Ecological Restoration
Vol. 23 Number 3

Restoration at Different Scales

If you are like me, you are probably engaged in restoration at many different scales. There will be some days when I am focused on restoring the interstitial habitat between gravel in a trout stream and there will be other days when I am contemplating potential climate change effects to a tidal marsh in the Chesapeake Bay. Working at these different scales provides me with both a sense of context in which to view these seemingly disparate pieces and it also provides me with just the right intellectual stimulation to always keep things interesting.

I have also come to realize the importance of scale regarding the governance of SER International. On one level, SER International is reaching out around the globe. Our partnership with the World Conservation Union is providing us with the opportunity to support, promote and advance ecological restoration to degraded ecosystems throughout the world. The Global Restoration Network, a web based portal being developed by SER headquarters, will reach out to the four corners of the earth, providing people with access to information and resources they would otherwise never have had an opportunity to obtain. While ‘thinking’ on a global scale is essential when tackling ecological restoration initiatives, it is ‘acting’ on the local scale that really makes the difference.

Take Dr. Narayan Desai, a long time SER member who has been working tirelessly, most of the time with little funding, to advance the practice of ecological restoration throughout India. At every opportunity, Narayan has been promoting the use of SER International’s Primer and Guidelines, supporting efforts to initiate restoration projects, and facilitating training and classes in ecological restoration. Recently, Dr. Andre Clewell, former SER International Chair, spent a very successful month in India traveling with Narayan throughout the Country addressing over 1,100 people through lectures and workshops on a variety of ecological restoration topics. Narayan and Andre are making a difference where it counts, on a local level, interacting one-on-one with local communities. It is people like Narayan and Andre, and I suspect like you, that are the real backbone of the ecological restoration movement.

While SER International may be reaching out on global level, we have not forgotten that it is the local level that ultimately supports and sustains the organization. In recognition of acting locally, thinking globally, the SER International Board is going through a process of rethinking its governance structure. At the recent biannual Board meeting in Miami this past March, the Board passed some sweeping governance reform measures that I believe will greatly facilitate our ability to offer memberships (an access to essential ecological restoration resources) to a much wider constituency, strengthen our relationships with chapters, and to provide mechanisms for government agencies and non-government organizations to become affiliated with SER International.

As of now, chapters may recruit members that do not need to be SER International members. Starting in 2006, these members will automatically be enrolled as “Associate Members” of SER International, but will be ineligible to vote in elections. SER International will provide an electronic copy of SER News to these members. The Board approved a new Board position of Chapter Representative who will be selected by the chapters at a chapter caucus during our next conference in Zaragoza, Spain this September. In 2006 we will change SER International’s membership structure to a tiered structure with more benefits the more you pay, along with discounts for students, retirees and those residing in developing countries. We hope this will give everyone more opportunities to join at a level that is right to them, while allowing anyone to “step up” their membership commitment at any time. We are planning a series of visits to chapter leaders and/or a chapter summit to further explain these initiatives, to solicit feedback and to work out the details of a stronger, more mutual and beneficial relationship.

I believe that SER International is establishing a solid foundation for future growth on an international perspective, while staying true to our roots and strengthening our relationship, services and support to our members, chapters and now, affiliates. If you are like me, working at different scales can be a challenge, but it also can be very exhilarating and rewarding. Think globally, act locally!

Keith Bowers, Chair
Society for Ecological Restoration International

Further Reading

Meet Assistant Construction Project Team Leader Bryan Sullivan
Meet Conservation Biologist Nolan Schillerstrom
Get to know Allyson Gibson, Biohabitats Extern
Get to Know Graphic Designer Joey Marshall
Evolution: A New Leadership Team for Biohabitats

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