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SYSTEMS ECOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES TO SUSTAINABILITY II

The conference is cancelled due to lack of interest. September 4, 2017.

 

BIODIVERSITY, ECOLOGICAL COMPLEXITY, ECOSYSTEM SERVICES AND SUSTAINABILITY

May 21 – 27, 2018,  MATEJ BEL UNIVERSITY,  BANSKÁ BYSTRICA,  SLOVAKIA

 

General information and the focus

The first Systems ecological perspectives to sustainability (SYEPS) conference was held in Helsinki, Finland, 24-30 September 2014. It had brought together scientists, including prominent key note speakers, nature conservationists and other thinkers interested in systems ecology and sustainability. The event was much appreciated by its participants and a will to continue with integration of currently important ecological themes and sustainability issues has emerged. This is underlined by a wide systems ecology potential to contribute to solution of growing environmental problems, from local to planetary dimension.

During the three-day presentations of SYEPS II conference, 21-27 May 2018, the participants will obtain the up to-date view of the key concepts and methods of systems ecology approach, and will become acquainted with recent ideas on currently crucial ecological topics. These include especially biodiversity, ecological complexity and integrity and ecosystem services. We will search for their potential to enhance sustainability science, which is currently lagging behind the enormous environmental challenges, such as biodiversity retreat, climate change, various kinds of pollution and other issues. In each block there will be an opportunity to discuss the presented ideas, methodologies and innovative applications.

After the scientific part of the conference there will be an option for field excursions, on 24-25 May. The first day we will visit a primeval forest (nature reserve), a sheep ecological farm and a biosphere reserve Poľana with preserved forest habitats and a unique historical landscape structure. The second day we will visit one of the nearby national parks and walk through the mountain forests and alpine meadows.

Keywords: biodiversity, ecological complexity, ecological integrity, ecosystem evolution, ecosystem services, nature conservation, non-equilibrium thermodynamics, planetary boundaries, sustainability.

 

Background

The significance of systems ecology approach is rising due to multitude of current processes which lead to deterioration of ecosystems, landscapes, regions and even the Earth system as a whole. The external driving forces as are growth of the human population, rise of the consumption, growing social asymetry or anleashed new technologies, which pose a risk to humanity, are rather well known. The less analysed internal drivers (apart from lack of environmental ethics and social integrity) include also unsufficient reflection of the high complexity of living systems around us. This lack of understanding conceals the fact that the richness of biodiversity, supply of ecosystem services and our societies wealth and health cannot exist apart from this complexity, neither apart from the respect of integrity of the whole life on the Earth.

In recent decades emerged new ideas, promising to help us to face the global environmental crisis. One of the most important is the concept of prevailing non-equilibrium states in nature, leading to continuous flow of habitats and the non-equilibrium thermodynamics of living systems, changing our views of ecosystem development and their evolution. Crucial are also the concepts of socio-ecological systems and ecosystem services, derived from a multitude of natural physical, chemical, biological and ecological processes realized in ecosystems.  These concepts are rather well elaborated today, but interlinkages between them have been less analyzed. The aim of the SYEP II conference is to help to bridge this gap and to provide scientists, conservationists, municipalities and NGOs with fresh ideas how to synthethise these new concepts in order to come to sustainable solutions of the problems we face today.