About the Conference
SER's 6th World Conference on Ecological Restoration takes place in Manchester, England from 23rd - 27th August 2015. Building on recent successful World Conferences and regional meetings such as SER Europe's 2014 conference in Finland, SER2015 aims to be the major restoration event of the year and to attract a mix of both academics and practitioners from the public, private and nonprofit sectors.
The conference will bring together delegates from around the world to explore the role of ecological restoration as a means of responding to current and future causes of environmental degradation and as a tool for addressing the myriad 21st century challenges we face – environmental, economic and social. The 4-day scientific program will feature world-renowned keynote and plenary speakers, thought-provoking symposia, pre-conference training courses, field trips, and a range of concurrent sessions.
The conference theme is: Towards Resilient Ecosystems: Restoring the Urban, the Rural and the Wild. This theme is intended to facilitate a dynamic exchange of knowledge, ideas, and perspectives among colleagues working in highly urbanized areas, ex-agricultural sites, and natural (“wild”) environments, or environments approaching that end of the spectrum. SER2015 will deliver the theme of resilience through four key strands – science, culture, arts and education – which, together, help encourage an expanded approach to restoration ecology that integrates quantitative, qualitative and creative forms of research and practice. In this way, the conference theme and its applications will provide for a rich and truly international set of opportunities for robust debate, social discourse and creative interaction to deepen our knowledge and expand the field of ecological restoration.
The Host City
As one of the homes of the Industrial Revolution, Manchester is a fitting venue to host the SER2015 conference and, particularly, to explore the theme of resilience. Situated at the heart of the United Kingdom, Manchester is close to a wide range of natural and semi-natural habitats, many of which have been impacted by climate and environmental change and are the subject of long-term, innovative management intervention to restore them to their past glory. In addition, the need to address past industrial impacts on both urban and rural landscapes has led to a full range of minor and major works to restore, reclaim and enhance brownfield sites, river networks, industrial and domestic waste tips, quarries, and former agricultural land.
It is perhaps fitting that, as the first post-industrial city, Manchester has become a model and source of groundbreaking examples of contemporary urban ecological restoration for other cities looking to re-invent themselves following the decline of industry, such as Detroit, Toronto, Barcelona and Berlin. Manchester and its institutions (including the conference center and universities) all embrace the principles of sustainability through their practices and educational initiatives, and the city is looking beyond low-carbon targets to a plan for zero-carbon – an ambitious objective that, although not easy, is meeting with progress nonetheless. This was the first city to build zero-carbon homes, and its universities lead zero-carbon initiatives. In fact, Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), the principal conference partner, has been identified as the UK’s greenest university, attaining the number one spot in the People and Planet Green League Table for 2013 (out of 140 universities). The recent World Symposium on Sustainability in Higher Education hosted at MMU attracted colleagues from 31 countries, and the resulting discussions will feature in at least three collected editions published by Springer.
The city is proud of its green and blue infrastructure and proximity to major areas of countryside. For example the Croal Irwell Regional Park extends from the centre of Manchester out to the West Pennine Moors through central Salford, Bury and Bolton up the Croal and Irwell river valleys. Manchester is surrounded by National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Nature Reserves (NNRs), Sites of Special Scientific Interest, a large stretch of Heritage Coastline, etc. (see Table 1).
The conference field trips will take in several such areas and there will be pre- and post-conference opportunities for delegates to travel further afield to explore other fascinating landscapes.
COUNTRYSIDE AREAS OF NOTE SURROUNDING MANCHESTER (Table 1)
|NATIONAL PARKS||AREAS OF OUSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY||OTHER DESIGNATIONS|
|The Peak District||Arnside and Silverdale||St Bees Head Heritage Coast|
|Snowdonia||Forest of Bowland||Rostherne Mere NNR|
|The Yorkshire Dales||Nidderdale||Kinder Scout NNR|
|The North York M0oors||Cannock Chase||Ribble Estuary NNR|
|The Lake District||North Pennines||Ainsdale Estuary NNR|
|Shropshire Hills||Cabin Hill NNR|
Manchester itself also offers plenty to see and do. The city center has a wide array of pedestrian-friendly public space dominated by Victorian architecture, and offers a free bus service, Metroshuttle, with three circular routes covering all of the main areas within the city’s core. Whether you want to explore the bustling streets, enjoy the local art galleries, theatres, restaurants and pubs, or visit the home of the Manchester United or City Football Clubs, Manchester's rich cultural and historical offerings present a range of exciting and engaging options for social activity.
The Conference Venue
The conference venue is Manchester Central Convention Complex: formerly the city’s central railway station where an iconic Grade-II listed building houses modern conference and exhibition space. Manchester Central is committed to minimising its impact on the environment, and was one of the first major UK conference venues to achieve ISO 20121 Event Sustainability.
SER 2015 at Manchester already has an impressive group of partners from Marketing Manchester, the Manchester Metropolitan University, Landlife and The National Wildflower Centre, to organisations such as The Institution of Environmental Sciences and the Chartered institute of Water and Environmental Management, and of course the SER Board and SER Europe.
SER2015 conference partners include Marketing Manchester, the Manchester Metropolitan University, Landlife, the National Wildflower Centre, the Institution of Environmental Sciences, the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management, and the European Chapter of SER.