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Posted by: Cain Blythe - CEnv MIEMA MIEEM MSc BSc (Hons) on 08/11/2012

Cain Blythe recently chaired a session at the 8th European Conference on Ecological Restoration in the Czech Republic. As the name of the conference suggests this is an important event that looks at the development of ecological restoration across Europe, both in terms of the scientific development of the restoration process but also the practical application and engagement with various public bodies. A good example of this is the European Union Biodiversity Strategy that has set the target of increasing the restoration of degraded ecosystems by at least 15% before 2020.

We were responsible for chairing “Parallel Session XV: The Science and Near Natural Restoration IV”. Talks for this included the one I chaired entitled “Assessment of the mitigation for the Cardiff Bay Barrage” but also included discussions about near natural stablisation using woody debris (Michael Marcus from the United States), restoring biogeochemistry via artificial flooding  (Camiel Aggenbach of the Netherlands) and slow vegetation change in restored coastal meadows (Kaire Lanno from Estonia).

As you will see from the abstract (still available online) we looked at the problems facing Cardiff Bay after its protected area for birdlife was flooded. We looked at a number of variables to determine the success of a habitat creation scheme, including site conservation value, evenness and the biomass of each individual bird species.

Overall I would say the event was positive and I hope it will raise more awareness of ecological issues, both in the Czech Republic and Europe as a whole.

The Czech Republic was chosen in order to increase awareness in this area. Restoration is described as “still being an academic practise” and criticising the low turn-out of key decision makers such as politicians and sponsors.

As well as an excellent conference there were also a number of fascinating social excursions as well, including the world famous Budweis factory. Included in the registration fee was a classical concert at the Monastery Church of the Sacrifice of Virgin Mary and visits to local ancient settlements.

However while these additional excursions proved fascinating the talks about ecology were the reason we were here. Examples of these included Richard Hobbs’ talk “Novel eco systems, invasive species and restoration: a slippery slope or common ground?” and perhaps appropriately given the location Norbert Hoelzel gave a talk entitled “Restoration at large scale: Eurasian steppe eco systems in the post Soviet era”.

Part of the problem with these conferences is that there are a number of talks available. On Tuesday there were a number of “parallel sessions” taking place covering topics as diverse as restoring river valleys in the Belgian Ardennes, moss cover re-establishment in Estonia and ecological sustainable  implementation of the Nature Diversity Act.

Categories: Biodiversity Research
Tags: Ecological Consultant | Ecological Restoration | Restoration Ecology
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