The LACA Section proudly hosted ICCB 2017 in Cartagena, Colombia. An event of such magnitude is always a financial and logistical challenge. Traveling to Latin America is not always easy for our students and professional members from other continents, some of them requiring visas, others requiring financial support, so we were particularly happy to see so many participants enjoying the warm hospitality of the Colombian people.
Within Latin America, Colombia stands out as a lesser-known gem in a wide and extraordinary continent. Historical and geographical factors have always made Colombia a very special place. Its rich and distinct cultural heritage allowed the creation of a true melting-pot. So are its impressive landscapes, from the Andes to coastal ecosystems: achingly beautiful forests, wetlands, mangroves, savannas, reef communities, and peaceful and welcoming people. Today, Colombia’s leadership in conservation is a fine example to follow for the rest of Latin America.
At ICCB in Cartagena, priority issues on biodiversity and natural resources management were discussed. It was great to see so many enthusiastic young people, students, researchers and conservation practitioners from all over the World. The LACA Section believes in regional integration and in networking, not only because ecosystems and species know no human-made boundaries, but also because in today’s global realm, there is no other way to put conservation at work. Besides, SCB is not only about meetings and science; it is also about commitment and friendship, and ICCB offered the opportunity to build fortunate long-lasting professional relationships and friendships.
This meeting was successful because there was a true spirit of integration and participation in discussions, and many participants took advantage of the networking opportunities that ICCB 2017 offered. Conservation biologists can help build a strong biodiversity ethic by supporting science that better integrates the public into the process of understanding human impacts on biodiversity. At ICCB 2017 we were part of a deep reflection on what has been achieved so far, and together we unveiled parts of the solutions to be implemented.
The LACA Section would like to acknowledge and thank all our partners, and the many amazing people from the different committees that volunteered priceless hours, days and nights, as well as our wonderful colleagues at the SCB Executive Office, for making possible such a meaningful event.
See you in Malaysia 2019!
LACA workshop on transboundary and connectivity conservation at ICCB
At ICCB 2017, the LACA Section organized the workshop. There is increasing evidence of changes in the historical patterns of species distribution and phenology. Expansion of the human environment through urbanization and its associated infrastructure and other anthropogenic factors such as biogeochemical contamination and armed conflict has further compromised diversity and ecosystem resilience. The result has been an increase in population isolation that can reduce the capacity of species to adapt to subsequent environmental change. With such drastic and widespread changes, the coordination of conservation efforts across political boundaries is critical to increase the resilience of species and ecosystems. Throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, there is a need to devise coordinated, socially resilient, network-based approaches to stem or reverse the loss of biodiversity across connected ecosystems. During the workshop, the LACA Section shared experiences about collaboration across borders and at regional levels in Latin America and the Caribbean (Guyana Shield, Mexico-United States of America, Gran Chaco Ecoregion, Nicaragua-Costa Rica), in order to develop more effective approaches to common conservation challenges.
LACA Section Members Meeting in Cartagena
The LACA Section Members Meeting in Cartagena was well attended, with a little over 100 participants. The LACA Section is currently formed by 919 Members from 45 countries, with 330 Members from the USA and 173 from Colombia. The high number of members from outside the LACA region shows how strong our ties and connections with countries from other regions are. Spirits at the Members Meeting were high and long-time friendships were renovated or established. The Colombia Chapter and the Southern Cone Chapters were created before ICCB 2017, while Peru, Chile and Paraguay are considering establishing Chapters of their own. In 2017, LACA has focused most of its efforts in developing a bid to host its very first Section Meeting, LACA 2018 – Rainforest to Reef: Strenghtening Conservation Connections between the Caribbean and the Americas, at the University of West Indies, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago in July 2018, and many Members offered their help for our first regional conference.
Hope to see you all in Trinidad for LACA's 2018 meeting and in Malaysia for ICCB 2019!