Concurrent Session Abstracts

The following sessions will occur from 1:15 PM to 2:45 PM

A - Wildlife Conservation in a Global Environment:
Challenges & Successes

As the world grows more connected through fast and accessible technology, international conservation work more easily transcends cultural and political boundaries. Yet at the same time, many wildlife conservation efforts happen in local communities with limited access to 21st century tools or social networks. Through this session, preeminent speakers from the field will explore how wildlife conservation is practiced in a virtual age; what's different about the social dimensions of local wildlife conservation in a global world; and where international conservation is headed in the next 50 years. Through each of these questions, speakers will delve into challenges and successes of international conservation efforts.

Session moderated and organized by Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development graduate students (Professor and Chair, Janet Silbernagel):
Jamie Hogberg (Moderator), Sarah Wilkins (Facilitator), Brittany Murphy (Room organizer), Ming (Doris) Hua, Matthew Axler, Paula Henriquez, Mary Dinsmore (Session support)


B - Primate Behavior and Conservation:
A Look at Our Closest Relatives in a Rapidly Changing World

This session will explore the behavior and conservation of several primate species, including orangutans, cotton-top tamarins and northern muriqui monkeys. Panelists will describe their field research from the forests of Borneo to southeastern Brazil, as well as detailed studies of behavior and breeding to support the conservation of endangered species.


C - Species and Ecosystem Responses to Novel Future Climates:
Lessons and Legacies from the Past

How will species and communities respond to 21st-century climates that are likely to be quite different than any experienced in our recent past? How will the trajectory of 21st-century ecosystems be shaped by past human land use and other historical legacies? In this session, we discuss how the study of historical and geological systems is addressing a fundamental problem in climate adaptation science: managing novel ecosystems and planning for a no-analog future.


D - Nature and Money:
Harnessing Capitalism to Restore Ecosystems

The phrase "ecosystems services" is a term of art that encompasses all of the natural processes that serve humankind directly or indirectly. In the context of this panel, the term refers to approximately 20 specific services that can be linked to specific human needs such as clean water, pollination, fertilization and biodiversity, where those needs might also be met by other, more artificial and expensive means. Natural systems provide these same services for free. Some have estimated the value of these free services to be in excess of $1 trillion annually. If the health of nature and natural ecosystems declines, the quality and quantity and value of the ecosystems services provided by nature declines and costs to humans increase.

Clean water, for instance, can be created mechanically. The cost becomes a proxy for establishing the value of corollary systems found in nature, such as wetlands. When wetlands can be shown to produce clean water that is, in quantity and quality, similar to water that is cleaned mechanically, we can assign a monetary value to these heretofore "worthless" tracts of natural land.

Once we have placed a monetary value on any commodity, the forces of capitalism will generally find a way to make it fungible and tradable. This is happening widely across the United States and other parts of the world and has the potential to radically change the dynamics of preservation and restoration of healthy ecosystems.


E - One Planet Living:
Building Bridges from the City, County and Campus

Speakers will address sustainability activities in Madison and Dane County, including educational programs, metrics and a campus metabolism project. This session will not center on a quantification of our footprint, but rather a review of sustainability activities and challenges from city, county and university perspectives.


F - Satellites and Simulation Models:
A SAGE Look at Science in the Real World

Cutting-edge environmental science requires technical expertise, attention to detail and sharp focus on the research question. How can scientists compete in such a setting and produce results that support effective environmental policies? Investigators from the Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) will share their perspectives on this question, based on experience in such diverse fields as atmospheric chemistry, agriculture, urban expansion, public health, energy policy, climate science and land use change. A series of brief presentations will be followed by discussion.


G - Cultural Ecology:
Using and Conserving Knowledge of the Natural World

Local people, including indigenous peoples, often possess deep and long-standing knowledge of ecosystems. Conserving this local knowledge for the future is important, but so is utilizing it in order to make better management decisions at present. This session explores examples of cultural ecology in Africa, Southeast Asia, South America and Wisconsin.


H - Wisconsin Ideas:
A Creative Look at Graduate Research in the Nelson Institute

A selection of graduate students will offer a unique look at their research and discuss the challenges and rewards of interdisciplinary work, with an emphasis on novel questions, creative methods, and the engagement of communities beyond the UW campus. Fellow learners of all ages are encouraged to attend and contribute to this discussion.


I - Ready for Its Close-Up:
Nature on Film and the Camera's Role in Conservation

The history of film is inextricably linked with our relationships with nature. From ethnographic re-enactments and the safari adventure films of the early 1900s to wildlife television shows helmed by Jacques Cousteau and Marlin Perkins in the 1950s and '60s to today's documentary series like Nature and Planet Earth, visions of the wild have long been mainstays of cinema that have awed audiences around the world. Over the years, people have sought to capture this interest and direct it toward conservation advocacy. But what happens when goals of education and policy collide with the demands of entertainment and storytelling? This session will discuss the problems and possibilities of film as a tool for conservation, including clips from selected environmental films.