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The Next Hundred Years of Ecology

November 4, 2013

Research & Collections

By Meg Lowman

Teach your children well.
— Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

The year 2013 marks the 100th birthday of the British Ecological Society (BES), so the International Congress of Ecology recently met in London to mark this auspicious occasion. Like many scientific professionals, ecologists reluctantly come away from their field sites or computer screens to exchange expertise on new tools, best practices and future priorities. But centennial conferences are once-in-a-lifetime events. What were the concerns of 3,000-plus global ecologists, as they spent a week discussing priorities for the next 100 years?

In her keynote address, BES president Georgina Mace, professor at University College of London, summarized the changing links between humans and their environments, explaining how past generations focused solely on preserving species and beautiful landscapes.

Only more recently are ecologists beginning to view conservation with an economic lens, defining the dollar values of fresh water, minerals, plant-based…

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