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Capacity building

ecoSERVICES has been involved in the development of research capacity in developing countries and among young scientists. In particular, from 2007 to 2011, BESTNet was a key project for achieving this. More.

ecoSERVICES also supported international research and research training in cooperation with the Advancing Conservation in a Social Context (ACSC) programme.

In 2009, in the context of Charles Darwin Anniversary, ecoSERVICES participated to the "Darwin symposium" on science and policy to present the recent progress in scientific understanding of ecosystems, from the microbial to the global level, while also highlighting how improved understanding can be applied to important policy issues that have broad biodiversity and ecosystem effects. More


BESTNet: A Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Training Network

BESTNet was a US-NSF-funded project that ran through the ecoSERVICES IPO at Arizona State University from 2007 to 2011. BESTNet was instrumental in implementing many research and training activities in ecoSERVICES  as well as supporting collaborative activities between ecoSERVICES and bioSUSTAINABILITY, bioGENESIS, agroBIODIVERSITY, freshwaterBIODIVERISTY, and ecoHEALTH.

A major goal of BESTNet was the generation of policy-relevant science. It focused on the interactions between biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, and the production of ecosystem services, by addressing three goals:

  • Developing international and interdisciplinary research on biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being,
  • Linking the results of this research to relevant international policy initiatives, and
  • Training young US researchers in interdisciplinary biodiversity science.


Focus: BESTNet's capacity development for young scientists

BESTNet trained young researchers interested in the interdependence between biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, ecosystem services, economic, technical and institutional change at the global scale. It engaged research students in a set of research networking and research training activities. All BESTNet research workshops had a Research Training element. A number of BESTNet workshops were held alongside relevant international conferences, including the DIVERSITAS Open Science Conference in Cape Town (OSC2, Oct 2009), the World Congress of Environmental and Resource Economists (AERE) in Montreal (June 2010), and the conference by A Community on Ecosystem Services (ACES) in Phoenix (Dec 2010). Students/post-docs were funded both to attend the Conference and to participate in the workshop. They were also given the opportunity to participate in follow-up collaborative research activities.


BESTNet coordinator

Charles Perrings, Arizona State University, USA



... on:

  • Urban ecosystem services (2010): More
  • Invasive pests, pathogens and decision-making (2010): More
  • Targets and indicators through an ecosystem service lens (2010): More
  • Agricultural transformation and invasive species in disease emergence (2008): More
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes (2008): More
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem services of sustainable freshwaters (2008): More
  • The economics and ecology of biological invasions (2007): More
  • The economics of ecosystem services (2007): More


Research workshop: Biodiversity information and community-based use of natural resources, 11-18 Jun 2009, Mexico City and Iztlan, Mexico


The main objective of the workshop was to present and examine global and national strategies to improve biodiversity conservation worldwide using Mexico’s conservation efforts as a model. The workshop was instructed by both Mexican and American experts in biodiversity, information technology, and other specialised fields. It exposed participants to the challenges and opportunities of interacting with researchers and students from other cultures, and analysed the ways in which academic institutions and rural, indigenous institutions are undertaking the challenge of sustainably managing their biological resources. The two experiences were CONABIO and the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City, and the Indian communities of Iztlan and Santa Cruz Tepetotla, near the city of Oaxaca.



Building the ecosystem services community

Symposium on the Science and Policy for Managing the Living World Tow Centuries After Darwin, 21st century ecosystems: Systemic risk and the public good, 11- 12 Feb 2009, Washington DC, USA

ecoSERVICES supported the US National Committee for DIVERSITAS and the National Academy of Sciences in the organisation of the Twenty-first Century Ecosystems: Systemic Risk and the Public Good by conveying the "Darwin Symposium".

The purpose of the symposium was to capture some of the current excitement and recent progress in scientific understanding of ecosystems, from the microbial to the global level, while also highlighting how improved understanding can be applied to important policy issues that have broad biodiversity and ecosystem effects. The aim was to help inform new policy approaches that could satisfy human needs while also maintaining the integrity of the goods and services provided by biodiversity and ecosystems over both the short and the long terms.

A report, Twenty-first Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin, was prepared by the Workshop Organising Committee to summarise the views expressed by symposium participants under eight key themes that emerged from the lectures. The focus in the report is on general principles rather than specifics. The eight themes provide a sharp focus on a few concepts that enable scientists, environmental NGOs, and policy makers to engage more effectively around issues of central importance for biodiversity and ecosystem management.



  • Committee for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: A Symposium, U.S. National Committee for DIVERSITAS and National Research Council. 2011. Twenty-First Century Ecosystems: Managing the Living World Two Centuries After Darwin. The National Academies Press (free pdf here)

And see videos of the lectures from the symposium.

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