Mark Nelson — Vice-Chair of Sub-Commission F4 — Natural and artificial ecosystems

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  • p rofessor Kazuo Shiokawa is an associate professor of the Solar- Terrestrial Environment Laboratory at Nagoya University, Japan, working in the Ionospheric and Magnetospheric Environment Division. His field is the physics of the upper atmosphere including auroral phenomena. He is Vice-Chair of Sub-Commission C 1, which is concerned with the Earth's upper atmosphere and ionosphere. Mark Nelson - V ice-Chai r of Sub- Commiss ion F4 - Natural and Art i f ic ial Ecosystems D r Mark Nelson was a founding director of the Institute of Ecotechnics and has worked for several decades in closed ecological system research, ecological engineering, the restoration of damaged ecosystems, desert agriculture and 'orchardry', and wastewater recycling. He is Chairman and CEO of the Institute of Ecotechnics (www.ecotechnics.edu), a UK non-profit organization, which acts in a consultative capacity to several demonstration projects working in challenging biomes around the world. He is also Vice-Chairman of Global Ecotechnics Corp. and head of Wastewater Gardens International. Working with the Planetary Coral Reef Foundation, a division of the Biosphere Foundation (www.biospherefoundation.org), Mark has helped pioneer a new ecological approach to sewage treatment 'Wastewater Gardens®' which are constructed subsurface flow wetlands; over 90 such systems have been created in Mexico, Bali & Sulawesi, Indonesia, Western Australia, Spain, Poland, the Bahamas, the Philippines and the United States since 1996 (www.wastewatergardens.com). He has served as Director of Space and Environmental Applications for Space Biospheres Ventures, which created and operated Biosphere 2, the 3.15 acre (ca. 1.28 hectares) materially-closed facility near Tucson, Arizona, the world's first laboratory for global ecology (www.biospheres.com). Mark was a member of the eight person 'biospherian' crew for the first two-year closure experiment (1991-1993). His research inside included litterfall and decomposition in the tropical biomes, population dynamics and biomass increase, fodder production in the sustainable high-production agricultural system, and the constructed wetland sewage treatment system. m - - ____ . J Beginning in the 1970s, Dr Nelson worked in the high desert grassland south of Santa Fe, New Mexico where he made hundreds of tons of compost, planted over a thousand fruit and wind-break trees, creating an oasis in previously overgrazed and eroded country. Since 1978, he has worked in the semi-arid tropical savannah of West Australia where he helped start Savannah Systems P/L a project centred on the pasture regeneration and enrichment of a 5000 acre (2023 hectare) property in the Kimberley region. 96
  • His publications include the co- authored Life Under Glass and Space Biospheres, as well as numerous chapters in books on space life support systems; he also edited Biological Life Support Technologies: Commercial Opportunities. Dr Nelson was a contributing editor of the journal, Life Support and Biosphere Science from 1993-2002, Vice- Chairman for the F4.1 session on Closed Ecological Systems at COSPAR's Beijing ASssembly and a guest editor on the topic for Advances in Space Research. Mark' s educational background includes a PhD in Environmental Engineering Sciences from the University of Florida, and an MS from the School of Renewable Natural Resources, University of Arizona. He was awarded the Yuri Gagarin Jubilee Medal in 1993 for outstanding service to international cooperation in space and the environment by the Russian Cosmonautics Federation and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 2001. Voice of the Young Generation: Beijing Experiences [Report by Mariano Mendez] S everal of us have been to the COSPAR General Assembly in Beijing, and by now have probably recovered from the hectic activity of a major scientific gathering. It was fantastic to see thousands of space scientist walking around the premises of the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT), enjoying cool drinks to mitigate the hot and humid summer days, or looking for the rooms where particular sessions would take place (the luckiest of the participants would be sitting in air-conditioned rooms!). Among the regulars to the COSPAR Assemblies, there were many young faces in the crowd. For some, this was their first international meeting, and their first oppor- tunity to expose themselves to the more estab- lished members of the community in their field of research. For many, this was their first trip to China, which meant enjoying other things, like local colour, besides the scientific sessions. Members of the younger generation keep turning up for these events, and they fill the rooms and halls of the COSPAR assemblies. This is a good sign for space research in general and, of course, for COSPAR in particular. Two years ago, after the Paris Assembly, we launched SRT and in that first issue (which, by the way, is not issue number one, but rather 162) we had a section called 'The voice of the young generation'. There, we collected views from young COSPAR Associates who had attended the Paris meeting. There were several positive reactions to that article from more senior COSPAR Associates, and because we want to please our readers (and our bosses!), we decided to repeat that experience after the Beijing meeting. We therefore contacted some 40 young space scientists who had attended the Beijing Assembly and asked them to describe their experiences there; we received a very enthusiastic response from several of them. There was a common feeling among those we consulted: the COSPAR Assembly was huge, but in general it was very well organized. "It was the first time I attended such a huge conference" said Pavel Koten (from the Ondrejov Observatory in the Czech Republic). "Although I had already participated in several smaller conferences, this one was totally different. I was truly overwhelmed by the wide scope of the Scientific Assembly. I found it pretty difficult, but exciting as well, to select the talks I wanted to hear". For Daniel Kucharski (from the Space Research Centre of Polish Academy of Sciences), Beijing was his first COSPAR conference: "It was an amazing experience for me as a young scientist because of the large number of topics covered". For Giuping Liu, a last-year PhD student (in the Centre for Research on Earth & Space Science, York University in Canada) it was also "the first time for me to attend a COSPAR Assembly. I presented my research there, and had friendly discussions with some well- 97