recent initiatives in US and internationally now promote the use of nature-based shoreline protection approaches, frequently called living shorelines, and discourage armoring. These engineering solutions use natural elements, often in combination with a stabilizing structure, to control erosion and restore habitat and maintain coastal processes. Living shorelines may represent a singular opportunity for habitat conservation in urban systems because of their value to society as a means to protect the built environment. However, the field of shoreline restoration in human systems is in its nascent stages and significant questions remain about the effectiveness of different living shoreline designs at maximizing ecosystem services while providing acceptable shore protection. This session will explore 1) the potential for living shorelines to enhance ecosystem service provision in the near and long-term, 2) lessons learned from the practice of shoreline restoration/conservation, and 3) gaps in scientific understanding and strategies for working across different disciplines of engineering, ecology, policy, etc, that the field requires.

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45      European perspectives and global challenges on achieving no net loss of biodiversity in the context of development

With biodiversity being lost at unprecedented rate, there is growing concern on how to mitigate the unavoidable impacts of development projects. Alongside with the promotion of goals of ‘no net loss’ or ‘net gain’, biodiversity offsets are increasingly used to counterbalance these impacts. While offset frameworks have been put in place in several countries worldwide (e.g. Germany, the US, Australia, Canada, Brazil), the subject has risen onto the political agenda of the European Union in the past years, most notably via the proposed No Net Loss Initiative, but also in several member states (e.g. France, Spain, the UK and Sweden). This session aims to bring together the latest developments from science, policy and practice from EU member states and international experience in addressing the global challenges raised by biodiversity offset policies and their implementation, including social, economic and political aspects as well as technical and scientific aspects.

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46      A new ecology, systems ecology

The main purpose of this session is to present the state-of-the-art of systems ecology – year 2016.

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47      Managing trees and forests across the wilderness/urban continuum

We can no longer manage different forests and trees in the landscape, from native communities to street-side rows of trees, as distinct units with independent objectives and constraints. The increasing impact of human activity, the rate of climate change, and the globalization of resource use connect even the most remote regions of the Earth to the most populated city centers. This session will explore the linkages and the contrasts across the wilderness to urban continuum, as it should now be viewed. We invite speakers with experience in i) a growing movement to use ecosystem approaches to properly account for inputs and outputs at the landscape level; ii) the limitations and resulting stresses individual trees must cope with when planted in increasingly human dominated settings; iii) the unequal impact of urban activities and demands on wilderness and how to best manage this exchange; and iv) developing fair and rational policies for natural forest use that are sensitive to both rural and urban human populations. We will conclude the session with a round-table discussion between the speakers and the audience.

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48      Servicing ecosystem services: Taking action to overcome 21st century decision-making challenges through landscape planning, novel land use science approaches and ecological modelling

From clean water to erosion control, from food provision to climate regulation, from recreation to scenic beauty, all humans benefit from the services provided by the Earth’s ecosystems. Even though our knowledge on how ecosystems work is still limited, there are enough insights and tools to assist humans to preserve both, ecosystems’ integrity and function, ensure they provide the so-called ecosystem services and guarantee that these are brought effectively to the right stakeholders. To make this possible, we need to explore local needs for ecosystem services through stakeholder participation, we require planning adequately to ensure that services are delivered appropriately and, we must be able to evaluate and monitor how all the ecosystem’s parts work together to make their provision sustainable. We encourage the submission of high-quality abstracts related to how environmental decision-making can be enhanced through new landscape planning and novel land use science approaches as well as with ecological modelling techniques applied to ecosystems engineering with the aim of obtaining/preserving and servicing the myriad ecosystem services. This session is aimed at multi-disciplinary audience comprising but not limited to ecologists, engineers, landscape planners, foresters, environmental scientists and managers. Through talks spanning a number of disciplines, poster presentations and workshops the attendees will be able to explore the wider aspects of ecosystem services and decision-making strategies for this challenging 21st century.

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49      Ecological engineering of sustainable landscapes

Ecological engineering has been defined as the design of sustainable ecosystems that integrate human society with its natural environment for the benefit of both. While most examples of ecological engineering include small scale ecosystems such as treatment wetlands, restored river courses and floodplains, and stabilization of hilly terrain, there are some cases where ecological engineering principles have been applied to large-scale landscapes and catchments. Some of these were purposeful application of ecological principles; others happened or are happening naturally through self-design. The presentations in this special session will focus on ecological engineering that involves scales of tens to thousands of hectares or even larger catchments to solve ecological and environmental problems. Examples will be presented by scientists and engineering who understand ecological engineering principles from North America, Europe, and other continents of large-scale restoration and ecosystem creation.

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50      Area prioritization for biodiversity conservation

In an era of scarce and competing resources, conserving biodiversity will require unprecedented political will and global investment, but it will also require that planners clearly focus on two pressing and operationally challenging questions: 1) where to establish conservation areas to fulfill a full array of social, ecological and economic benefits; and 2) how to manage new and existing protected areas to sustain these multiple benefits. This special session will be an opportunity to listen to the most recent insights on some of these questions by active researchers coming from different fields (e.g., ecology, applied mathematics) but all in tune with biodiversity conservation. Enough time will be reserved for informal discussion and brainstorming.

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51      Monitoring biodiversity in agricultural landscapes

In several countries, monitoring programmes have been established to measure trends in agricultural landscapes and their associated biodiversity. Examples include the British Countryside Survey, Biological Survey of Canada, BSC, Northern Ireland Countryside Survey, BDM and ALL-EMA in Switzerland, 3Q in Norway, NILS in Sweden and High Nature Value Farmland Monitoring in Germany. In this session, we invite experts representing these and similar on-going monitoring programmes to exchange experiences about monitoring methodology, choice of indicators and use of monitoring results. Specific topics of interest may include spatial scale, time interval, sampling design, choice of taxa, evaluation of agro-ecological schemes, feedback to policy makers, communication with stakeholders, as well as innovative methods such as the integration of citizen science in monitoring and the monitoring of ecosystem services.

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52      Plant-soil feedbacks: Bridging natural and agricultural sciences

Plant species vary greatly in their influence on soil biota, which in turn can positively or negatively feed back to plant performance. Plant–soil feedback has become an important concept in explaining vegetation dynamics, species invasions and in understanding how natural ecosystems respond to global changes in land use and climate. In agricultural systems, plant–soil feedbacks may lead to nutrient depletion and the buildup of soil pathogens, often resulting in major declines in crop productivity. Surprisingly, research in natural and agricultural systems has developed largely independent of one another. This lack of integration persists despite the potential for natural systems knowledge to facilitate the development of sustainable agricultural practices in a constantly changing world. This session will include some of the leading researchers of the field to provide an overview of the current state of knowledge on plant-soil feedbacks, bridging natural and agricultural sciences, and discussing avenues for research toward an ecologically sustainable future.

Session is sponsored by the Special Interest group "Plants, Soils, Ecosystems" of the British Ecological Society

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53      Human regard for other species and the future of biodiversity conservation

The future of many of the earth’s species will depend in large part on the values, attitudes, and preferences of humans, who will—or will not—provide the political and social resolve to bring about biodiversity conservation. What do we know about the nature of human regard--in all of its psychological, social, cultural, ethical, economic, and aesthetic dimensions--for other species, and what impact does our regard for other species have on current conservation and conservation policy? What do predicted trends in human society portend for conservation in the future? And what are some promising avenues for conservation? The goal of this session is to develop a better understanding of human regard for other species that can contribute to more effective biodiversity conservation.

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54      Marine spatial planning for urban sprawl through ecological engineering

The spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas continues to compromise the utility of estuaries and coastal wetlands as productive nursery habitats essential for aquatic life. The unplanned and unregulation of coastal urban sprawl in the worlds estuaries contributes to poor water quality, altered freshwater flow, contaminant pollution, loss of habitat, light pollution, invasive species, sedimentation/eutrophication – the list goes on. Although these impacts have been widely studied, less is known about the potential mitigative strategies.

This session aims to bring together managers and scientists to discuss new ideas and research in the field of marine planning and system repair, with a particular focus on ecological engineering solutions.

AND

Marine eco-engineering and restoration

This session aims to bring together scientists and managers to discuss the increasing urbanisation of global estuaries and coastlines and the application of restoration and eco-engineering. Developments extending artificial structures into the marine environment include offshore energy platforms, foreshore developments, marinas, ports and artificial reefs. Although the impacts of these structures have been widely studied, less is known about potential strategies to mitigate impacts and restore ecosystems. Ecological engineering of marine infrastructure represents an opportunity to design developments with a reduced ecological footprint and increased provision of services. Presenters will discuss ecological impacts of artificial structures in the marine environment, restoration and eco-engineering solutions, and the role of policy in promoting these management strategies.

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55      Ecosystem services in coupled human/natural systems: The role of trees in air pollution abatement

Using trees to mitigate air pollution is advocated as a cost effective way to promote human health and well-being, yet practice has leapfrogged over science and validation is difficult. This lost heuristic opportunity impedes both our understanding of urban ecosystems and rational evaluation of practices but also risks mis-informed policy and management implementation. This session brings planners, atmospheric scientists, toxicologists, epidemiologists and urban ecologists into an open, frank forum to examine the current knowledge and identify opportunities for reconciling priorities for research, policy and urban design practice.

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56      Current advances in plant water-relations research, implications for forest management and restoration

Recent decades have seen many advances in the study of plant water relations, but, mainly focusing on concepts already in existence and extending them to little studied eco-systems and plant lineages. With global warming, the degree of water deficit has been increasing in most tropical and subtropical regions, leading to the destabilization of regional watersheds and hydrology. Therefore, it is vital to consider water use and regulation when selecting species for better management and restoration of forested ecosystems. In this proposed session, focusing at the plant scale, across plant lineages as well as for different plant habits in both plantation and natural forests, we will discuss current advances in xylem water fluxes that affect plant growth and regeneration dynamics in water-limited and water-abundant tropical and temperate systems. In light of expected impacts from climate change, we highlight how current advances may lead to better forest management and restoration.

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57      Ecosystem state transition: Observing and modelling landscape self organization

Within the context of global environmental change understanding shifts in ecosystem behavior is more important than ever. State transitions occur for various reasons. One common aspect of state transitions is that the complex interplay between abiotic and biotic system compartments has undergone fundamental changes so that unexpected feedback loops trigger state transition at multiple scales. There is clearly a strong need for better understanding of the dynamics of ecosystems over time. This session is looking for contributions dealing with innovative experiments and observations across spatial and temporal scales detecting ecosystem state transition as well as contributions introducing novel theoretical and modelling approaches. Papers are welcome that tackle the management of state transition as an ecological engineering methods as applied to restoring disturbed landscapes.

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58      Ecological network models: Development and application

One of the biggest societal challenges is to reconcile competing demands on land use while avoiding environmental degradation. It is widely recognised that ecological networks should be bigger, better and more joined up. Many organisations are involved in restoration to build functioning ecological networks that will be resilient to future shocks. This requires coordinated action on a vast spatial scale, among a diverse body of stakeholders. Decision support tools can help to synthesise complex data and prioritise limited resources. Various ecological network models are available for informing landscape scale conservation, but confusion exists about which is most suitable and when. Standard and lightning talks will review the tools available for planning ecological network restoration with a focus on their application in conservation actions. A discussion group will follow to draw out next steps.

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59      Assessing ecosystem-based actions effectiveness: A focus on beneficiaries

Ecosystem-based Actions stem from the integration of ecology and society, hence, no Ecosystem services without accounting for beneficiaries. Although recognized as cost-effective and win-win responses to multiple challenges, Ecosystem-based Actions are still scarcely mainstreamed due to a poor understanding of how they diversely affect beneficiaries. Comprehensive and accurate analyses of beneficiaries are needed as a tool to design and assess Ecosystem-based measures. Moreover, identification, quantification and mapping of beneficiaries are essential steps to highlight and face equity issues in the provision of ES, spatial mismatches between ES supply and demand, trade-offs between different categories of beneficiaries. The session aims to collect and discuss contributions (i.e. frameworks, mapping tools, assessment methodologies, ...) that address the topic.

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60      The art and method of calibration and uncertainty analyses in ecological modelling

In general ecological modelling, it is rare to determine parameters of a model ‘a priori’. Limitations of the data and the model structure has made this process an absolute necessity. And subsequently, all modeling projects must undergo some sort of conditioning or calibration. Although several methods have been reported in literature, the art of selecting an appropriate method has not been thoroughly discussed and is usually gained by experience by the modeler. And because these issues affect the sanity of our models, it will be vital for models to learn how to be an artist in calibrating and assessing the associated uncertainties in ecological models prior to each study. It is the aim of this session to gather the experiences of researchers in Ecological Modelling for the general scientific community. This session will also allow young researchers to discuss the current challenges during the session forum.

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61      Dryland ecology: Recent advances and perspectives

Drylands cover 41% of terrestrial land surface and are home to approx. 35 % of Earth’s human population. Besides water limitation, drylands are also characterized by a pronounced spatiotemporal variability in other environmental factors (e.g. edaphic parameters, land-use). This translates into high variability of seasonal and annual vegetation dynamics, making drylands highly vulnerable and degradation-prone - especially in the light of global change. Even though climate projections for drylands are fraught with uncertainty, the majority of dryland regions is predicted to face substantial, unbeneficial change. Due to drylands’ importance and threat, dryland ecology has gained considerable momentum in the last decades. This session aims to illustrate and discuss recent advances in dryland research from an ecological perspective but interdisciplinary contributions are welcome.

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62      Socio-ecological sustainability in fragile tropical environments: From humid to arid ecosystems, what can we do?

The tropical ecosystems host the largest known terrestrial biodiversity but seem to be very fragile in the face of global change. Indeed, the reduction in ecosystem area and the changes in composition over the last decades come directly from local settlements or indirectly through the extractive supply of environmental goods and services. Finding technical solutions to improve their resilience through ecological and functional sustainability requires identification of all ecosystem components and interactions. It requires studies designed to discern ways to maximize benefits to all these components. We aim at stimulating our thinking on the subject from case studies based on inter- and trans-disciplinary research integrating both the natural and anthropogenic functioning of these systems. Identifying relevant spatial and temporal scales for ecological sustainability may call on different types of studies including long-term analyses, while the engineering change can be tackled by environmental manipulation or modeling activities.

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63      Linking social and ecological sciences to promote biological conservation in Southern Africa

A decade after the release of the UN’s Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, much action has been taken to study the nature of the relationships linking nature and humans, and to produce policy that supports both nature and humans. Nowhere is this paradigm shift in conservation more vibrant than in southern Africa. This session provides case studies of research that links biodiversity, ecosystem services and human livelihoods in a region that depends heavily on natural resources and conservation of biodiversity. Together, these case studies highlight the importance of linked social-ecological research in South Africa, Swaziland and Botswana, and point the way forward for addressing gaps in promoting sustainable development.

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64      Sustainable agricultural intensification: Ecological and social perspectives

How to meet the needs of a human population that is approaching 8 billion while protecting forests and biodiversity? This session addresses agricultural intensification from two key different perspectives. Does it spare land for forests (i.e., the land use Jevons’ paradox)? Can it be achieved in a manner consistent with ecological principles (e.g., ecosystem services)? Presentations will explore the interface between biodiversity and ecosystem services in an agroecological context, discussing ways in which sustainable intensification can occur. Empirical or policy-oriented work on whether intensification can spare lands is also welcome.

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65      Changing communities in time (and space): Modelling and empirical approaches

Changing environmental conditions did, and are continuing to, force shifts in community composition and structure in essentially all types of ecosystems world-wide. For being able to forecast future ecosystem processes and services, we need be able to predict changes in communities and biotic interactions within communities. This session will address recent, current and future changes in community composition, both through empirical approaches and modelling, and aims at bringing together and joining expertise from different methodological areas.

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66      Soil-plant interactions and soil ecosystem services delivery

The session will focus on soil-plant interactions for the delivery of soil ecosystem services (ESS) such as: nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, water retention, soil erosion, and soil fertility. The session will focus on marginal lands (nutrient poor, abandoned and polluted) since these remain unexploited for the moment. Our hypothesis is that growing biomass on such land (as compared to leaving this land bare) increases ESS delivery. Given the huge total surface area of such land worldwide, this might actually result in large significant increases in ESS delivery. Moreover, given the increasing world population, marginal lands are the most suitable areas for biomass agriculture, thus leaving agricultural land available for food production. The core objective of this session will be to answer three questions: (1) how can the relationships linking soil functional biodiversity and ESS be defined; (2) how can the indirect value of soil ESS delivery be assessed, and (3) what are the policy implications of increasing the delivery of soil ESS

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67      How to better understand and characterize the multiple facets of rarity for conservation strategies

Conservation policies are most often designed based on large scale mapping of taxonomic diversity and emphasize the protection of rare taxa. The nature of rarity is still poorly understood and uncovers multiple facets. Rare taxa are "outliers", and understanding their dynamics is statistically challenging. Conceptually, the causes and consequences of rarity are manifold. Recent and burgeoning developments in community ecology have proposed using functional traits and phylogeny to characterize taxa and assemblages. This offers new prospects to understand rarity resulting from ecological and biogeographic processes at multiple scales. This session aims at gathering complementary viewpoints to explore how recent conceptual breakthroughs may translate into improved conservation and land zoning practices.

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68      Plant Functional Traits

To assess how the diversity of plants shapes ecosystems and landscapes processes and services, plants are now not only considered through the lens of their taxonomic identity but through the function that they fulfill. Plant functional traits can be any morphological, physiological or phenological character that will characterise the plant and allow to quantify its response to biotic or abiotic constraints, and its effects on the community and ecosystem where it is developping. To date, most studies have focused on carbon sequestration and soil fertility, with a majority of traits related to plant morphology. Still, using functional traits instead of species taxonomy could help evidence more general patterns in community and functional ecology, looking for similarities between functions of species rather than specificities of individual species.

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69      Designing urban biodiversity to regulate disease vectors

Vector species (e.g., arthropods, rodents) are sensitive to the same temperature and resource constraints that regulate more desirable biota (e.g., pollinators). Population abundances of mosquitoes and ticks for instance, are constrained by extreme heat on exposed, impervious surfaces. However, in the transition from an urban landscape dominated by impervious surfaces to one that incorporates vegetation cover and storm water infrastructure, the first 'wild' species to colonize are often organisms most tolerant of human presence - including mosquitoes, rodents, and peri-domestic birds that may vector infectious disease. Through early colonization of human-dominated landscapes, these pest species often escape predation and competition constraints. Yet, with increased species diversity, forest and water systems in cities can self-regulate abundances of pests.

Research presented will investigate how the ecological and socio-economic characteristics of urban ecosystems influence population dynamics of vector organisms and examine how civic engagement and design can direct biodiversity and ecosystem function in urban landscapes. The session will include talks from ecology and social science to investigate the mechanisms that support vector population growth and persistence in human-dominated ecosystems and evaluate how cultural practices, sociological structures, and civic engagement can interact with urban design to facilitate sustainable biodiversity in urban landscapes.

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70      Resilient Rivers

River systems around the world share a number of common management challenges. Upland regions with are often in different political jurisdictions from downstream users of runoff, historical patterns of the seasonality of snow and rain already appear to be transitioning into new hydroclimatic regimes due to climate change, and few systems have any remaining reserve capacity. The combination of climatic uncertainty, high transaction costs to negotiate new water sharing arrangements, and already over-allocated water supplies requires new approaches. This session presents emerging approaches in collaborative modeling, stakeholder engagement, and tools for building improved resilience into river systems. Emphasis will be placed on differences and similarities across these river systems globally, highlight research challenges, and develop a network of scholars and practitioners engaged in designing solutions.

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71      Improving the urban water cycle through green infrastructure

Urbanisation and the associated increase in hard surfaces results in a loss of infiltration and evapotranspiration and a subsequent increase in stormwater runoff, impacting on soil moisture and vegetation health at the catchment scale. A range of green infrastructure – such as green roofs and walls, stormwater biofilters and infiltration systems - are being developed to address these issues. This session will draw on theoretical and empirical studies to discuss how green infrastructure can improve the urban water cycle through (i) retention, filtration and attenuation of stormwater from impervious surfaces to protect receiving waters; (ii) restoration of soil moisture and evapotranspiration; and iii) retention and transformation (or possible release) of pollutants.

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72      Forests, water and soils: Exploring the importance of their linkages

Forests play both an integral role in the supply of clean water for a range of uses, and also in stabilizing and protecting soils from erosion. Much of the World’s freshwater is provided through forested catchments. Forests also protect many dams from siltation and contamination from various pollutants and protect groundwater systems from pollution. In addition, both soil and water are essential drivers of forest health and growth. This session, organized by the IUFRO Task Force on Forests, Soils and Water Interactions, will showcase the cutting-edge research on forest ecohydrological processes, their linkage to soil science and ecosystem research, and how monitoring and integrating this knowledge at landscape scales can be translated into policies and decision making processes for joint management of forest, soil and water resources.

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73      Identifying trade-offs between ecosystem services (EES), biodiversity and industry as a step towards balanced land use

The session focuses on multi-criteria optimization methods and analytical frameworks that enable the assessment of the effects of different land use intensities and landscape configurations on selected ecosystem functions and services, potential industry impacts (or disruptions) on this functionality and biodiversity indicators. The session will provide a range of papers on the trade-offs between various ESS in different land use types and at different scales as part of a process of understanding or assigning value to EES, for determining balanced land use outcomes. Presentations can be from different regions, land use types and intensities, considering societal preferences, strategies and goals.

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74      Carbon sequestration potential and stocks of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems

The ever-increasing emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the major global concerns today. There is a continuous exchange of CO2 between the atmosphere and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Of late, nature-based approaches which are of low-cost are widely followed for the mitigation of climate change. It is high time to assess the carbon stocks and also study the carbon stocking ability of both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in this era of global warming and climate change. This would help in modeling and predicting the future C stocking potential and carbon budget of these ecosystems, based on the current scenarios of CO2 emission and ecosystem exploitation. Such studies would eventually carve out new paths to enhance C mitigation strategies, besides highlighting the importance of conserving the fragile ecosystems.

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75      Small-scale green infrastructures to mitigate degradation of agricultural landscapes

Non-point source agricultural pollution can be dealt with using distributed green infrastructures such as buffer zones, constructed wetlands, bioretention cells. In places where land is scarce or expensive, the implementation of green infrastructures is made difficult, and the efficiency of small-size systems is not always sufficient to significantly reduce contaminated flows. This session focuses on novel designs and operating strategies for small-scale green infrastructures. The session also covers the characterization of non-point source pollution transport dynamics at catchment outlets. In the general context of scarce land availability in agricultural areas, we welcome submissions involving field pilot-scale research, lab-scale characterization of processes, process- and design-based modeling studies, and land management studies for green infrastructure implementation at regional scales.

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76      Modeling eco-footprint for urban land uses

The session will focus on the modeling approaches for eco-footprint resulted from various urban land uses and the intensity of urban activities. We welcome original papers to present the state-of-the-art technologies from real-world practices. The topics may include system dynamic modeling and practices, ecological impacts of intercity and inner migration pattern, housing and firm location choices, sustainable tourism, green transport, and retail development.

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77      Wetland modeling and data collection for improved water management

It is understood that wetlands are important landscape features for maintaining and improving water conditions. There is a pressing need to develop and improve models that predict wetland capabilities for downstream water quality and hydrology. These models are ultimately dependent on extensive monitoring and data collection for better understanding of important wetland processes. This session will emphasize advancements in wetland modeling and data collection efforts currently being conducted to improve predictive capabilities and overall water management.

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78      Farmland Biodiversity

Farmland is a dominant land use in Europe and around half of all European species are dependent on agricultural habitats. At the same time, agriculture is dependent on farmland biodiversity and associated ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling, soil formation, pollination and predation of pests. In this session we will explore relationships between agricultural management practices, landscape structure and different aspects of biodiversity.

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79      When and how should we intervene to regenerate, restore, or conserve ecosystems?

There has been much debate about the appropriate objectives, conceptual framework, methods and techniques, and policy implications regarding the conservation, ecological restoration, and resilience of ecosystems. Given rapid and often irreversible changes to entire ecological regimes, it seems unlikely that historical ranges of variation are the appropriate target for conservation and restoration ecology. There are calls to recognize novel ecosystems or a reconceptualization that places more emphasis on regenerating and sustaining resiliency of structure and function in ecosystems as a means of ‘forward facing’ efforts. This begs the question of whether we now when and how to intervene in ecosystems and how to decide on the appropriate objectives. Plot scale research can offer clues but managers and policymakers require more specific and widely applicable solutions now.

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80      Ecosystem services related to agricultural ecosystems

Agricultural ecosystems are the largest ecosystems of the Anthropocene, and the ecosystems most directly linked to human well-being though the provisioning, regulating, and cultural ecosystem services they provide. This session has the ambition to host presentations, on a range of issues specific to these ecosystems. Particular focuses will be: analyze the socio-ecological processes and techniques underlying ecosystem services at different spatial and temporal scales, and how their interactions reinforce or degrade the services rendered; understand the rationale of ecosystem use and management according to achievement and sustainability goals of ecosystem services, analyze the functional coupling between services, highlight ecological and social antagonisms or synergies, identify conflicts and study compromises; multi-criteria evaluation of various levers impacts, whether technical, social, economic or legal; analyze current public policy and explore new policy elements favoring better compromises.

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81      Soil and water conservation and restoration: Innovative Engineering tools and new approaches

Topics will include: restoration ecology and ecotoxicology assessments tools; biodiversity versus biological invasions; watershed ecology, management, restoration; eco-engineering tools for soil and water restoration; landscape pattern and design of restored sites; integrated ecosystems; management and environmental emergencies, response and clean-up. Authors of accepted papers will present their work during oral presentations/posters. Studies should include original (of ongoing or completed) laboratory or field research results; modelling and or case studies. Multidisciplinary studies are certainly welcome. A small panel of two or more people will assist with discussions and questions on specific topics.

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82      The future of urban sustainability: Smart, efficient, green or just?

The concept of urban sustainability has developed as a proposal to overcome, among others, the social and environmental problems associated with rapid global urbanization processes. A number of interdisciplinary frameworks have attempted to conceptualize urban sustainability in various, and sometimes very distinct, ways and offer different access paths to the topic of urban sustainability. In this session we propose to foster multidisciplinary cross fertilization by bringing together experts from around the world, representing four urban sustainability frameworks – smart, efficient (zero impact), green and just— to present their perspectives in a provoking way and engage in interactive discussion with the audience. Smart growth proposals concentrate on compact, multi-use urban design and structure; green infrastructure and nature based solutions emphasize ecosystem services, nature mimicry and human health and wellbeing; zero impact approaches are based on technologically driven resource efficiency; and concepts of justice within the urban sustainability framework focus on social structures that determine the distribution of environmental benefits and burdens, along with the meaningful participation of underrepresented groups in environmental decision making.

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83      Feeding a growing population while sustaining the Earth

Earth is currently faces huge challenges because population is growing much faster than agricultural production and the environment is gradually deteriorating due to human activities. It has been already known that world ecosystems are deteriorating: water & soil fertility have been over-exploited; demands for more food put constraints on Earth resources; warmer climate is intensifying droughts impacts on land degradation. Feeding the 9 billion people on the Earth expected by the 2050 is a challenging task because it requires world agricultural to produce nearly 70% more compared to the current level. Intensification of agriculture will put strong pressure on fragile world ecosystems, considering the current trends in turning marginal lands to agriculture, exhaustion of environmental resources and ongoing climate and land cover changes. This session has a goal to discuss how to sustain the Earth in the face of considerable intensification of global agriculture and the current and anticipated environmental changes.

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84      Forest ecosystem health and its multi-functions

Forest is one of the important ecosystems in the world, which plays important roles on diverse products providing, carbon sinking, oxygen releasing, water-soil holding, biodiversity maintaining, etc. Forest health depends on bio-structure which right depends on the biodiversity. The health forest shows a decreasing trend in the world. Fragmentation has lowered down the quality of the forest and so for its biodiversity. Many well developed useful techniques have been applied successfully in the forest and its biodiversity research. The scholars around the world have great interesting to share their works and achievements. Therefore, the purpose of this applied session is to gather the experts together, who are working in this field, to talk, discuss and share their experience and achievements in order to better understand the forest ecosystem and call for its protection.

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85      Wildlife evolutionary ecology in agricultural landscapes

Agricultural landscapes are formed by a matrix of agricultural fields (i.e., agroecosystems) more or less interspersed by remaining fragments of native vegetation, water courses, roads and human construction. Although their presumptive mission is the production of domesticated species or their commodities, they always support some wild species, which can demand human efforts to be conserved, controlled, used or simply monitored. Such efforts can only be effective if public policy recognizes the multifunctionality of agricultural landscapes. Agricultural landscapes should be included in the context of biological conservation, and governance should be improved. In addition, wildlife management should be included in the context of agriculture. Besides improving biodiversity conservation, agricultural landscapes should also provide the maintenance of the evolutionary process itself, as it molds the patterns of biological diversity.

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86      Food webs in terrestrial, aquatic and marine environments: Concepts and modelling approaches

Understanding trophic interactions is fundamental for most ecological relations; e.g., competition and co-existence, energy-biomass structuring of food webs, nutrient cycling, the maintenance of biodiversity, and resilience-stability of ecological systems. A large set of theory has developed and tremendous knowledge has been gained about trophic interactions and their effects on food webs, especially in the last decade. However there are substantial differences in the emphases of this knowledge and theory, as applied in the major realms of terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecology. This, in turn, has led to different concepts and approaches of the food web principles. This session invites empirical working scientists as well as modellers and theoretical ecologists to present work on food webs from various habitats and environments, applying different analytical concepts. We focus on elaborating similarities and differences between systems in order to discuss the possibility of a general food web framework.

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87      Spatiotemporal patterns as early warnings of possible catastrophic shifts in stressed ecological systems

There is increasing awareness that ecological systems may react to external forcing by abrupt changes of main state variables. Such catastrophic shifts may determine a possible break-down of crucial ecological services or functions. Anticipating such break-downs demands the adequate modelling of key processes and properties of those systems. Catastrophic transitions are associated to the existence of alternative (meta-)stable states, which frequently generate self-organized spatiotemporal patterns of state variables. Such very diverse patterns (i.e. regular/irregular, scale specific/scale-free) do matter as both outcomes of driving processes and sources of key systems’ properties (e.g. resilience). The session will focus on interpreting patterns for monitoring and tracking signs of imminent collapse. It will also aim at reinforcing the dialog between maths/physics and ecology to provide suitable models for systems made of sessile organisms (plants, colonial animals).

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88      Ecological thermodynamics

Ecosystems are open systems that constantly exchange energy and mass with surroundings to sustain their internal orderliness and functions and evolve to more developed stages of succession. Non-equilibrium thermodynamics (i.e., the concepts of dissipative structure and order through self-organization) can be implemented to understand the dynamics and complexity of open ecosystems. This symposium will discuss the theoretical frameworks and emerging concepts that connect ecological thermodynamics to ecosystem complexity and sustainable ecosystem management. We welcome contributions that address both theoretical and applied aspects of ecological thermodynamics, such as 1) Innovative mathematical framework of calculating thermodynamic entropy fluxes for open ecosystems; 2) Comparison of thermodynamic entropy production (e.g., net thermodynamic entropy budget and the rate of entropy production) across ecosystems at different succession stages or exposed to varied extents of anthropogenic disturbance; 3) Temporal dynamics of entropy fluxes in open ecosystems and their controls across spatial and time scales; 4) Relationships that link thermodynamic quantities (e.g., the ratio of entropy outputs to inputs) with ecosystem stability, resilience, and productivity; 5) The effectiveness of the maximum entropy production (MEP) hypothesis to describe evolutionary process in natural ecosystems; and 6) Uncertainties in the quantification of thermodynamic entropy fluxes in open ecosystems.

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89      Constructed wetlands and nutrient management

There is a big push worldwide towards the implementation of constructed wetlands as part of water treatment strategies. Constructed wetlands are proven nutrient removers from aquatic systems. The range of efficiencies is however very wide, depending on the nutrient under consideration and also on the characteristics of the constructed wetland. For instance, phosphorus removal in free water surface constructed wetlands is between 10% - 98%. An important role in the removal is played by phosphorus associated with particulate matter sedimentation in the wetland. In general, continuous flow-through wetlands show a better efficiency when compared to flood-pulse wetlands. The selection of macrophytes plays another key role in improving retention of nutrients and other contaminants. At the same time the wetlands may be either a sink or a source of carbon. Submissions are welcomed from academia, industry, and government agencies and will seek to compare and analyse the most efficient practices for constructed wetland in water treatment applications.

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90      Climate change: Ecological and socio economic dimensions in the coastal zone

The coastal ecological integrity and socio economic impacts are at severe risk. This special session deals mainly with the consequences of climate-induces changes on several broadly critical environmental drivers related to climate that, directly and indirectly, regulate many coastal ecological processes. This is a critical concern for future sustainable socio-economic development in twenty-first century. Some areas of coastal region in a broad latitudinal gradient well likely become wetter, some drier, and the variability in the timing and quantity of precipitation will also likely change. These patterns will reflect changes in local precipitation, freshwater runoff, and large drainage basins. Changing tropical storm activity, accelerated sea-level rise, and littoral erosion will be critical factors affecting ecological integrity of coastal ecosystems. Although the precise geography of these regional shifts in a broad latitudinal gradient is not known at present, it is expected that there will be significant changes in the fundamental character of many coastal ecosystems –from north to south- in response to a changing climate. Additionally, this special session will explore the concept of ‘sentinel-ecosystems’ and ‘sentinel-species’ in front of climate change impacts in the coastal zone.

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91      Flourishing within the limits: Designing sustainable socio-economic systems that respect nature’s boundaries

A chief barrier for integrated assessment and models is the issue of multidimensionality: Economic systems using money currency and ecological systems using energy, nutrients, or water. The natural world is bound by physical and biological conditions based on available energy, cycling of key elements, and rhythms of living systems, whereas, economic and financial systems operate in an unbounded world seeking perpetual growth. Since the Limits to Growth books by Meadows et al. this tension has been explicitly discussed but without much fundamental impact on the policy or economic decision-making. Recent work in the area of biomimicry, community resilience, common measurement units, and regenerative economics has identified pathways in which the limits are respected, yet productive and high-quality outcomes ensue. This approach can be referred to as Flourishing within the limits (Jorgensen et al. 2015). This session will focus on approaches that reconnect ecological and economic systems to find solutions to re-design economic system to respect biophysical constraints.

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92      Nitrogen and sustainability

Nitrogen is one of the most perturbed natural biogeochemical cycle and a key resource for ensuring both economic and ecological sustainability. It is important to understand the challenges for ensuring ecological sustainability with respect to Nitrogen and build models to provide solutions that help in managing the nitrogen cycle. This session will invite speakers who are working on modeling various aspects of nitrogen's role in ensuring social, economic and ecological sustainability. Systems modeling approach would be at the center. The aim is to develop a network between key scientists who work on Nitrogen through different modeling efforts. Eco-Summit will be a strong platform for such networking and providing the future research directions for Nitrogen and Sustainability. This session will encompass talks focused on nitrogen for wide variety of systems – forest, urban, river, agricultural, economic and industrial. A white paper highlighting the need of modeling efforts for nitrogen sustainability in various systems can be published as a result of session or there can be an opportunity to have a special issue on models related to various aspects of sustainability focused on nitrogen.

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93      Emergy assessment of sustainability: How emergy accounting can help agro-ecosystems to address the needs of agroecology

To preserve the current civilization and to support its further expansion, environment endures a significant amount of pressure. How can we express this work of environment through a fair value, so that the main impacts can be identified and reduced in order to reach the sustainable future? The complexity of the matter is increased due to the fact that the values are determined through the market mechanisms, and environmental work is conducted outside the market boundaries. In EcoSummit 2012, emergy assessment was addressed as a way to assign a fair value to Nature within human activities, including economic markets. Originally, Prof. Odum, inspired by the food chain organization, defined emergy (or embodied energy) as all the available energy of one kind (e.g. solar joules) used-up directly and indirectly to make a product or a service. Consequently, the scarcer the resource is, the greater the specific emergy. This session addresses the environmental performance of agriculture, fish farming, and food-processing industries in a sustainable view through emergy analysis. Presentations in this session aim to enable a better and more profound understanding of bonds between society, environment and economy , providing the knowledge required for reaching the sustainable, environmental-friendly future of our civilization.

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94      Coastal temperate forests: Sea level impacts and climate adaptation

While the importance of mangroves in coastal protection, habitat and the carbon cycle is well-recognized, to date less coordinated international examination of coastal temperate forests has been accomplished. Accordingly, this session will focus on the diversity, structure, and function of these forests and seek insights regarding ecological engineering for climate adaptation. These ecosystems are found in the northern parts of the U.S.A and Japan; the southern parts of Canada, Chile, and New Zealand; southern Australia; Europe; southeastern Russia and nearby areas of China and North Korea. Some regions are heavily populated while others are home to significant remaining natural areas and endangered species. Climate regimes include the Marine West Coast, Mediterranean, and Humid Continental, not the Subarctic or Humid Subtropical. Dominant trees may be coniferous or broad-leaved. Often these forests are associated with extensive coastal wetland and riparian floodplain complexes that are hydrologically connected far inland, yet others occur on steep slopes. The role of the temperate forests nearest to the ocean in elemental cycles along the margins of continents will be explored together with the potential consequences of climate change.

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