A while back the ‘new’ IALE-IUFRO Working Group website launched, so I thought I’d highlight it here. During the IALE World Congress 2007 in Wageningen, a new IALE-IUFRO working group was approved and sanctioned by both IALE (International Association of Landscape Ecology) and IUFRO (International Union of Forestry Research Organizations):

Forestry was the first major field to recognize the importance of landscape ecology, and today foresters widely know, use, and even develop landscape ecology principles based on experience and science. Landscape ecology is an exciting field for researchers and managers together. In this sense, landscape ecology is viewed as the nexus of ecology, resource management, and land use planning. It is within this framework of synergy and integration that we envisaged this formal link between the two groups.

Thus, the IALE-IUFRO WG aims to collate landscape ecologists with an interest in forest science and ecology including studies and methods for monitoring, planning, designing, and managing forest ecosystems and landscapes. Through the website, members of IALE-IUFRO WG will be able to exchange experiences and share common needs and interests to build up on the strength of the network. This group can serve as an international platform for advocating and updating research and management on forest landscapes.


There’s been some moving and shaking on my friends’ websites recently (see the full list in the sidebar), so here’s a quick update.

Nicky has added some new t-shirts and hoodies for sale at Creative Current. For the discerning geek… “There are 10 types of people in the world, those who know binary and those who don’t”.

Dom Daher has updated his website and added some of his award-winning extreme sports photos as slideshows. Check the new slideshow at 20millimetre too.

Jamie and Helen and are still on the road but they’ve stopped off in Kyrgyzstan for a while where they’ve been volunteering for The Alpine Fund, “a small, non-profit, non-governmental organization using the incredible mountain resources of Kyrgyzstan to help the country’s most vulnerable youth.” Jamie worked on setting up their fancy new website and blog.

Olivia has still been doing her musical thing – watch out for her on the circuit in London and check out some of her tunes at myspace. Finally, travelorphan has been offline for a while but I’m assured she’ll be back to blogging soon enough…

Oekologie #8

Welcome to the 8th issue of Oekologie, the travelling blog carnival of the best ecology and environmental science blog posts from the past month. Although the summer is often the time that ecologists and environmental scientists are out in the field doing what they love most (fieldwork) this didn’t stop some of us from posting stories that grabbed our attention.

Several of posts this month discussed the ecology of mammals, some more positive than others. Talking about Yellowstone’s Ecology of Fear, Jeremy at The Voltage Gate highlighted the benefits of the re-introduction of wolves to the National Park and that the restoration of historic ecosystems is possible. GrrlScientist notes that the egg-laying mammal Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna (named after Sir David Attenborough) is not extinct as was previously thought, and Tim at Walking the Berkshires emphasised the successes of the Khoadi Hôas Conservancy in Namibia for the conservation of elephant populations. Though problems remain, Tim suggests that it is possible for humans and elephants to exist side-by-side. In a great post over at Laelaps, Brian is less optimistic however about the management and survival prospects for the Saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica).

More concerned with the The Other 95%, Kevin discusses the benefits for crabs moulting their exoskeleton (other than simply allowing them to grow). Concerning the plant world, Jennifer at The Infinite Sphere presents the invasive Purple Loosestrife and the trade-offs associated with controlling the plants with herbicides, and at Seeds Aside Laurent suggests a game for the next time you’re strolling through a meadow.

Lorne at Geek Counterpoint presents a review of the Storm World by Chris Mooney, pointing out the social aspects of the scientific study of the climate and hurricanes;

“Mooney also takes a long, critical look at how scientists communicate (or don’t) to the public, and how the media handles what information they can get their hands on.”

Finally, considering some of the larger issues, Mike at 10,000 Birds examines the ecological basis for conservation. Part of a larger series called Protect the Commons, he highlights the need to remember the fragile connections between things and to understand that “all is of a part”

That’s it for this month – check Oekologie #9 at Fish Feet next month. Remember to submit your best posts here.

Fuel Efficient Collaboration

In a current thread on the <a href="
https://listserv.umd.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A0=ecolog-l&#8221; target=”_blank” class=”regular”>ECOLOG-L listserv there’s a debate going on about the environmental impacts of academics travelling to conferences in far-off places to discuss the environmental state of the world (the current case being this week’s ESA conference in San Jose). On correspondent suggested we might be better off taking better advantage of the internet and teleconferencing, as suggested by E.O. Wilson. Several people have responded noting the virtues of physically attending meetings including the opportunities to meet face-to-face with potential collaborators, funders and students and to see presentations of data that may not be published for a couple of years hence.

Another correspondent suggested that delegates consider the form of transport they take to reach the meeting – trains are commonly held as being more fuel efficient than planes for example. This led me to the Fuel Efficiency in Transportation page on the ubiquitous wikipedia. Assuming this page is correct, it suggests that generally;

  1. Cycling (653 mpg) is more efficient than walking (235 mpg)
  2. European trains (500 mpg) are considerably more fuel efficient than planes (67 mpg)
  3. Planes (67 mpg) are actually more fuel efficient than the average US car (36 mpg), but less efficient than a hyprid such as the Toyota Prius (77 mpg)
  4. Travel by the average US car (36 mpg) is of comparable efficiency to travel on an Amtrak intercity train (39 mpg)
  5. Travel by Steamboat (12 mpg) or Helicopter (4 mpg) is only for those who don’t give a jot about carbon emissions

Here mpg = miles per gallon of gasoline, and these are rough comparisons for the average occupancy of the vehicle which don’t really consider things like the distance travelled. There are many other considerations that need to be taken in these comparisons as James Strickland shows in his examination of the numbers.

Of course, the problem with this discussion is that the two most important factors that people consider when deciding how to travel are not accounted for: Time and Money. Flying internationally (and in many cases on short-haul too) is, in general, more efficient in both time and money than travelling by train (though some would say less fun). I can see currently that the advantages mentioned above for attending a conference in person do make it preferable to teleconferencing or online conferences. Maybe if ecologists really want to be environmentally friendly when meeting to discuss how the natural environment works they’ll need to go that one step further and embrace meetings in virtual words such as Second Life. Businesses are now experimenting with virtual spaces where remote workers come together to collaborate, and whilst it may take time to perfect and get used to this way of ‘meeting’ it seems like an option for the future. Whilst ESA 2007 is held in sunny a San Jose, maybe ESA 2010 be held in a sunny simulated city…

One year of meandering, One award

Today is the first anniversary of Direction not Destination, a year since I wrote this. Since then I’ve relocated from the OC to East Lansing with few other trips for work (Poland, Spain, USA), and otherwise (India, Dorset), in between. I was offered a couple of jobs, awarded a PhD and generally the good times have outweighed the bad.

Initially I didn’t really know how this blog would turn out or what I would do with it. It seems to have become a place for me to write some thoughts with a little more freedom than I’m afforded with work stuff, a place to keep track of what I am actually doing at work, a place to post some of my favourite pics, and of course at place just to have a quick rant every-now-and-then.

I’ve contributed to Just Science Week and Oekologie and generally some people seem to be finding my meandering thoughts interesting. So much so that recently I was awarded a Thinking Blogger Award! What a nice birthday pressie. Thanks to Jeremy at the Voltage Gate for the nod. Having been awarded this it is now upon my shoulders to nominate the five blogs that make me think. To be honest, and as I implied in the other post I made a year ago, I don’t go checking other individuals’ blogs directly that often. Instead, I usually stick to my favourite blog aggregator 3quarks and the Guardian’s excellent Comment is Free. Anyway, here are my five:

  1. 3quarksdaily“a daily must-read for intellectuals of all stripes”
  2. Prometheus – mainly for the havoc Roger Pielke Jr causes – he’s now blogging for Nature
  3. Resilience Science – overseen by Garry Peterson at McGill University
  4. Ecological Economics – a variety of authors from several disciplines
  5. World Changing – building the future ourselves

Here to the next year’s meanderings!



Call for submissions to Oekologie August 2007

I’m a little behind but there’s still no harm in advertising that Oekologie #7 is up at The Evangelical Ecologist.

Oekologie #8 will be hosted right here on Direction not Destination in mid-August. Submit your recent writings on ecology and environmental science here. Here’s the details of what we’re looking for from the Oekologie home page:

Oekologie is a blog carnival all about interactions between organisms in a system. While Circus of the Spineless might look for a post discussing the hunting techniques of a trap door spider, Oekologie is looking for posts discussing how a trap door spider’s hunting techniques affect prey populations or its surroundings. While Carnival of the Green might look for a post discussing a big oil policy decision regarding ANWR, Oekologie would accept a post describing the ecological consequences of pipeline construction in the area.

Again, we are looking for posts describing biological interactions – human or nonhuman – with the environment.

Topics may include but are not limited to posts about population genetics, niche/neutral theory, sustainabilty, pollution, climate change, disturbance, exploitation, mutualism, ecosystem structure and composition, molecular ecology, evolutionary ecology, energy usage (by humans or within biological systems, succession, landscape ecology, nutrient cycling, biodiversity, agriculture, waste management, etc. The list goes on and on; I think you get the idea.

Your blog does not have to be an ecology or environmental blog itself, but the post should present an accurate representation of the field.

The post should be spell-checked, grammatically sound, and substantial; we’re not looking for brief reviews. If you are reviewing research, please include solid commentary involving other sources.

Initial Michigan UP Ecological Economic Modelling Webpage

We now have a very basic webpage online, (very) briefly outlining the Michigan UP Ecological-Economic Modeling project. This is just so that we have an online presence for now – in time we will develop this into a much more comprehensive document detailing the model, its construction and use. Hopefully, at some point in the future we’ll also mount a version of the model online. I’ll keep you posted on the online development of the project.