Scientists are well aware of the importance of ecosystems to national security. These connections are often less well appreciated by policymakers. Thus, on 18 October 2012, the Association of Ecosystem Research Centers (AERC), an AIBS member organization, conducted a science briefing for policymakers. The congressional briefing provided an opportunity for scientists to share timely information about the importance of ecosystem services to national security. The AERC briefing is held annually in conjunction with the organization’s scientific meeting in Washington, DC.
Dr. David Smith, AERC president and professor at the University of Virginia, moderated the one-hour science briefing. Dr. Howard Passell of Sandia National Laboratory made the connection between ecosystem resilience and stability in the developing world. Dr. Molly Brown of NASA described methods to assess food security using remote sensing. Dr. Paolo D’Odorico of University of Virginia addressed water availability in light of global trade. Dr. Richard Ostfeld of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies spoke about connections between biodiversity and human risk for infectious disease. Dr. Avner Vengosh of Duke University addressed the environmental impacts of energy production.
After the briefing in the Rayburn House Office Building, the group moved down the National Mall to the Smithsonian Ripley Center, where AERC convened a half-day scientific symposium and reception. The symposium was videotaped, and the video has been posted on the AERC website (http://www.ecosystemresearch.org/2012-meeting/index.htm).
As a member organization of AIBS and a contributor to the AIBS Public Policy Office, AERC received planning and logistical assistance for the congressional briefing from AIBS. For more information about AERC, please visit http://www.ecosystemresearch.org/. For more information about the AIBS Public Policy Office and its services for AIBS members and contributing societies, please visit http://www.aibs.org/public-policy/.
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