Next Talk in Plant Restoration Series at Yale University Will Focus on Beneficial Fires in the Southwest

The next speaker in the semester-long Distinguished Lecturer lunchtime series at Yale University, titled “The Restoration Agenda: Focus on Plants,” is Donald A. Falk, executive director of the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER), and a respected voice in the conservation and restoration of biological diversity. His talk on Wednesday, Feb. 24, is titled “Restoring Fires to Southwestern Forests” regarding the beneficial impact of naturally occurring fires for spurring new growth.

These weekly talks at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (F&ES) are from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Bowers Auditorium at Sage Hall, 205 Prospect St. The public is invited. Bring a brownbag lunch for the discussion following the talk. For registration information, contact Aimlee D. Laderman, Ph.D., lecturer in wetland ecology and research affiliate at the F&ES, telephone 432-3335, or e-mail

Following his undergraduate degree from Oberlin College, Falk pursued graduate coursework in environmental policy at Tufts University. He co-founded and directed from 1984 to 1993 the Center for Plant Conservation, the first national organization dedicated to protecting endangered native plant species. The society now works with a network of botanical gardens and arboreta nationwide to collect and maintain rare species.

The Society for Ecological Restoration was formed in 1988 and has become the pre-eminent organization dedicated to advancing the science and art of restoring damaged ecosystems. The Society’s membership, including practitioners, agency staff, academic ecologists, and the general public, is international with chapters in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Collectively, SER and its 2,500 members constitute the primary authority on the restoration of damaged and altered ecosystems. The Society publishes the two main journals in the restoration field: Restoration & Management Notes, an informal arena for reports on work in progress and professional comment, and Restoration Ecology, the first peer-reviewed scientific journal on the subject.

Falk has co-edited two books: “Genetics and Conservation of Rare Plants” ( Oxford University Press, with K.E. Holsinger), and “Restoring Diversity” (with C. Millar and M. Olwell, Island Press). He has authored more than 50 technical articles and reviews .

In 1991, Falk was awarded a Fullbright Short-term Scholar Award to assist in the establishment of the Australian Network for Plant Conservation. In that year, he was also elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In 1996, he was awarded the Conservation Scholars Award from the Pinchot Institute for Conservation.

This is the fourth year for the Yale School of Forestry “Restoration Agenda” lecture series. Co-sponsored by the Society for Ecological Restoration and the New Haven Land Trust, the lectures are designed to be of particular value to people involved in all aspects of natural resource management.

Lunchtime discussions following the talks provide an informal forum to encourage interaction among community members, government officials, and Yale students and faculty. With additional support from the Watershed Fund of the Regional Water Authority and Roots Inc., the lectures present state-of-the-art perspectives on the prevention and repair of environmental degradation.

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