8th International Conference on Ecosystems and Sustainable Development


13 - 15 April 2011
Alicante, Spain


ECOSUDThe 8th International Conference on Ecosystems and Sustainable Development (ECOSUD 2011) was held in Alicante, Spain, sponsored by the local University and the Wessex Institute of Technology of the UK with the sponsorship of the Ministerio di Ciencia e Innovacion of Spain.

The conference was dedicated the memory of Enzo Tiezzi who died at the peak of his scientific career.  Enzo was an active participant in the ECOSUD meetings, of which he was co-chairman.

Enzo was Professor of Chemistry at the University of Siena but his interests were wide ranging, from poetry to chemistry, bringing new ideas and insights to all fields of knowledge.  His main scientific contributions were in the topic of evolutionary processes and ecosystems, and very much related to the topics of ECOSUD.

Enzo was closely associated with the Wessex Institute of Technology and its publishing arm, WIT Press, which produced several of his books.  He was co-editor of many WIT Press books and a main editor of the International Journal of Design and Nature & Ecodynamics.

The ECOSUD 2011 conference was chaired by Professor Yolanda Villacampa of the University of Alicante and Professor Carlos A Brebbia of the Wessex Institute of Technology, with the collaboration of the University of Siena.

 Opening Address

EcosudCarlosProfessor Brebbia opened the meeting by describing some of the activities of the Wessex Institute of Technology (WIT) of which he is the Director.  The Institute has an active programme of Masters and PhD degrees by research, as well as a wide range of courses and conferences, many associated with environmental and ecological topics.

WIT – Professor Brebbia said – acts as a hub for knowledge transfer.  In the last few years its activities have evolved from engineering and physical sciences into a wide range of other applications including social, political and economic topics.  These interests are the motivation for many of the conferences, seminars and courses currently organised by WIT.

WIT also provides services to industry based on advanced computer simulation, an area in which the Institute is renowned throughout the world.  These services include development and maintenance of advanced codes, as well as analysis and simulation of non-classical problems.  This expertise is currently in great demand in the field of offshore engineering and aerospace amongst others.

WIT Press has recently launched four important Open Access International Journals which cover areas of interest in the community.  Professor Brebbia explained the importance of these publications in addition to the conference materials and invited the authors to submit an extended version of their conference papers for publication in one of the Journals.

Professor Brebbia ended by inviting the participants to visit the WIT Campus next time they have an occasion, as the Institute is always happy to welcome our colleagues and can usually provide overnight accommodation.

 The Prigogine Award 2011

PrigogineGroupThe conference started with two sessions on Energy and the Environment and Environmental Indicators after which the delegates proceeded to the CAM (Caja Mediterranea) Cultural Centre for the award of the Prigogine medal.

The Prigogine Gold Medal was established by the University of Siena and the Wessex Institute of Technology to honour the memory of Professor Ilya Prigogine, Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry and renowned for his work on biological and complex systems.

Ilya Prigogine was born in Moscow and obtained his undergraduate and graduate education at the Free University of Brussels.  He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his contribution to non-equilibrium thermodynamics, particularly the theory of dissipative structures.  The main theme of his scientific research was the role of time in physical science and biology.  He contributed significantly to the understanding of irreversible processes, particularly in systems far from equilibrium.  The results of his work have had profound consequences for understanding not only biological and ecological systems but also a range of problems in social and political sciences.

The Medal has been awarded to outstanding scientists who have been influenced by the work of Prigogine.  Previous Prigogine Award winners were;

2004    Sven Jorgensen from the University of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Denmark
2005    Enzo Tiezzi, University of Siena, Italy
2006    Bernard Patten, University of Georgia, USA
2007    Robert Ulanowicz, University of Maryland, USA
2008    Ionnis Antoniou, University of Thessaloniki, Greece
2009    Emilio del Guidice, Institute of Nuclear Physics, Milan, Italy
2010    Felix Müller, University of Kiel, Germany

Professor Patrick De Wilde of the Free University of Brussels described the personality and career of Ilya Pigogine who was an academic member of staff at the same Institution.  Prigogine, Patrick recalled, created a large research group working in complex problems, entirely supported by the Solvay Institute where his work started to attract international attention.  Patrick remembers his clarity as a lecturer and the excellent course books.

The event was dedicated to the memory of Professor Tiezzi who was instrumental in setting up the award.  Professor Ricardo Pulselli from the University of Siena, described the work of Enzo and he importance of his legacy which has influenced many young researchers all over the world.

Ricardo referred to the extraordinarily productive output of Enzo who not only was concerned with scientific problems but also wrote books and poems.  His range of interests was wide and embraced all areas of human behaviour, following the example of his mentor, Ilya Prigogine.
Professor Carlos Brebbia, Director of Wessex Institute of Technology, then introduced the awardee.  The 2011 medal was awarded to Professor Larissa Brizhik of Bogolyubov Institute for Theoretical Physics in the Ukraine, who is also a member of the International Institute of Biophysics in Neuss, Germany.

Larissa studied physics at Kiev State University before completing her PhD at the Bogolyubov Institute.  Her current research interests included electro-photon interaction, soliton mechanism for energy storage and the influence of electromagnetic radiation on biological systems amongst others.
Her current research interests included electro-photon interaction, soliton mechanism for energy storage and the influence of electromagnetic radiation on biological systems amongst others.

Larissa has published a substantial number of papers in leading scientific journals and has participated in many conferences around the world.

Larissa then delivered her Prigogine lecture entitled 'On the role and impact of electromagnetic fields in Ecosystems’.  The full text of her lecture can be found in the International Journal of Design and Nature & Ecodynamics (see

 Conference Topics

The conference papers dealt with the following topics:

  • Energy and the environment
  • Environmental indicators
  • Sustainable development studies
  • Ecosystems modelling
  • Data mining applications
  • Natural resources management
  • Waste Management

 Invited Presentations

The conference was enhanced by a series of invited presentations:

‘Monitoring urban dynamics: the case of the Metropolitan area of Central Tuscany’
R. M. Pulselli, University of Siena, Italy

‘On the non-thermal effects of electromagnetic fields on charge transport processes in ecosystems’
L. Brizhik, Ukranian Academy of Sciences, Ukraine

‘Modelling the value of wetlands in the Kilombero Valley, Tanzania, using community preferences’
F. Mombo, University of Ghent, Belgium

‘A participatory approach for modeling alternative future land use scenarios around Nairobi National Park using Bayesian Belief Networks’
J. T. McCloskey, University of Maine, USA

‘Characterisation of the spatial variability of waterlogging in the Blue River Basin (Argentina)’
Y. Villacampa, University of Alicante, Spain

‘Central Baltic Sea herring: effect of environmental trends and fishery management’
R. Aps, University of Tartu, Estonia

 International Scientific Advisory Committee

The conference’s International Scientific Advisory Committee met to discuss how to enhance the meeting when it is reconvened in 2013.  Different new topics were proposed as well as a list of nominations for the committee.  The location of the conference was discussed and several of the suggestions will be investigated by the WIT Conference Division in the next few months.  The Committee afterwards proceeded to have dinner in an excellent local restaurant.

The conference was highly successful as demonstrated by the quality of the Proceedings.

 Publication of Proceedings

The proceedings of Ecosystems and Sustainable Development VIII, 544pp (Print ISBN: 978-1-84564-510-6; Online ISSN: 1743-3541) are available from WIT Press priced at £234/US$468/€328. Orders can be placed on the WIT Press web site at or by email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , telephone: +44 (0) 238 029 3223 or fax: +44 (0) 238 029 2853.

Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary as Volume 144 of WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment (Online ISSN: 1743-3541). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at