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SER's Statement on Ecological Restoration in the Current Political Climate

Thursday, February 9, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Bethanie Walder
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Dear Members,

With members spread throughout seventy countries across the world, the Society for Ecological Restoration focuses our policy and advocacy efforts on international opportunities—engaging with, for example, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, and other such bodies. Our international policy work has a tangible/significant impact in guiding and informing national-level policy around the world, but we rarely, if ever, engage in specific national policies and issues in any one country.

The current political shift in the United States, where a large number of our members reside, compels us to engage in U.S. federal issues to promote and defend the importance of sound science, and specifically sound ecological science as a basis for policy decisions. This is not only because so many of our members live within the U.S., but because actions taken by the U.S. have such a disproportionate impact internationally, and SER is an international society. We are disturbed and dismayed by the steps the Trump Administration has already taken to stifle scientific discussion within the federal government, and to dismiss the reality of climate change. We are concerned about the effect this Administration’s actions could have on SER’s ability to advance our mission.

Ecological restoration provides solutions to some of the most intractable ecological challenges facing the planet. It is a critical tool for combating climate change and reducing the ecological and social impacts of humans’ past actions. It provides opportunities to improve the quality and delivery of clean water and clean air for people the world over. Ecological restoration also creates and maintains real jobs, at all skill levels. The promise of ecological restoration is extraordinary, but that promise cannot be realized without political support and certainly not without the free exchange of scientific knowledge and data.

We recognize that many of our members’ work and research may be negatively impacted if even a few of the pledges of the Trump Administration are realized. We will not sit idly by. Though SER has a small staff and minimal capacity to engage in policy activities at any federal level, we will partner with other advocates and organizations to defend scientific integrity and international scientific collaboration; to fight for continued investment in science-based conservation and restoration; to support the use of sound science in policy-making; to address climate change; and to ensure that ecological restoration remains a viable and important tool in the US and beyond.

We know that many challenges lie ahead, but so too do many opportunities. We are proud to be able to represent our members’ interests and the field of ecological restoration in general, both within the U.S. and internationally.

SER is a global organization, and we have a long history of acting globally. Over the next several years, we will also act locally as appropriate to help limit the negative ecological impact of the current U.S. Administration both here and abroad. We encourage our members to do the same.

On behalf of the Board and Staff of SER,

 Bethanie Walder
 Executive Director
 Al Unwin
 Board Chair