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Embracing Nature's Complexity:

How to communicate the value of water- and climate-regulating ecosystems

A cross-fertilizing international meeting of scientists and science communicators

updated PROGRAM

Organizers: the Biotic Pump Greening Group in collaboration with the Focus Group “Drought mitigation through ecosystem restoration: Challenges and opportunities” of the Institute for Advanced Study, Technical University of Munich

Time: April 9-14, 2024

Location: Technical University of Munich, Institute for Advanced Study, Garching

Throughout history, human interaction with ecosystems has been dominated by local needs and visions. It is only with the development of modern science and technology and unprecedented global consciousness of humanity as a species and society that it became possible to begin quantifying the planetary significance of the ecosystems’ stabilizing impact on the environment and climate as well as their role in shaping what we are. These processes are incredibly complex and their understanding is increasingly challenging as the area occupied by natural ecosystems continues to shrink.

The climate problem is very much about water transport and cloud formation, both of which are strongly influenced by how healthy the vegetation cover is. This plays a huge role in weather patterns and weather extremes, in particular, floods and droughts. The conference will bring together scientists and science communicators seeking for synergies in global strategies of wild nature preservation and climate stabilization. They will be overcoming the traditional separations among different disciplines and exchanging new evidence on how human activities on land affect rain, clouds, climate, and our overall well-being.

Heavily exploited biological systems like modern industrial agriculture are unsustainable and contribute to climate destabilization. This now common knowledge drives global movement for nature rehabilitation that takes different forms in different corners of the world. Meanwhile, it is far less appreciated that their protagonists – natural ecosystems under minimal human pressure – are self-sustainable (thrive without human intervention!) and actively contribute to climate stabilization.

How to enhance the global movement for nature preservation with new scientific arguments? How to ensure a paradigm shift in our appreciation of the importance of natural ecosystems? It is urgent! Simply stopping the ongoing destruction of the remaining global wilderness areas can slow down climate destabilization. International protection of these ecosystems and ambitious investigations to understand them, are key for preserving human identity both as a biological species and as a highly-developed ethically and intellectually competent society.

Confirmed speakers (some talk titles are preliminary):

Susan Masino, the Vernon Roosa Professor of Applied Science (Neuroscience and Psychology) at Trinity College and Charles Bullard Fellow at Harvard Forest, co-author of the Proforestation Concept USA

Proforestation for Global Wellbeing: What, Where, and Why

Antonio Donato Nobre, Ecohydrologist, Biotic Pump Greening Group, popularizer of the Flying Rivers and promoter of the Biotic Pump, worked for INPA (Amazon) and INPE (Space) research Institutes in Brazil.

Forests, Water and Energy: The Lessons from the Amazon

Dayana Andrade and Felipe Pasini, Biotic Pump Greening Group, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Champions of Syntropic Restoration

Respecting principles of natural ecological succession in restoring productivity and resilience of healthy food production: Lessons from an experimental polygon in Southern Italy

Paulo Nobre, Biotic Pump Greening Group, Center for Weather Forecast and Climate Studies, National Institute for Space Research, Brazil

Amazon savannization and climate change are projected to increase dry season length and temperature extremes over Brazil

Dmitry Grummo, Director, Institute of Experimental Botany named after V.F. Kuprevich, National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Minsk, Belarus

Białowieża, the Largest Primeval Forest in Western Europe: Climatic Functions and Preservation Strategies in Belarus

Charles “Chuck” Pezeshki, Professor and Director of Industrial Design, School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Washington State University, and Forest Preservation Champion (led a successful campaign to protect crucial parts of the Clearwater National Forest from logging) USA

How do we understand ecosystems, ourselves and our planetary perspective? Insights from an information-theoretic approach

Judith Schwartz, Independent Science Journalist,  Vermont, USA

Water Is A Verb: Bringing Water-Climate Connections to Life

Ugo Bardi, Professor of physical chemistry, University of Florence and the Club of Rome, Italy

What is the ideal concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere? An examination of the atmospheric chemistry from the viewpoint of optimizing the biosphere's metabolism

Erica Gies, Author of  "Water Always Wins" Independent Science journalist, National Geographic Explorer, Rachel Carson award for Excellence in Environmental Journalism, University of Victoria Southam Lecturer, Falling Walls Science Breakthrough of the Year finalist Canada

Growing the water narrative to protect life and enhance human resilience

Jan Pokorny, Scientific Director ENKI, Czech Republic, co-author of “The New Water Paradigm”

Role of water and vegetation in distribution of solar energy and local climate: examples of measured data from Czechia and East Africa

Rachel Donald, Independent Science Journalist, Host, Planet: Critical; Co-Host:  London, United Kingdom

Anti-Violent Nature

Michael Kellet, Co-Founder and Executive Director, RESTORE: The North Woods, Massachusets, USA

Forest clearing to create early-successional habitats: Questionable benefits, significant costs

Andrei Nefiodov, Focus Group “Drought mitigation through ecosystem restoration: Challenges and opportunities” TUM-IAS, Munich, Germany; Biotic Pump Greening Group; Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia

Value theory and sustainability in the context of biotic regulation concept

Anna Kirilenko, Chair, Global Forest Coalition, BIOM, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Regional importance of global nature preservation and biotic regulation of the environment: the case of Central Asia

Juan Fernando Salazar, Professor, University of Antioquia, Colombia

Biotic regulation in the land-atmosphere reservoir of large river basins

Kwami Dodzi Kpondzo, Africa Regional Focal Point and Extractive Industries, Tourism and Infrastructures Campaign Coordinator, Global Forest Coalition, Togo

Culture and community forest conservation in Africa

Francis Hallé, botanist and biologist, Professor Emeritus of the University of Montpellier, France

Restoring Primeval Forest in Western Europe

Shuli Chen, Saleska Lab, University of Arizona, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, USA


Scott Saleska, Professor, University of Arizona, Ecology &  Evolutionary Biology, USA

Tanvi Mishra, University of Debrecen, Hungary

Environmental Metamodernism and the Embrace of Complexity for Global Environmental Challenges

Germán Poveda, Professor, Department of Geosciences and Environment, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia

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