Symposia & Workshops

The Congress theme, “conservation biology and beyond: from science to practice” reflects the fact that delivering effective conservation requires a range of actors. Conservation still suffers from these different actors being poorly coordinated and there is work to do to ensure a concerted effort. Conservation science needs to cover a broader range of disciplines than just biology to be relevant to practice and needs feedback from application on successes, problems faced and research needs. In addition, conservation biologists often remain poor at communicating the importance of their science to policy and practice; mechanisms for better communication exist but need to be agreed upon and invested in.

Symposia | Workshops | Traning sessions



1 Biodiversity monitoring at european scale

Organisers: Piotr Nowicki & Klaus Henle

In 2001 at the European Council in Gothenburg, the Heads of State made the commitment to "halt biodiversity loss by 2010", which became widely known as Agenda 2010. At the World Summit Of Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002 world leaders agreed to "significantly reduce the current loss of biodiversity by 2010". Biodiversity has its own intrinsic value, but is also increasingly recognized for its goods and services. In response to global, European, regional, or national commitments, countries are implementing plans to halt the further degradation of biodiversity. To ensure the most efficient and effective spending of the limited resources available for conservation, and to ensure that questions by decision makers are answered adequately, there is a need for coordination and standardization of biodiversity monitoring across Europe. This should enable wide access and multi-purpose use of data and will lead to a harmonized approach towards long-term indicator-based monitoring in Europe. Reporting of monitoring results will also be better integrated and more regular.

Though there is a strong political commitment to reach the 2010 target on the one side and intensive research to develop indicators of biodiversity and methods to measure them on the other side, there is yet no common framework that translates monitoring efforts into policy. Policymakers need to know if their decisions and the instruments, developed to implement the decisions to protect and use biodiversity in a sustainable manner, are effective. Managers need to know to which extent they are meeting the goals of EU Directives and biodiversity conservation strategies. Furthermore, policy decisions and management actions should be effective, coherent, and consistent across Europe. The public should also have access to such assessments. The policy-related monitoring programs can result in concrete messages for decision makers and the public.

The symposium will address the current situation and perspectives for the integrated biodiversity monitoring in Europe at the species and habitat level. The results presented have been gathered within of framework of the pan-European research project EuMon "EU-wide monitoring methods and systems of surveillance for species and habitats of Community interest" (STREP 006463) of the EU 6th Framework Programme.

Invited speakers:
Klaus Henle (Germany), Romain Julliard (France), Chris van Swaay (The Netherlands), Tiiu Kull (Estonia), Szabolcs Lengyel (Hungary), Sandra Bell (UK), Dirk Schmeller (France), Piotr Nowicki (Poland), Pierre-Yves Henry (France), Bianca Bauch (Germany), Bernd Gruber (Germany), Petr Voříšek (Czech Republic)

2 Climate change, a challenge for conservation

Organisers: Mar Cabeza & Heini Kujala

Climate change and its impacts on biodiversity have gained much political and scientific interest over the past decade. Global climate is rapidly changing, with consequent Shift in species distributions and extinctions. Current conservation practices may not be enough to avert biodiversity losses in the face of forecasted climate changes.


Conservation biologists will thus face a number of challenges over the next several decades, both in predicting and documenting patterns and in dealing with the effects. While protected areas are still the pillar of modern conservation efforts, new studies are showing that, because they are geographically fixed and increasingly isolated by habitat destruction, they maybe poorly suited to accommodating species range shifts due to climate change. Additionally, modern tools developed to identify priority conservation areas cost-effectively, rarely accommodate these changes. Novel tools, though, are being developed so that they are coupled with modelled species distributions as responding to forecasted climate changes. Such forecasts, however, are not free of uncertainties and thus, relying fully on modelled future distributions may compromise current conservation needs. Other alternative conservation options than the very sophisticated conservation planning tools also deserve attention, and will prove valuable in different circumstances. These include, for instance, sound conservation outside protected areas (management of the matrix, buffers), connection of protected areas, conservation of genetic diversity, ex-situ conservation (gene banks, captive breeding), and assisted migration.


This symposium is meant to touch upon all these issues, bringing in a European perspective as much as possible. The speakers that have been invited represent cutting edge research and top names in the field; the talks suggested include overviews of approaches in practice as well as implications for policy making. Thus, besides including a timely topic, that of climate change, the symposium will fit into the meeting’s theme, not only giving a perspective of recent research advances but also discussion solutions in practice.

Invited speakers:
Miguel B. Araújo (Spain), Thomas Hickler (Sweden), Heini Kujala (Finland), Wendy Foden (UK), Richard Gregory (UK), Diogo Alagador (Spain), Mar Cabeza (Finland), Claire Vos (The Netherlands), Sebastian Van der Veken (Belgium), Ann Clarke (UK), Pam Berry (UK), Guy Midgley (South Africa), Wilfried Thuiller (France)

3 Communicating scientific uncertainty across the science-policy interface

Organisers: Andrew Pullin & Gavin Stewart

Goal – To address the problem of communicating scientific uncertainty to the policy community.


Scientists are used to working with uncertainty. Probability is at the core of the scientific process and underpins our ability to take an experimental approach to applied conservation problems. Arguably however, the impact of science on policy is significantly weakened because of the perceived inability of scientists to present certain solutions to problems or be confident of future scenarios. Some politicians are accused of using scientific uncertainty simply as an excuse for political inaction.

The value of conservation biology to policy formers is closely related to our ability to predict the outcomes of human activities with a reasonable degree of certainty. In turn, our ability to predict depends on the state of the science and the quality of the evidence available. Policy formers are frequently frustrated by lack of consensus on what the science says and lack of objective synthesis leaves the subject wide open to exploitation by those with extreme views or the rejection of data that doesn’t fit with the prevailing dogma.

In search of certainty, policy formers may seek a simple answer. This might encourage biased reporting that covers up or ignores elements of uncertainty that more comprehensive and objective syntheses might emphasise. Thus there is a potentially damaging mismatch between scientific rigour and policy penetration of the science message.

This symposium will consider scientific uncertainty from the perspectives of the policy former, the applied scientist and the statistician. Speakers will consider uncertainty from its very source in experimental design, through synthesis and analysis to communication with end-users. Discussion will focus on the way in which uncertainty is expressed and communicated at the science-policy interface. The objective is to generate some consensus on effective mechanisms of communication.

Invited speakers:
John Fitzgerald (USA), Gavin Stewart (UK), Kerrie Mengersen (Australia), Frédéric Gosselin (France), Takuya Iwamura (Australia)

4 Concepts, methods and software for conservation prioritization

Organisers: Atte Moilanen & Anni Arponen

This Symposium includes presentations that concern conceptual and methodological issues of conservation planning. Topics can include, for example, goal setting, new methods for terrestrial/ marine/freshwater planning; dealing with habitat loss; allocation of multiple alternative conservation actions; systematic habitat restoration; adaptive management, monitoring, planning for changing landscapes – including effects of climate change, new software etc. Below is a list of speakers who have reconfirmed interest in participating. The talks have been ordered roughly according to topic; first are talks with methodological/conceptual emphasis, and then talks with methodological/applied emphasis.

Invited speakers:
Atte Moilanen (Finland), Bob Presesy (Australia), Brendan Wintle (Australia), Steven Philips (USA), Anni Arponen (Finland), Mar Cabeza (Spain), Barb Anderson (UK), Aldina Franco (USA), Maria Trivi o (Spain), Wilfried Thriller (France), Carlos Carroll (USA)

5 Conservation genetics of ex situ and reintroduction projects

Organisers: Axel Hochkirch & Kathrin A. Witzenberger

Although in situ-conservation such as habitat restoration and management represents the most effective way to protect endangered species, it is evident that some species have become extinct in their natural habitat or will become extinct during the next decades. Therefore, ex situ conservation programs and relocation projects have become increasingly important in order to protect endangered species. Loss of genetic variability, inbreeding and outbreeding depression still represent major problems in many ex situ populations. Although captive breeding projects have already benefited from improvements in husbandry and management as well as more detailed record keeping, genetic studies in captive populations are needed to get a better insight into the consequences of ex situ conservation. Data on the genetic diversity and relatedness of animals in ex situ populations are crucial for the implementation of successful breeding programs as they may help to avoid in- and outbreeding. Moreover, population genetic analysis can help to evaluate the translocation programs as they allow to calculate effective population sizes of newly established populations and to check which individuals contributed most to the offspring. This symposium aims at stimulating discussion on the management of captive populations and translocation procedures in the light of conservation genetics.

Invited speakers:
Richard Frankham (Australia), Kostas Theodorou (Greece), Denis Couvet (France), Steve Smith (Austria), Arati Iyengar (UK), Oscar Ramirez (Spain)


6 Disturbance of wildlife through recreation: from research to implementation

Organisers: Raphaël Arlettaz & Susi Eiermann-Jenni & Veronika Braunisch

The human population is steadily increasing, with its economy growing even much faster. A result of this frantic development is that recreational activities spread rapidly, affecting nature everywhere. Disturbance of wildlife through recreation is thus becoming a serious environmental issue. On the one hand, knowledge about the actual effects of recreation is still fragmentary. On the other end, conservation practitioners have to take action for mitigating its effects. We need to develop an evidence-based framework for disturbance ecology which addresses crucial conservation issues, proposes sound policy guidelines and ensures implementation in practice. The aim of this symposium is, firstly, to present a synthesis of the various approaches used to quantify the impact of human disturbance on organisms and ecosystems; secondly, to present study cases where knowledge has led to a significant implementation of concrete policies for mitigating the effects of anthropogenic disturbance upon wildlife; thirdly, to offer a platform to practitioners for presenting areas they think need an urgent input from disturbance ecology science. This way we may contribute to bridge the gap between research and practice in this emerging field.

Invited speakers:
Raphaël Arlettaz (Switzerland), Daniel T. Blumenstein (USA), Veronika Braunisch (Germany), Susi Eiermann-Jenni (Switzerland), Heribert Hober (Germany), David Lusseau (UK), Patrick Patthey (Switzerland), Rob Williams (Canada), John Charteris Wingfield (USA), Helen Regan (USA), Pirkko Siikamäki (Finland)

7 Economics for biodiversity conservation

Organisers: Martin Dieterich

By definition, non-renewable resources are exhaustible, and use of renewable resources is limited by the productive and assimilative capacities of ecosystems. Thus, human societies function within limits imposed by ecological constraints. Increasing demand for natural resources and resulting land use change towards unsustainable extraction continue to be the main drivers of biodiversity loss, globally and regionally. Halting biodiversity loss therefore ultimately depends on the capability of human societies to properly acknowledge and live within ecological constraints.


Ecological constraints are not reflected in mainstream economics and economic policies. Such policies are based on the growth paradigm and a market system that is intrinsically unable to, and therefore does not properly account for value externalities such as biodiversity.


In the prevailing social and economic framework, solutions to the biodiversity crisis are founded on models that attribute monetary value to ecosystem services and on the potential for technological progress. Attributing monetary value is a first step towards the internalization of biodiversity values into market transactions, but it is not a solution. Technology is a means to achieve greater material wealth using fewer resources and at the same time lessen pressures on ecological systems and associated biodiversity. However, technology is not a means to overcome basic constraints imposed by ecological limits.


Although improving technology and assigning monetary values to ecosystem services may lessen the impact of the economy on the environment and biodiversity, they do not address the problems inherent in basic economic paradigms and policies based thereupon. There is a need for economic policies that properly consider ecological knowledge and environmental assets, if political targets such as “halting the loss of biodiversity” are to be achieved.

 The proposed symposium will critically explore 1) the foundations, promises and flaws of growth economics and economic policies based upon the growth paradigm; 2) the opportunities and limits of the economic valuation (monetization) of ecosystem services; 3) the opportunities and limits to solving the biodiversity crisis by technological progress; and 4) sustainable economic models that are able to incorporate ecological principles including the conservation of biodiversity.

The symposium will be held as a joint session with a presentation of results from the TEEB study (The Economics of Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity). Teeb researchers will use the joint session to ask for active input from congress participants to the TEEB process."

Invited speakers:
Bram Büscher (The Netherlands), Brian Czech (USA), Martin Dieterich (Germany), Andreas Exner (Austria), Dan O’Neill (USA), Joachim Spangenberg (Germany), Jan van der Straaten (The Netherlands)
TEEB presenters: Augustin Berghöfer (Germany), Frank Wätzold (Germany), Salman Hussein (UK)

8 Ex situ plant conservation

Organisers: Michael Burkart & Cornelia Löhne

Plants are fundamental for life on earth, being present in nearly all ecosystems with high diversity of species and life forms. Presently, many plant species are critically endangered in all parts of the world, from tropical forests and islands to European biomes.


Ex situ conservation can be essential for the preservation of threatened plant species, as is reflected in goal 8 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC). Ex situ conservation includes seedbanking, long-term cultivation in gardens and ad-hoc production of living material for restoration.


Although concepts and guidelines have been developed in several countries through the past15 ys, it is still unclear in many cases whether the ex situ approach is appropriate or not, and which concrete ex situ measures are most promising for optimal conservation outcomes. Further, the integration of the different ex situ approaches and their connection to in situ activities is often not satisfying in real conservation projects. The symposium will summarise the state of the art in ex situ plant conservation with a focus on integrative projects in Europe, and give an outlook on future developments in this field.

Invited speakers:
Markus Fischer (Switzerland), Daniela Bunde (Germany), Maria Putzger (Germany), Okka Tschöpe (Germany)

9 Exotic species in nature reserves

Organisers: W. L. M. Tamis, Rob Leewis

Exotic species are one important part of biological pollution of our planet. The other part is the genetic pollution by introduction of foreign populations, e.g. the re-introduction of threatened species. In this symposium the focus is on exotic species. A number of exotic species exhibit an invasive and aggressive behavior and these are considered an important threat to biodiversity and to ecosystem services. Most exotic species can be found in disturbed, anthropogenic habitats, like urban and agricultural areas. Only a minority of exotic species manage to colonize more natural habitats, a.o. nature reserves. Some exotic species have been introduced a very long time ago, so most people seldom acknowledge these exotic species as a threat, but sometimes even as a valuable part of the ecosystem. One example is the exotic large, yellow-flowered Evening primroses (Oenothera spec.) from North-America are considered by many people, including biologists and nature conservationists, as a valuable addition to the indigenous flora of the dunal areas in the Netherlands. Other exotic species have been purposely planted at a large scale for forestry goals in natural areas, and some of these species showed very strong expansions, like the Rum cherry (Prunus serotina), White poplar (Populus alba), and the Townsend’s Cordgrass (Spartina x townsendi). Only a minor number of other exotic species have managed to invade the natural areas or nature reserves.


In this symposium the presence and history of exotic species in nature reserves throughout Europe, the effects of these exotic species on the native species and on the ecosystem and the management of exotic species in nature reserves are presented and discussed. Why are some exotic species highly valued and present on the national Red Lists? Why are there so few exotic species present in natural areas in comparison with urban and agricultural areas? Do these exotic species in nature reserves have other characteristics then those in non-natural areas? How much do we actually know of effects on native biodiversity, and these effects being adequately monitored? And how to manage invasive exotic species in nature reserves, without damaging the present natural values and landscapes? These are some of the questions to be treated during this symposium.

Invited speakers:
Antje Ehrenburgh (The Netherlands), Margot Vanhellemont (Belgium), Wil Tamis (The Netherlands), Maike Isermann (Germany), Jara Andru (Spain), Frank Klingenstein (Germany), Zdenek Ďuriš (Czech Republic), Nadezhda Berezina (Russia), Wolfgang Rabitsch (Austria), Sally Edmonson (UK) 

10 From sit and watch to anticipate and manage – building an adaptive climate change-proof conservation strategy

Organisers: Pierre L. Ibisch & Stefan Kreft & Peter Hobson

While the Natura 2000 network is an important contribution to slowing down the deterioration of many of its targets across the European Union, in the long run, its success in maintaining the overall status of biodiversity and its services to society appears improbable. Likewise, meeting 2010 targets at current levels of delivery is unlikely. It is climate change that should definitely convince policy makers that complementary strategies that embrace principles of macro-ecology and natural dynamics to sustain biodiversity interests through the next era are required. As a matter of course, the same process is going on in most societal sectors, such as agriculture, forestry, water management, urban development and tourism. This gives rise to potential synergies as well as conflicts and competition for diminishing or changing resources. The aim of this workshop is to examine the conservation science and policy underpinning the Natura 2000 framework and other conventional conservation approaches in light of new scientific thinking, often motivated by the dynamic climate change forcing, that embraces concepts of landscape ecology, scaling, and uncertainty. A coherent, climate change-adapted conservation strategy requires that the management be re-conceptualised, simultaneously and following common paradigms, on all policy levels, and synchronised with adaptation strategies in other sectors.

Invited speakers:
Matti Hovi (Finland), P.R. Hobson & P. Mickleburgh (UK), Katrin Vohland & Wolfgang Cramer (Germany), Steffen Reichle (Bolivia), Karsten Reise (Germany), Stefan Kreft & Pierre L. Ibisch (Germany), Monika Bertzky (Germany), Ybele Hoogeveen (Denmark)

11 Nature conservation on farmland: linking ecology with social sciences

Organisers: G. R. de Snoo & H. Staats & C. J. M. Musters

Ongoing intensification of agriculture has been identified as one of the main causes of biodiversity decline in the 20th and 21st centuries. Recognising of the role of agriculture in this problem, both farmer communities and governments have taken initiatives to design measures to mitigate the impact of intensive agricultural practice on biodiversity and the environment. In Europe, this has culminated in incorporation of environmental criteria in EU legislation regarding Common Agricultural Practice (CAP) and the obligation of national governments to design and implement agri-environmental schemes.


To date, there is a substantial body of research founding agri-environmental management options on a solid ecological base. However, after several decades, strong evidence for the success of agri-environmental schemes in halting the biodiversity decline is still lacking.


One of the reasons suggested for this is that, generally speaking, ecological considerations currently play an insignificant role in farmers’ decisions to participate in schemes and more importantly, in delivering quality once enrolled in a scheme. What are their perceptions, motives etc? Ecological considerations are weighed heavily against economical and social considerations. Therefore, research aiming to find ways to improve the quality of the agri-environmental management needs to integrate ecology and social sciences. With this symposium we bring together scientists who have built bridges between these domains in order to elucidate the social processes underlying farmers’ decision making in agri-environmental management. Next to a discussion on how current agri-environmental policy is bound to lead to suboptimal results, alternative strategies on how to improve farmers’ involvement in agri-environmental management will be discussed.

Invited speakers:
James Bullock (UK), Rob Burton & Gerarld Schwarz (New Zealand), Anne Marike Lokhorst & Henk Staats & Jerry van Dijk & Geert de Snoo (The Netherlands), Kees Musters & Jinze Noordijk & Geert de Snoo (The Netherlands)

12 Paths to Integration: Exploring the interface between social science and conservation biology

Organisers: Sandra Bell

The aim of the symposium is to reflect current thinking on the place of social science in relation to biodiversity conservation by addressing a range of questions that conservation scientists face in their every day practice. The opportunity to introduce social science into the proceedings of the Congress represents an important landmark in the growth of interdisciplinary perspectives towards conservation. We aim to set up a dialogue between social and natural scientists towards the development of integrated approaches and hope that there will be plenty of lively discussion.

Invited speakers:
Ben Campbell (UK), Fabrizio Frascaroli (Iceland), Kurt Jax (Germany), Ketil Skogen (Norway), Rosemarie Siebert (Germany), Andrew Whitehouse (UK)

13 Practicing adaptive management across Europe

Organisers: Ilke Tilders & Gernant Magnin

The European Partnership on Adaptive Management (EPAM) is initiated by Eurosite and FOS.

Eurosite is a network of site management organisations devoted to nature conservation management across Europe. 26 countries are represented by more than 100 member organisations. The goal of Eurosite is to enhance European nature conservation, through both the management of land and water and through the dissemination of practical information.


Foundations of Success (FOS) is a not-for-profit organisation committed to working with practitioners to improve the practice of conservation better through the process of adaptive management. FOS helps organisations around the globe to develop adaptive management systems. FOS also facilitates cross-project and cross-site learning, builds capacity, and conducts monitoring and evaluation.


EPAM’s Vision: By 2015, the European Open Standards will be widely recognised and practiced as the best available methodology for the management of N2000 sites and other sites of biological importance, throughout Europe and in the EU in particular.


The symposium will be organized by EPAM, with active participation of its members. The individuals who will be responsible for organizing this symposium on behalf of EPAM are named above.

Invited speakers:
Gernant Magnin (The Netherlands), Ilke Tilders (The Netherlands), Corrado Teofili (Italy), Nick Salafsky (USA), Pierre Ibisch (Germany), Per Nilsson (Sweden), Matti Maatta (Finland), Lisa Ernoul (France), Stella Vareltzidou (Greece), Kjell Danell (Sweden), Ilke Tilders (The Netherlands)

14 Promoting grassland insect conservation and diversity

Organisers: Nick Littlewood & Alan Stewart

Grasslands are an abundant land type globally and represent typical landscape elements of rural areas (e.g. mountain pastures, dry meadows). They comprise some of the most bio-diverse semi-natural habitats known and, through their role in agriculture, can be key to maintaining rural livelihoods.


Agricultural practices are under multiple pressures to change. Semi-natural grasslands are at a risk from both the intensification and abandonment of agricultural land use practices, particularly in the newly acceded European Union (EU) member states. Meanwhile climate change renders arid areas unproductive and rising global food prices exert ever stronger incentives towards maximising productivity elsewhere. These processes are changing the biodiversity of grasslands and the appearance of rural landscapes. Ecologists, therefore, need to engage with policy makers to investigate methods for the sustainable grassland management. Insects play a crucial role in grasslands. Aside from their intrinsic value, insects provide unique services in the form of nutrient cycling and pollination. They are highly effective environmental indicators (due to their rapid response to climatic and management changes) and provide food for birds and other predators. However, insect biodiversity may be declining even more rapidly than that of vertebrates and plants. This may have particularly serious consequences for grassland biodiversity and for sustainable agricultural production.


The symposium presents research ranging from mechanisms with wide-ranging application to specific management case studies. The underlying theme is to promote insect conservation and research as an integral part and product of sustainable grassland management.

Invited speakers:
Mike Morris (UK), Alan Stewart (UK), Thomas Sattler (Switzerland), Peter Batáry (Germany), Keith Alexander (UK), Dave Goulson (UK), Nicky Redpath (UK), Jenni Stockan (UK), Stephen Venn (Finland), Norbert Maczey (UK), Juha Pöyry (Finland), Lorna Cole (UK), Nick Littlewood (UK), Sally Hubband (UK), John Dover (UK)

15 Scavengers in a modern world: from top-predators’ subsidies to carrion dumps

Organisers: Nuria Selva & José Antonio Donázar

Carrion is becoming a rare element of European terrestrial ecosystems, in spite of scavenging being a widespread phenomenon and a keystone ecological process. This universal food resource (used by decomposers, insects and vertebrate scavengers) has often been neglected in conservation issues. However, the ecological implications of carrion consumption are complex and numerous. Carcasses may have effects on the surrounding soil and vegetation communities, the diversity of carrion beetles, the population dynamics of obligate scavengers, or the spatial behaviour of facultative scavengers and their life prey. On the other hand, scavengers provide an invaluable service to human societies: carcass and waste disposal.


Historically, top predators, such as wolves and lynx, and natural die-offs of wild ungulates have subsidized carrion-consumers. Additionally, scavengers have been linked for centuries to extensive cattle raising in Europe, especially in the Mediterranean region. More recently, the old tradition to leave livestock carcasses in small carrion dumps have been bringing enormous benefits to the populations of vultures and other birds of prey. But nowadays, top predators are absent from many areas in Europe and ungulate mortality may have been reduced by supplementary feeding practices, quite common during winter in northern latitudes, and disease controls. Thus, natural carrion is becoming scarce. Moreover, the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) crisis led the European Commission to approve regulations and decisions which banned the abandonment of dead livestock on the field and imposed the destruction of animal carcasses. This has had detrimental effects not only on avian scavengers, but also on other species relying on carrion, like the brown bear. Afterwards, some EU Member States were allowed to establish some feeding stations for vultures, under strict controls. But these stations are not the perfect solution and additional problems have appeared. This “hygienic” approach has become a common practice after the BSE crisis and even in natural areas carcasses of wild ungulates start to be treated as risk material too.


Scientific evidence shows that the current management strategy has extremely negative consequences for the wild fauna and that there is an urgent need to improve it. On the other hand, there is a clear incompatibility between these regulations and the EU nature conservation Directives. The goals of this symposium are (1) to highlight the importance of carrion resources, both natural and human-provided, in the functioning of ecosystems and for the conservation of many species, ranging from carrion beetles, to brown bears; and, (2) bring together a multidisciplinary group of experts in the topic to provide recent scientific evidence and discuss the current situation and associated conservation problems. Ideally, the symposium will be followed by a workshop on the same topic.

Invited speakers:
Nuria Selva (Poland), Miha Krofel (Slovenia), Chris Wilmers (USA), John Linnell (Norway), Christopher O'Brien (Canada), Sánchez-Zapata José Antonio (Spain), Ainara Cortes-Avizanda (Spain), Clara Casanovas (Spain)

16 Set-aside: conservation value in a changing agricultural landscape

Organisers: András Báldi & Anikó Kovács & Tony Morris

The aim of the symposium is to give a general picture on set asides (fallow land) in Europe. Originally, fallow was a part of the rotational agriculture for centuries, allowing land to ‘rest’ between periods of cropping. As the human population, demand for food and understanding of rotations and fertiliser use increased, the area and duration of land set aside declined. However, during a period of overproduction in the late C20th, the European Union, through its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), introduced set-aside as a policy tool to decrease production. Initially, this was instigated as a voluntary supply-control measure in 1988 but in 1992 it was made a condition of receiving the new Arable Area Payments. In each year during 1992-2007, a variable percentage (5-15%) of the eligible arable area was put over to set-aside. Although CAP set-aside was not designed as a means of delivering biodiversity benefits, it soon became apparent that it yielded at least some limited value under certain management conditions. Recently, fallow land taken out of agricultural production with the specific aim of delivering conservation benefits has been introduced into agri-environment schemes (AESs) in many European countries. The rationale for inclusion of fallow in AESs is that fields removed from intensive agriculture will improve farmland biodiversity, and will contribute to soil and water protection. For the purposes of this symposium, we define set-aside (and other fallows) as being different from abandonment, in the sense that in set-aside farmers are paid to temporarily halt production in intensive fields (often with a requirement that it is kept in good agricultural condition), while abandonment is the cessation of management of low productivity areas, e.g. lack of grazing in grasslands due to loss of extensive (and loss making) grazing regimes.

Invited speakers:
Teja Tscharntke (Germany), András Báldi (Hungary), Nigel Boatman (UK), Irina Herzon (Finland), Anikó Kovács (Hungary), Mikko Kuussaari (Finland), Rainer Luick (Germany), Tony Morris (UK)

17 The natural range of variability as a guide for sustainable forest management in boreal forests

Organisers: Bengt Gunnar Jonsson

The majority of the land area within the boreal zone is dominated by coniferous forests. Over extensive areas these forests have provided natural resources for the forest industry for the last 100 – 200 years (depending on region). This impact has caused large-scale transformation of the North European forest ecosystems, and as a result, remaining old forests with limited human influence mainly occur as isolated fragments in heavily modified landscapes.


However, in more remote areas, forestry has not yet strongly altered the landscape composition and forest stand structures. Here the structure and dynamics still represent conditions that have played major roles in shaping boreal forest biodiversity. Because a large fraction of forest species are strongly connected to the dynamics of the tree layer (dead wood, deciduous successional stages, burned areas, canopy structure old trees etc.), these areas represent critical sources for information concerning which structures and processes are needed to maintain forest biodiversity. In this context, an analysis of the historical range of variability in key factors (fire frequencies, dead wood volumes, numbers of large trees, etc.) may provide the guidelines necessary for sustainable forest management. The basic assumption is that because boreal species evolved under these conditions, maintaining a range of such conditions reduces the risk of losses to biodiversity.

The natural range of variability (NRV) concept (also referred to as historical range of variability) has been explored in North American forest management. However, to date the concept has received far less attention in European forest management. The aim of the proposed symposia is to present and review the NRV concept and provide examples and case studies from European boreal forests. To this end, we will invite researchers from Canada and/or the USA who have first-hand experience with NRV applications to provide the necessary background to the concept (2 hours). Secondly, we will -- based on our own research network -- provide an overview of the available information from northern Europe that is relevant to the NRV concept (2 hours).


We feel strongly that the proposed symposia would provide an important meeting and discussion point aimed at better understand how the NRV concept can be applied in a European setting. The proposed symposia would also summarize the current state of knowledge, and it would focus future research efforts. Finally, the symposia would inform participating forest and conservation managers on the potential NRV concept as a planning instrument in the search for efficient sustainable forest management. Thus, the symposia fits extremely well with the theme of the Congress – “Conservation biology and beyond: from science to practice"

Since 2007 an international research network, PRIFOR, focusing on the remaining natural forests in northern Europe, has been established. Given the complexity and extent of these forests, it seemed unlikely that major advances would be accomplished by any single research group working in relative isolation; such advances require collaboration among groups working in parallel. Collectively, network members have an enormous amount of expertise and experience in boreal systems. However, when viewed regionally, the research effort in this area appeared to be fragmented. Bringing members together in a structured and active arrangement has created a synergism in research effort, ultimately increasing efficiency and productivity throughout this region. The cooperative benefits have been further strengthened by the national variations in forestry history in a region with the same broad biogeographical history. Thus, representatives of forest types that were lost in some countries have been found in other.

Invited speakers:
Lee Frelich (USA), Shawn Fraver (USA), Nathan L. Stephenson (USA), Marc-André Villard (Canada), Yves Bergeron (Canada), Per Angelstam (Sweden), J rund Rolstad (Norway), Jari Kouki (Finland), Timo Kuuluvainen (Finland), Bengt-Gunnar Jonsson (Sweden)


Special Session:

18 Natura 2000: a successful tool?

Organisers: Policy Committee SCB-ES

IIn the European Union, nature conservation – policy, implementation and research – has been dominated by the provisions of the 1979 Birds Directive (79/409/EWG), the 1992 Habitats Directive (92/43/EWG), and the Natura 2000 network of protected sites, which is based on these directives. Natura 2000 and the requirements listed in the European conservation directives to ensure long term “favourable conservation status” of species and habitat types (e. g. coherence, monitoring) are also a testing ground for an effective interaction of conservation science and implementation (policy, stakeholders, general public).
If properly implemented and managed, the European conservation directives and the Natura 2000 network of protected sites are a milestone for nature conservation in the EU and beyond. They can function as a global model for protection of biodiversity in increasingly human dominated landscapes. However, there are aspects in their implementation that merit objective and scientific evaluation to assess how they can be subsequently improved.  There are new challenges that call for strengthening the network and for additional measures to ensure their resilience and adaptation for the future, especially in the light of climate change.
The Natura 2000 Special Session will be organized by the SCB-ES Policy Committee and is intended to build on the Natura 2000 workshop held during the ECCB2006 in Eger. The symposium will cover a broad range of topics relating to the European directives,explaining basics, revealing strengths and gaps, providing best practice examples and identifying future challenges. The symposium will consist of invited contributions, supplemented by contributed papers. The organizers strive for poster sessions paralleling the key topics to be addressed in the symposium. Slots for discussion will be an integral part of the symposium proposed.

Symposia | Workshops | Traning sessions


Workshops facilitate presentation and application of new concepts, perhaps allowing audience participation and/or round-table discussion for exploration of new or controversial issues. Dates and times will be structured so that they have minimal conflict with paper sessions (evenings and lunchtimes are preferred). All workshops organisers must be registered for the meeting.

Joint European Censuses for Conservation

Organisers: Henk de Vries, Ruud Foppen

Goal: To establish a European platform for NGO’s where census and atlas activities can be joined and discussed

The EBCC (European Bird Census Council) and the BCE (Butterfly Conservation Europe) are both young European organizations with a joint purpose of gathering information about distribution of respectively birds and butterflies.  When these two associations meet, possibly together with other organizations, they can join some of there efforts and thus contribute to measuring biodiversity on a European scale. Other purposes of the proposed workshop are: (1)  to generate support for an European portal for records of observations of fauna and flora. (2) to plan/discuss the opportunity for starting  with the assemblage of data for a new atlas of European breeding birds. (3) to present and discuss ongoing national and international projects contributing to European databases. (4) to get interest from other European associations or organizations with similar objectives to join this platform (5) to establish a network of people from national organizations who want to contribute to European databases.

Invasive species: key priorities for science, policy and practice

Organisers: Helen Bayliss, Nicola Randall

Goals: To identify key priorities for invasive species research across Europe; To identify the factors affecting the use of research on invasive species by policy makers and practitioners; To form new collaborations and networks for future work.

Invasive species are an important global issue due to their ecological and economic impacts. Control, prevention and costs to industry are estimated to run to billions of dollars each year. Many ecosystem services are affected by invasive species, in particular biodiversity, a key policy driver across Europe.  Recently, much work has been carried out to facilitate the sharing and evaluation of current information relating to invasive species in Europe, such as DAISIE and the Biological Invasions module of ALARM. The effects of climate change and other anthropogenic impacts may lead to increasing problems from invasive species as occupiable ranges shift and community dynamics change.

In order to understand, control and mitigate against invasive species during this time of global change, additional information is required. It is important that policy makers, practitioners and researchers are all involved in the process of identifying information needs and shaping the research agenda for invasive species. To be of real value, resulting research evidence must be able to influence policy makers and ultimately conservation practitioners, and its impact be assessed.

Due to the many mainly anthropogenic effects impacting on the global environment, scope for future research on invasive species is wide, and may consider control and monitoring of existing invasives, as well as Identification of, and mitigation against, potential future invasive species. In this workshop we will discuss the key priorities for invasive species research across Europe and whether these are being met through existing research activity. We also aim to identify factors which affect the uptake of research evidence by policy makers and practitioners, whilst providing an informal networking opportunity for anyone with an interest in invasive species.

Scavengers in a modern world: from top-predators’ subsidies to carrion dumps

Organisers: Nuria Selva, José Antonio Donázar

Scientific evidence shows that the current management strategy has extremely negative consequences for the wild fauna and that there is an urgent need to improve it. On the other hand, there is a clear incompatibility between these regulations and the EU nature conservation Directives. The goals of the symposium on the same topic were (1) to highlight the importance of carrion resources, both natural and human-provided, in the functioning of ecosystems and for the conservation of many species, ranging from carrion beetles, to brown bears; and, (2) bring together a multidisciplinary group of experts in the topic to provide recent scientific evidence and discuss the current situation and associated conservation problems. Ideally, the symposium will be followed by a workshop on the same topic. The workshop pretends to (1) examine and discuss in more detail the issues related to the conservation of scavengers and scavenging process; (2) set the basis to establish a working group on scavengers; and, (3) draw out conclusions and formulate conservation measures and proposals for a sensible management of carrion resources in order to inform policy makers. It is important to come out with strong conclusions about European sanitary regulations, which may have very detrimental consequences for biodiversity.

Using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria to assess the extinction risk of species

Organisers: Caroline Pollock

Goal: To improve understanding of the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria and how to apply these criteria to produce good-quality Red List assessments suitable for inclusion in Red Lists at regional (e.g., at Europe, national) or global (i.e., the IUCN Red List) levels.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM is generally considered the most authoritative and objective system for classifying species’ extinction risk at the global level. The IUCN Red List is integral to meeting CBD commitments (e.g. Article 7; Annex 1), particularly for reducing the rate of global biodiversity loss. In addition, biodiversity conservation policies are most often implemented at national (e.g. state, province) and regional (e.g. European Union) levels, and accurate extinction risk assessment at national and regional level is a vital part of this process.
Current approaches to developing national Red Lists vary widely. This hinders comparison between Red Lists and development of robust indicators for measuring progress towards CBD’s biodiversity target (e.g., the Red List Index (RLI) requires at least two comparable and well-documented Red List assessments to give a reliable measure of trends in biodiversity status). Discussions are also underway to adopt the RLI as a biodiversity indicator under the United Nations Millennium Development Goal 7 (MDG7); implementation of this indicator will require more rigorous and standardized national Red Lists than are currently available.
Through an extensive process of workshops, testing and open debate, IUCN has already developed a set of criteria as the foundation for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (IUCN 2001), and guidelines for applying the criteria at regional and national levels (IUCN 2003). The IUCN Red List Unit has over 10 years experience of facilitating Red List training courses around the world; demand for Red List training is increasing as more countries begin to tackle the problem of effectively monitoring and addressing the status of their biodiversity.
By providing this training opportunity at the European Congress of Conservation Biology, we openly invite participants from all countries represented at this meeting to learn how to apply the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria to assess the extinction risk of species in their country and region.

The Zonation conservation prioritization framework and software – Q&A session

Organisers: Atte Moilanen

Goal: To summarize the basic operational principles of the latest version of the Zonation conservation prioritization framework and software. To answer questions concerning any aspects of the software and its operation. Symposia | Workshops | Traning sessions

Training Sessions

Training sessions will provide opportunities for registered delegates to receive expert tuition on a key topic in conservation. Training sessions will be timetabled as pre-congress events and may last up to one full day. All training session organisers must be registered for the meeting.

We offer to participants folowing training courses and training workshops:

Training courses

1) Scientific writing and communication
2) The Zonation conservation prioritization framework and software - hands on
3) Curriculum Design in Conservation Biology
Training workshop

2) Using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria to assess the extinction risk of species

The ECCB does not provide financial support for Symposia, Workshops or Training sessions but is willing to help with applications for funding where possible. In cases where financial assistance will be required, proposers should make it clear how they expect to obtain the necessary funding (e.g. training session fees). 

More information about Training sessions you can find in the following PDF: Training sessions