Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability

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The Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability (EICES, pronounced /ˈsz/), formerly known as the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC), consists of two institutions located at Columbia University. The first is an Earth Institute, which was begun as the first Earth Institute in 1995. The second is the Secretariat for the Consortium for Environmental Research and Conservation, a collaboration between the Earth Institute, the American Museum of Natural History, the New York Botanical Garden, The Wildlife Conservation Society and EcoHealth Alliance on biodiversity conservation.

EICES primary goal is protecting biodiversity and ecosystems. The Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability is "dedicated to the development of a rich, robust and vibrant world within which we can secure a sustainable future."

EICES is headquartered at the Earth Institute, Columbia University. This location facilitates multidisciplinary work within the university and with external collaborators.

EICES is also responsive to the non-science community, providing training and education through the application of understandable, robust conservation science.

Research[edit]

EICES facilitates the development of research programs between its consortium members: the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), Columbia University, the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and EcoHealth Alliance. Some activities are consortium-wide, representing all the institutions, while others can involve just two or three consortium partners. Collectively, the consortium’s research covers the globe with programs in over 60 countries.

Throughout EICES’s 18-year history, consortium researchers, volunteers, interns, students, faculty and staff have been involved in:

  • Finding new species of plants and animals in biodiversity hotspots
  • Mapping the movement of wildlife and zoonotic diseases that pass from animals to humans
  • Studying the evolution of primate behavior
  • Examining how forests respond to disturbance
  • Studying ecosystem processes and ecosystem services like carbon storage by tropical trees and grasslands
  • Understanding how to develop participatory conservation programs
  • Working on the restoration of damaged habitats
  • Exploring models for sustainable development through a balance of good economics, governance and conservation

In addition to research activities and projects, EICES adjunct faculty and research scientists adjunct scientists teach science courses in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology (E3B) and in the EICES Certificate Program in Conservation and Environmental Sustainability. All instructors are faculty and staff at consortium institutions and the consortium often provides research opportunities for Columbia’s undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. students, especially those in E3B.

Education and training[edit]

The Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability (EICES) brings together five renowned scientific, academic and cultural institutions: Columbia University, American Museum of Natural History, New York Botanical Garden, Wildlife Conservation Society and EcoHealth Alliance (formerly known as Wildlife Trust). Since its inception in 1994, EICES’s ambitious educational agenda has evolved in response to the emergent issues of environmental and ecological sustainability. Programs encompass graduate, undergraduate and K-12 levels, as well as those for private and public sector executives and citizens interested in environmental sustainability. The overarching goal of EICES’s education programs is to ensure that research informs what we teach in the classroom.

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