The purpose of the Association of Ecosystem Research Centers (AERC) is to support and encourage cooperation in research and training among ecosystem centers, strengthen ecosystem research and its applications; and advance understanding of ecosystem science at local, regional, national and international levels.
AERC brings together 35 U.S. research programs in universities and private, state and federal laboratories that conduct research, provide training and analyze policy at the ecosystem level of environmental science and natural resources management. These centers are located throughout the U.S. mainland, as well as Alaska and Puerto Rico. Their scientists, who number more than 500, conduct a major share of the ecosystem research in the United States.
Although AERC is an association of professional scientists rather than environmental activists, its goals and interests complement those of conservation organizations. Both groups stress the environmental and societal need for wise management of natural resources; AERC scientists provide the scientific information necessary for informed management.
The goal of the AERC is to promote the optimal use of limited scientific resources in the search for solutions to complex, large-scale environmental problems.
Four areas of activity are advocacy, information, education, and organization:
The AERC speaks for the needs and uses of ecosystem science to government agencies, Congress, and advisory bodies.
The AERC holds seminars and briefings on environmental topics and serves as a source of ecological data and findings relevant to resource management.
The AERC promotes opportunities for training in new methods and in cross-disciplinary approaches and methods.
The AERC fosters collaboration among member institutions by coordinating initiatives and organizing workshops on topics of mutual interest.