History & Purpose
Recognizing that the ecological problems confronting our society are large and the means of addressing them are not limitless, the founding institutions set up the AERC in 1987 to seek new ways to pool their scientific resources and undertake a comprehensive integration of their current knowledge. The major environmental and natural-resources problems facing the earth - global climatic change, declining biodiversity, spreading surface and groundwater pollution, acid precipitation, desertification, declining fisheries - are ecosystem phenomena. They are so extensive that they can only be addressed on a regional, continental, or global scale, and with a broadly coordinated interdisciplinary focus. Such scales and focus imply the need for extensive communication; and for exchange of views and collaboration on research, training, and policy needs.
The Association seeks to promote that coordination, communication, and collaboration with the following goals:
- Encourage and facilitate communication between scientists on ecosystem research methodology and theory.
- Assist in coordinating research planning between centers and, where feasible, agency programs.
- Promote data compatibility, storage, access, and sharing.
- Encourage and facilitate synthesis across disciplines and geographic scales.
- Support and assist training in ecosystems science.
- Provide recommendations to both legislative and executive branches of government on research and training priorities and emphasis.
- Offer professional council and research findings to both legislative and executive branches of government on environmental and natural-resources policy issues.
- Inform and educate the general public, business leaders, advocacy groups, scientific organizations, and legislative and executive bodies regarding the role of ecosystem science in environmental protection and natural-resources management.