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Latest News: Updates from SER

Science, Policy, and Practice Update

Friday, September 18, 2020  
Posted by: Alexis Gibson
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This quarter's Policy, Science, and Practice Update is an excerpt from the August 2020 issue of SERNews.

Here are a few highlights of our progress and engagement to advance the policy, science, and practice of ecological restoration from May through August 2020:


In July, SER became a core partner of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. We were excited to help launch the Strategy for the Decade on September 15 – you can learn more about the Strategy here. As part of the development of the Decade, Jim Hallet (SER Board Chair), Kingsley Dixon (Vice Chair), and Cara Nelson (past Chair) are sitting on the Best Practices Task Force. SER’s Program Manager, Alexis Gibson, will be participating in the Monitoring Task Force. 

George Gann, SER’s International Policy Lead, has been working with IUCN’s Rewilding Thematic Group on an article focused on rewilding principles. SER’s involvement in this process has been critically important in distinguishing rewilding from restoration, and the article has been submitted for peer-review. Cara Nelson is also a co-author and member of this committee. 

SER submitted comments to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity’s open review process for the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Our comments focused on elevating the role of restoration in the post-2020 agenda and promoting a stronger connection between the restoration objectives from the Aichi Targets and the new Global Biodiversity Framework that will follow. SER also pointed out the importance of ensuring that biodiversity’s inherent value is recognized as strongly as the value that biodiversity provides to humans and ecosystem services. 

SER-Europe has been continuing to participate in the consultations related to the developing European Union Biodiversity Strategy, which has the potential to radically increase investment and implementation of ecological restoration in countries of the European Union. 

In June, SER joined the Society for Wetland Scientists and 12 other professional societies in filing two separate Amicus Briefs to oppose the US government’s efforts to reduce protections for wetlands and streams through changes to the Waters of the United States regulations. SER has been supporting SWS in their work on this effort over the last three years. These “friend of the court” briefs allowed our team’s lawyers to provide additional arguments to oppose the proposed rollbacks.



The Science and Policy Committee is thrilled to welcome four new members: Karma Bouazza, Bruce Clarkson, Stephanie Mansourian, and Luiz Moraes. The SPC is finishing the development of its workplan after finalizing a 2020-2030 strategic plan earlier this year.


As of the end of May, the International Principles and Standards for the Practice of Ecological Restoration have been downloaded more than 8,000 times from the Restoration Ecology website, making it the 10th most downloaded article from the journal. It also continues to to be cited in new peer-reviewed scientific literature. We are always looking for more examples of how the Standards are being used, so please keep us informed of your efforts to implement the Standards in your work. In July, Bethanie Walder, SER Executive Director, gave an introduction to the Standards at the US Interagency Ecological Restoration Quality Committee Monthly webinar series. 

In addition to the Chinese translation we released with the Standards in September 2019, the French translation will be available in early September – thank you to our volunteer translators Alice Dubuisson, Julien Lassauque, and Stephen Riviere for making this possible! We continue to work with translators around the globe on Spanish, Portuguese, Ukrainian, Mongolian, Catalan, and German versions; if you are a native speaker and would like to translate the document into another language, please contact


The first companion document to the Standards, the International Principles and Standards for Native Seed in Ecological Restoration, will be available as a special, open access issue in Restoration Ecology on August 26. Developed by the International Network for Seed-based Restoration (INSR), a thematic section of SER, the Seed Standards provide a framework to enable the development of country-specific native seed standards including ethical collecting procedures for wild seed while encouraging the development of native seed farming as a strong driver of rural and regional job creation and investment. Congratulations to INSR for their work putting together this important resource! Check out their launch webinar for more information on how you can use the Seed Standards in your practice. 

We continue to partner with Curtin University (Australia) and the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech, China) to develop the first sector-based companion document to the Standards focused on mining.


The first issue of the Restoration Ecology-Arid Lands thematic series was released in late June. Don't miss out on the the six papers in the first issue and a collection of 25 innovative articles focused on restoration in arid ecosystems - SER members receive complimentary access to Restoration Ecology



SER is partnering with the US National Park Service to deliver a virtual training on ecological restoration of grassland ecosystems in protected areas. The training will be based on the International Standards. Trainers will address issues specific to US mid-Atlantic grassland restoration, seed sourcing, and other topics, while also implementing a virtual field tour and restoration plan development workshop. SER will also partner with the NPS to deliver a similar training in 2021, likely focused on a different ecosystem.

In late August, SER won a new contract to provide introductory and advanced arid land training courses for the US Bureau of Land Management. We are thrilled to be working on this new project and will provided a longer update in the next issue of SERNews.



In 2020, our total number of certified practitioners increased to 480. Many of the new CERPITS were from two international colleges, Cornwall College in England and Niagara College in Canada. There are more ways than ever to keep up with your education as a CERP. There were many Continuing Education courses, workshops, and seminars submitted for credit over the last few months.

The final CERP application window of 2020 opened on August 17th and will close on October 16th. During this time period we will be promoting applications, answering questions from applicants and otherwise supporting those who wish to apply for certification. As part of our new process, applications can be submitted at any time of the year, but applications received after October 16th will be reviewed in the first cycle of 2021.

Big advance thanks to Paul Davis (CERP) for volunteering to update the SER/CERP e-learning course to be consistent with the Second Edition of the Standards. Though the updated course won’t be ready before this application window closes, it should be ready shortly thereafter and will be available as an online course for CERP/CERPIT applicants, and as an on-demand webinar style presentation to anyone who is interested. We look forward to having that available sometime in November.