In accordance with our mission, SEI provides numerous services to the private sector, other non-profit organizations, government agencies, and the general public on both a fee-based and pro bono basis. The Institute will gladly work with any organization which is sincerely interested in finding cooperative, science-based solutions to environmental problems.
What is the best method for monitoring an endangered species? How can a particular action's impacts upon their population be detected? What is the current status of research on reserve design? For land owners, managers, and conservation practitioners, these can be critical, daunting questions, but scientists can frequently address such issues with experience and expertise. SEI functions as a resource that groups can turn to for impartial and clear advice, knowledge, and guidance. The Institute acts as both a link and buffer, connecting concerned parties with scientific experts while ensuring that scientific input is gathered effectively, impartially, and in ways that do not overburden a few already overworked biologists.
Everyday, hundreds of decisions are made that affect biodiversity and natural resources - usually without scientific advice. In response to the widespread demand for scientific review and independent scientific involvement in planning, SEI has initiated a peer review program for conservation science. Scientific peer review is recognized as the most powerful means of ensuring that conservation and natural resource decisions are science-based. Independent and impartial review ensures such plans have the best possible chance of achieving their goals. SEI provides peer review and organizes advisory panels for many issues and organizations. The Institute has enlisted 200 top scientists to respond to this pressing need. SEI acts as coordinator and moderator in these situations, and maintains the integrity of the science. We provide reviews that are fair, professional, and practical.
SEI scientists are actively engaged in research addressing basic ecological and environmental problems across the globe. From optimal survey methodology and marine reserve design to population viability analyses and field studies on the biology of endangered species, the Institute identifies critical research needs and addresses them in cooperation with academic, government, and private sector partners. Additionally, SEI works with individuals and groups to carry out research and analyses aimed at answering specific questions of relevance to particular resource management or conservation situations. The Institute's findings (or those of its scientists) are frequently published in reports, books, conferences, and peer reviewed, scientific journal articles. For more information on SEI's research, see the summary of our Programs.
The boundary where science is translated
into action is often fraught with misunderstandings as two cultures,
those of the scientist and the decision maker, come together.
Scientists are trained to think in terms of probability rather
than absolute certainties, and may frequently be viewed as hedging
or being deliberately obtuse when decision makers, who must take
some sort of action, require clear information. In order to
ensure that conservation and management decisions receive a solid
scientific foundation, scientists need training in communicating
their knowledge to decision makers. SEI provides this training,
working primarily through workshops
and symposia at major scientific conferences, but also through
internships and graduate student education.
© 2000 Sustainable Ecosystems