Asheville, North Carolina, is a nationally known destination for arts and entertainment, outdoor recreation, and world-class food and beverages. In recent years, the city has landed on multiple “top ten” lists as a best place to live, play, and retire.
With this recognition comes rapid change — a flourishing tourism industry and an influx of new residents leading to increased development and associated economic and ecological pressures in the city and surrounding areas.
These shifting dynamics will provide a fitting backdrop when Asheville hosts landscape ecologists who will examine the theme of “Landscape Change” during the annual meeting of the U.S. Regional Association of the International Association for Landscape Ecology (US-IALE) next spring, organized by the U.S. Forest Service Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center.
“We’re thrilled to organize the annual US-IALE meeting, which has not been held in the eastern United States since 2012,” says Bill Hargrove, a research ecologist with the Eastern Threat Center and co-chair of the meeting’s organizing committee. “With the simple theme of ‘Landscape Change,’ we’ll strive to capture the defining characteristic and the inherent nature of our modern world. We’ll discuss the challenges of many aspects of landscape change, and we expect to discover new opportunities for studying these challenges and collaborations to address them.” The meeting will take place April 3-7, 2016.
The field of landscape ecology includes a range of subjects studied at large scales, and the meeting’s program will reflect this variety. Presentations and discussions during 22 special symposia and 32 contributed sessions will cover topics such as family forests, climate change, bioenergy, invasive species, phenology, pollination ecology, infectious disease, amphibians, data mining, and much more. Half- and full-day workshops will provide attendees with hands-on training from peer experts, a poster session will allow for sharing and dialogue in a less formal setting, and scientific excursions will offer unique ways to explore issues associated with landscape change in and around Asheville.
The program will also include a workshop and other activities designed just for students — an essential component of US-IALE membership. “US-IALE recognizes the importance of the next generation and puts them front and center,” says Eastern Threat Center research ecologist and meeting co-chair Kurt Riitters, who also served as the president of US-IALE from 2012 to 2014. US-IALE honors its student base with awards for outstanding presentations and travel offsets and events for networking with landscape ecology professionals. “The US-IALE annual meeting is an ideal opportunity to broaden one’s perspective and make new connections – to deliver on the promise of ecology as an interdisciplinary science,” says Riitters.
Make plans now: “Early bird” registration for conference attendees and presenters is due February 15. Overnight accommodations at the conference hotel are available for a discounted group rate through March 11. For more information and the latest program updates, visit the meeting website or contact the organizing committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.