Biodiversity loss and other forms of environmental degradation stem from cultural and social causes that must be combined with scientific perspectives to achieve effective conservation and more sustainable land use practices. Leading social and environmental scientists now promote the development of interdisciplinary approaches addressing complex eco-social problems. Interdisciplinary fields such as ecological economics and restoration ecology have generated concepts such as “ecosystem goods and services” and “ecosystem health and rehabilitation,” stimulating scientific research, policy development, and conservation strategies.
The March 2007 workshop seeks to promote a similar type of interface between the ecological sciences and environmental ethics. Such interface is particularly needed for helping policy makers and the public understand how scientific knowledge relates to ethical and societal values.
This workshop consists of ten days of research and collaboration in two locations: 1) on Chiloé Island, southern Chile (42°S), March 15-18, 2007, and 2) on a vessel and at Puerto Natales (52°S) visiting salient examples of forest ecosystems, March 19-24, 2007. Part one of the workshop on Chiloé will consist of 60-100 participants; part two of the workshop will consist of 25-30 participants.
The workshop will bring together leading environmental scientists and environmental ethicists from the US, Chile, and other Latin American countries. This workshop will focus on the challenges faced by the increasingly threatened frontier ecosystems in temperate, southern South America. The ecological and social setting of these ecosystems raise critical issues about the complexity of social-ecological systems as well as ethical obligations of local, regional, and global society towards remaining frontier ecosystems. Key foreign collaborators for this workshop are Dr. Mary Kalin of the Chilean Millennium Institute for Ecology and Biodiversity (IEB), and Dr. Juan Armesto of the Catholic University of Chile.
The aims of the workshop are to 1) generate a workable scientific and societal definition of “ecological frontier,” and 2) clarify the question of how this definition can help inform conservation strategies, policy making, and land use options in the frontier ecosystems of southwestern Chile and other regions.