Public Release: 

Forests in the clouds

Cristián Samper to speak as part of Opening Ceremonies

Ecological Society of America

Sunday, 7 August, 5 PM - 6:30 PM (17:00 -18:30 hours), Meeting Rooms 210 A/B and 210 E/F, Level 2, Palais des congrès de Montréal. Free and open to the general public.

On Sunday, 7 August 2005, Cristián Samper, Director of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (United States), will give a presentation entitled, "Forests in the Clouds: Ecology and Conservation of Montane Forests in the Andes," at the public plenary of the Ecological Society of America's 90th Annual Meeting. This free event will be held at the Palais des congrès de Montréal, and the public is warmly invited to attend. Please note, this presentation will be in both French and English.

Most of our understanding about tropical forests comes from lowland forests. During his talk, Samper will discuss the unique features and creatures of montane (mountain slope) forests. According to Samper, the differences between lowland and montane forests provide opportunities to better understand tropical forests, including important consequences for their management and conservation.

Carrying on the recent tradition of opening the meeting by acknowledging indigenous peoples and their relationship to the natural environment as well as the cultural heritage of Québec, the Opening Ceremony will feature Henry Lickers, Director, Department of Environment, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, followed by a performance by La Baratte à Buerre - Traditional French Canadian Chansons.

The Opening Ceremony and Samper's talk will take place during the ESA-INTECOL joint meeting. The meeting marks only the second time these two major organizations have met jointly. The meeting theme, "Ecology at Multiple Scales", is expected to attract over 4,000 ecological scientists, researchers, educators, administrators, and policy-makers from around the globe.

  • Henry Lickers is a member of the Seneca Nation, Turtle Clan. He has been the Director of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Department of the Environment, for the past 28 years. During this time, he has been principal investigator on the EAGLE (Effect on Aboriginal in the Great Lakes Environment) Project, the Naturalized Knowledge Systems Project, and the First Nation's Community Health Indicators Project. These projects are investigating First Nations Environmental issues.

  • La Baratte à Beurre (the churn) is all about Québec revisited and tradition rediscovered. Offering a feast of well known as well as rare tunes, the group is comprised of Robin Servant, Yoland Henry, and Étienne Boucher. Founded in 2000, the trio has become one of Québec's most dynamic traditional ensembles and will enchant listeners with their French Canadian music and singing. They will provide a sample of the music and storytelling that has been part of the cultural heritage of French Canada for centuries.

  • Dr. Cristián Samper, Director of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History holds Columbian and U.S. citizenships and is fluent in both Spanish and English. Educated at Harvard (Ph.D. and M.A. in Biology) and in Columbia (B.Sc. from the Universidad de los Andes), Dr. Samper has been the Director of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution since 2003. Prior to that he was Deputy and Acting Director of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, served on the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, and chaired the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advice. He serves on various boards including the World Conservation Monitoring Centre - UNEP, as Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council, Species Survival Commission of the World Conservation Union, as Vice-Chair of the Global Environment Facility, is a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Panel, World Resources Institute, and Global Council. Among the many awards he has received, Dr. Samper holds the National Medal for the Environment from the Republic of Columbia .


The Ecological Society of America (ESA) is a scientific, non-profit, 9000-member organization founded in 1915. Through ESA reports, journals, membership research, and expert testimony to Congress, ESA seeks to promote the responsible application of ecological data and principles to the solution of environmental problems. ESA publishes four scientific, peer-reviewed journals: Ecology, Ecological Applications, Ecological Monographs, and Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. For more information about the Society visit

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