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International Affairs Committee


Business
SRM INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE ANNUAL MEETING
Sunday, February 6, 2005 1-5 pm
Mustang Room, Fort Worth Plaza Hotel, Fort Worth, TX

2005 Co-chairs:
Maria Fernandez-Gimenez (gimenez@cnr.colostate.edu; 970-491-0409) term (2004-05)
Poncho Ortega (alfonso.ortega@tamuk.edu, (361)-593-5001) term (2005-06)

Attending members and visitors:
Maria Fernandez-Gimenez (Colorado State University), Don Bedunah (U. Montana), Barry Irving (U. of Alberta), Bob Budd (The Nature Conservancy), Herman Garcia (NRCS Colorado), Emily Hollister (Texas A & M grad student), Ben Wu (Texas A&M), Feng Liu (Texas A&M), Andres Cibils (New Mexico State University), Austin Sewell (Oklahoma State University grad student), Jim O'Rourke (IRC Continuing Committee), Guodong Han (Inner Mongolia Agricultural University), Changyou Li (Inner Mongolia Agricultural University), Junsheng Wang (Inner Mongolia Agricultural University), Ricardo Mata-Gonzales (MWH, Fort Collins), Poncho Ortega (Texas A&M Kingsville), Ibrahim Yilmaz (Yuzunce Yil University, Turkey), Joe Wagner (BLM Lakeview, OR)

Board members: Jeff Mosley, Board Representative

The 2004 minutes were read and accepted.

Bob Budd suggested that the IAC be more aggressive in emphasizing sharing information among countries as an objective. He mentioned that the SRM is exploring the possibility of arranging a country-wide site license to provide electronic access to the society's journals to China, which would enable all Chinese scientists to have free access to these publications. This may be something that could be replicated in other developing nations.

2008 IRC/IGC; 2011 IRC
Jim O'Rourke provided an update on the plans for the joint IRC/IGC in 2008 in Huhhot, Inner Mongolia, PRC. In July 2004 Vivian Allen of the IGC and Jim O'Rourke of the IRC attended Chinese Grassland Society's annual meeting in Huhhot. They went on several field trips that served as samples of potential mid-congress tours and were favorably impressed. The Chinese planning committee has submitted its 1st 6-month progress report and has identified individuals in charge of specific topics. Their next task is to set timelines. They need to publish a brochure by July 2005 because July is IGC in Dublin. Vivian Allen is stepping down from her role as chair of the IGC in Dublin and her replacement will work with Jim on the Huhhot meeting. The Chinese organizing committee will also be traveling to Washington DC and Rome for fundraising in fall 05 or spring 06. The date for the 2008 meeting has not yet been finalized, but it will likely be in June or July 2008, before the August Olympic Games in Beijing. Jim suggested that the IAC can be helpful by providing suggestions or ideas to the IRC organizers.

Bids are also being received for the 2011 IRC, and there has been initial interest from Mexico and Argentina.

2005 Symposium and Proceedings
Poncho Ortega reported on this year's symposium. Eleven invited speakers representing 11 US-Mexico collaborations will be making presentation. Poncho raised $5,000 for publication of the proceedings, which he hopes will take the form of an edited book to be published and distributed by SRM. He suggests that any proceeds from publication sales be directed back to the IAC. Mort Kothman suggested Poncho talk to Sam Aldrich about this possibility. Don Bedunah pointed out that we also need to talk with and get support from the Publications Committee and possibly the Science and Education Committee on this matter. Bob Budd suggested that the idea go to the publications committee, Keith Owens (managing editor of REM) and the Rangeland Ecology and Management Committee, which provides scientific review for all SRM publications. He thought that if the proceedings had already had one level of peer review they probably would not need an extensive re-review by the committee. Bob also suggested discussing the cost with Alliance Publications.

There was some discussion about possibilities of having a special issue of REM instead of a proceedings, since it was thought by some members that a journal issue would have greater impact than a book. Poncho pointed out that the committee would not receive any financial benefit in this case, whereas the proceeds from a book could be directed back to the committee.

Bob Budd suggested that REM have a special international issue every year and thought that the committee should not assume that it wouldn't generate revenues. Ben Wu pointed out that REM in the past has published supplemental issues in addition to the regular issues.

Poncho Ortega announced that there will be a meeting immediately following the symposium in the same room to try to revive the Mexico section of the SRM.

2004 Symposium Proceedings
Don Bedunah reported that the 2004 symposium proceedings will be published as a USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station General Technical Report.

2006 Symposium Proposal
Ben Wu distributed a proposed agenda for a 2006 symposium proposal entitled "Grasslands in Northern China: Ecology and Contemporary Issues." Due to funding and political issues the proposal was scaled back to focus on grasslands of northern China and Inner Mongolia specifically. The Chinese Academy of Sciences has agreed to co-sponsor the symposium and provide the travel for their speakers. Ben is exploring the possibility of having a special issue of REM as a product of the symposium. Maria Fernandez-Gimenez suggested that an associated poster session could be used to help broaden the focus and enable more people to participate. Bob Budd also suggested that there is no need to limit the symposium to one day. He suggested that it would be good to include more papers related to management options and the sociopolitical context of Chinese grasslands, as well as basic "tell me about the system" papers. Jim O'Rourke suggested that one talk could promote the 2008 IRC. Bob Budd suggested that this symposium be widely advertised using university list serves. Ben Wu suggested that we might consider organizing a related special session for "tell me about the system" papers and promotion of the 2008 IRC.

IAC Website
Our IAC website was the example and will be ready later this week. Ann suggested that most pages have a welcome. We can put any sort of content we would like on the site. Keeping it up to date is the challenge-Ann can send regular reminders to our website contact. Andres Cibils agreed to serve as our IAC webmaster for the next year, with assistance from Don Bedunah. We will send Andres content and links, such as other webpages of other rangeland societies around the world. The web address is: rangelands.org/internationalaffairs. Ann's email is: ann@coveoregon.com.

Future Symposia
We discussed possible future symposium topics, especially a potential symposium for the Reno, NV meeting in 2007. Andres Cibils mentioned that we had previously discussed a symposium focused broadly on Latin America or perhaps Latin American and Spain. Maria mentioned that Reno might be an appropriate venue for this theme since there is a strong Basque presence in Nevada. Andres Cibils agreed to work with Maria Fernandez-Gimenez and Ricardo Mata-Gonzales on this idea.

Range Curricula
An objective from the 2004 meeting was to learn more about existing rangeland ecology and management curricula in other countries and identify how SRM might assist interested countries or universities in developing curricula and possibly offer accreditation to programs in other countries. Andres Cibils reported on his discussions with some Argentinian universities. Universities in Argentina are funded by the federal government, which accredits the programs. No Argentine universities offer range majors at the undergraduate level. There are undergraduate majors with an emphasis in natural resources, with 2 programs specifically in new universities in the more arid areas. Andresdecided with Miguel Brizuela was to wait and see before further pursuing discussions of accreditation. There was interest in using SRM as a tool to improve their programs. We discussed consulting/coordinating with the Range Science Education Council on this project. Ricardo Mata-Gonzalez asked if the Argentinian rangeland society was "on board" with this effort.

Membership Committee
We discussed the proposals 1) to offer reduced cost memberships and subscriptions to developing country members, and 2) to give regular SRM members the opportunity to contribute extra funds via a "check-off" on the membership form designated to support developing-country memberships. Jeff Mosley said we should make this an action item for the board in our board report. Board approval is needed to spend SRM funds or issue a policy statement that would affect SRM policy. The IAC committee would need to work with the Membership and Publications committees to work out the details of implementing these measures.

Interaction with Other Rangeland Groups/Societies
The Argentine rangelands society (Asociacion Argentina para el Manejo de Pastizales Naturales) are not currently interested in being a chapter of SRM, but they are interested in keeping in contact. They are considering a bid for the 2011 IRC.

Board Liaison
Jeff Mosley will be our SRM board liason for the next 3 years. He encourages the IAC not to hold back on good ideas, even if we think funding from the board is unlikely. It will be helpful to emphasize in our request how our proposals can help to increase international participation.

Other Items
Barry Irving pointed out that some of the current SRM materials have a USA bias. For example the poster display at the 2005 meeting showed a map of the USA and did not identify Canada or Mexico as SRM sections.

Don Bedunah suggested that the IAC needs to develop a strong vision statement. Don said his vision is to make SRM a truly international society.

Discussion of Request to SRM Board
We discussed our request for actions and funds to the SRM Board. Our main requests for 2005 in order of priority are:

  1. Provide $1,000 for the publication and distribution of the Spanish-language SRM briefing paper.
  2. Provide a voluntary check-off on membership and annual meeting registration forms to enable members to make an additional contribution in support of developing-country memberships and travel to SRM meetings.
  3. Sponsor 2 travel fellowships for developing country rangeland professionals to attend the annual SRM meeting each year ($1000 each).
  4. Waive annual meeting registration fees for 11 invited IAC symposium speakers who are not already SRM members. (Note, in 2006 there will be 11 invited Chinese speakers in the symposium.)
  5. Reduce subscription and membership rates for developing-country members.
  6. Provide country site-licenses to electronic versions of SRM publications.
  7. If funding is not available for 1 and 3 above, please include these items on SRM's "Special Projects" list to enable individual sections to support them if they wish.

Andres Cibils mentioned that the Jornada Experimental Range is doing a symposium on working across the border. ARS Jornada might be a good potential source of funding for the Spanish-language flier.

Jeff Mosley said that we should know by Friday February 11 whether our requests will be funded.

Action Items for 2005

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