Oulu the Capital of Northern Scandinavia, Finland will host the 2014 9th European Conference of the Society for Ecological Restoration.
My first participation in SER meetings was the 8th European SER Conference in 2012 in České Budějovice in the Czech Republic. I had just begun working as Coordinator of the BirdLife-HeidelbergCement partnership and had very little insight into the restoration of quarries and mining sites. SER2012 was an eye opener for me.
I had gained some practical experience of species conservation projects in former quarries and gravel pits. I had also met a few researchers and students working in the field of ecological restoration, some of them participants in the first edition of the HeidelbergCement Quarry Life Award. But the SER Conference was my first thorough exposure to the academic world of restoration ecology. I was fascinated by the top quality presentations on a wide range of topics: from the cost effectiveness and biodiversity advantages of spontaneous (natural) restoration of surface coal mines, to the dilemmas posed by invasive species and novel ecosystems and the ecological dimensions of large scale socio-economic shifts in countries like Kazakhstan and many more fascinating topics.
Since then I have been involved more closely with ecological restoration in partnership with the industry, helping them to work closely with conservation NGOs and ecologists, being exposed to their sometimes diverging views and priorities.
That is why I am going to SER2014 full of expectations. I know that in addition to scientific and conservation sides there are also economics and management decisions underpinning ecological restoration projects. From family businesses to EU policy implementation, informed decisions are key to successful restoration. Most of all I am eager to establish useful contacts and to build a network of experts for our programme of restoration projects.
And finally, I am looking forward to welcome new supporters and followers for this blog.
Stay in touch during SER2014 and its rich Programme; by following it on Twitter at @SER2014Oulu, through this blog and our Twitter @restore_nature.