In 2009, 400 people gathered for a two-day symposium on the challenges facing scientists, environmentalists, and natural resource managers in conserving and managing biodiversity and ecosystems. The National Academy of Sciences released a summary of the symposium in December 2011.

“Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin,” looks at eight key themes that emerged from the event. These include understanding, assessing, protecting, and managing biodiversity and ecosystem function; increasing capacity to inform policy with science; increasing society’s ability to manage and adapt to environmental change; strengthening international institutions and U.S. engagement; and accounting for the value of nature.

“The purpose of the symposium was to capture some of the current excitement and recent progress in scientific understanding of ecosystems, from the microbial to the global level, while also highlighting how improved understanding can be applied to important policy issues that have broad biodiversity and ecosystem effects,” writes Dr. Peter R. Crane, chair of the committee that planned the symposium.

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