Thursday, August 6, 2009: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
Blrm A, Albuquerque Convention Center
Cristina Rumbaitis del Rio
Fabrice De Clerck
The science of ecology has frequently been excluded from the international development agenda for many reasons. Increasingly, however, there has been a renewed interest in finding more sustainable means of development, grounded in ecological knowledge. For example, EcoAgriculture Partnerships, EcoHealth presented at the 2006 Ecological Society of America, and EcoNutrition proposed by Deckelbaum et al. 2007, seek to integrate ecological knowledge with agriculture, health, and nutrition, respectively. Kareiva et al. (2006, 2008) have also championed this need, highlighting that poverty hotspots, and biodiversity hotspots overlap nearly perfectly when mapped, calling on ecologists to “think outside the reserve” and consider the role that ecology and ecological knowledge can play in the sustainable management of these hotspots. This has been facilitated by the increasing attention given to biodiversity and ecosystem function studies that tremendously changed ecological paradigms which previously viewed species as passive recipients of environmental variation, to newer paradigms stressing the active role that species play in driving ecosystem functions and services. These ecological investigations, coupled with the attention that ecosystem services have garnered in the past decade, have set the stage for ecologists to increasingly consider the role of our science in contexts other than conservation. Ecological functions that have drawn attention include the role of organisms in pollination, pest control, carbon sequestration, and movement of diseases amongst others. More recently, ecological interactions have been found to play important roles at numerous scales, from interactions between bacterial communities in the human gut on nutrition, to landscape scale interactions mitigating the effects of increasingly frequent extreme weather events. These efforts are first steps; however, more attention is needed on the many other ways that ecology can contribute to poverty reduction. The main objective of this symposium is to explore ecological dimensions of poverty alleviation including human health, hunger, economic well-being, gender, disasters, water, sanitation, energy needs, infrastructure development, and livelihood diversification.