11th International Conference on Ecosystems and Sustainable Development


26 - 28 April, 2017
Cadiz, Spain




The 11th International Conference on Ecosystems and Sustainable Development (ECOSUD) took place in the University of Cadiz, Spain, organised by that Institution and the Wessex Institute. The meeting was chaired by Prof David Almorza of the University and Prof Carlos A Brebbia of the Wessex Institute.

ECOSUD is a well-established series which provides a unique forum for the presentation and discussion of recent work on different aspects of ecosystems and sustainable development, including physical sciences and modelling.

The aim of the Conference is to encourage and facilitate interdisciplinary communication between scientists, engineers, socio-economic specialists and other professionals working in ecological systems and sustainable development. Emphasis is given to those areas that most benefit from the application of scientific methods for sustainable development, including the conservation of natural systems around the world. The conference seeks to integrate physical sciences, ecology and economics.

The papers presented at the conference, as well as all preceding meetings in the series, have been permanently stored in the Wessex Institute eLibrary as WIT Transactions (see where they are easily accessible to the scientific community. They contribute a whole record of the state of the art in ecosystems and related fields. The conference books are produced in paper and digital format and widely distributed throughout the world.

Opening the Conference 

The conference was opened by Prof David Almorza who welcomed the delegates to the University of Cadiz and pointed out the long collaboration that his institution has had with Wessex Institute. David mentioned that although the current University has been established comparatively recently, Cadiz was also a centre of excellence for maritime sciences as a consequence of its unique location.

Cadiz, established by the Phoenicians more than three million years ago, is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe. It was the most important trade centre with the Spanish Empire in years gone by and consequently a very rich town, as evidenced by its architectural heritage.

Following David’s address, Prof Carlos A Brebbia gave a short explanation of the objectives of Wessex Institute and the importance of its meetings programme. WIT, Carlos said, is interested in collaborating with other institutions rather than competing, and in disseminating knowledge at an international level.

The Institute’s research strength lies in the development of new computational media tools for engineering analysis. WIT is renowned throughout the world for its pioneering development of the Boundary Element Method, an analysis tool now widely applied in engineering practice. The method is widely applied in a wide variety of engineering problems, including in the field of energy and aerospace.

The training activities at WIT campus cover all sciences, as well as the conference programme. Its aim is to organise friendly meetings, encouraging the interchange of information and the development of scientific and engineering networks. Conferences – such as ECOSUD – are important in this regard as they attract a very international audience.

Finally, Carlos said that WIT lays great emphasis in publishing all the material resulting from its meetings, as well as a series of books and journals. As already mentioned, all papers are archived in the digital library where they are freely available to the scientific community.

Keynote Address 

The programme opened with a keynote address given by Prof Nadia Marchettini from the University of Siena, in the topic “Urban sustainability: CO2 uptake by green areas in the historic centre of Siena”

Invited Presentations 

The conference was enhanced by a series of invited presentations:

  • “Productions and utilization of energy and climate adaptation: Global tasks and local routes”, by Elena Magaril, Ural Federal University, Russia.
  • “The S-Lab’s Wash + E System: Ten sustainable interventions for vernacular rural households in developing communities”, by Steve Mecca, Providence College, USA.
  • “Sustainable development and the Great Sage Grouse”, by Douglas Rideout, Colorado State University, USA.
  • “The impact of environmental conditions on shopping locations: an analysis of the Austrian Mariahilferstraß║×e”, by Petra Amrusch, University of Vienna, Austria.
  • “Infrastructure maintenance in the irrigation districts of Mexico”, by Ramon Lomeli Villanueva, Mexican Institute of Water Technology, Mexico.

Conference Topics  

Other papers in the conference were grouped together in the following sessions:

  • Natural resources management
  • Sustainable development and planning
  • Energy systems and the environment
  • Energy systems and the environmental
  • Urban agriculture
  • Irrigation and groundwater issues
  • Environmental impacts


The conference offered the delegates numerous occasions for interacting and networking outside as well as during the conference sessions, particularly during coffee and lunch breaks.

Another way of becoming better acquainted with each other was during a specially arranged cultural visit programme. A guide showed them the sights of interest in town.

Cadiz, capital of the province of Cadiz, is a port city founded by the Phoenicians approximately 3,000 years ago. It is the most ancient surviving city in Western Europe. Situated in South Western Spain, Cadiz is surrounded by the sea on three sides. Its name and reputation have forever been linked with its maritime heritage. Due to the rich history of Cadiz, its monuments, buildings and museums are full of stories and depictions of the past. The old central quarters are famous for their picturesque charm, and many of the buildings reflect the city’s overseas links.

Walking through the streets of Cadiz the delegates appreciated some of the monumental, historical and cultural highlights of the city such as Cathedral Square, Santa Catalina Castle and the Roman Theatre.

The International Scientific Advisory Committee (ISAC) of the Conference met over dinner to discuss reconvening the meeting in a convenient location and venue. The ISAC thought that the best solution is to find an academic or research institution willing to host the conference. The Conference Division at WIT will investigate this matter. Other points under discussion were the addition of new topics to those listed in the Call for Papers. The delegates also discussed the policy of the Design and Nature Journal which is associated with the conference since its beginning. The Journal, now in its 13th year, is most successful and continues to attract high quality papers. Some colleagues were nominated to be invited to join the ISAC while others ought to be considered for the Editorial Board of the Journal.

Conference Dinner

The Conference Banquet took place in the renowned Peña Flamenca La Perla (Flamenco Academy) which is an important component of the cultural life of Cadiz. The town has its own distinctive style of flamenco, with a series of Alegrias typical of Cadiz. Alegrias, which means happiness, can also be translated as the joie de vivre, a form of celebrating life to the full. The flamenco show that took place after dinner included, as a friendly touch, a niece of David Almorza in the programme. She is a gifted amateur dancer who has recently won an important competition. As different from numerous shows now offered in Spain, this was a genuine flamenco night.

The quality of the show and informal setting contributed to the friendliness of the occasion and created the right atmosphere for the development of stronger links amongst the delegates.

Closing of the Conference

The meeting was closed by David Almorza and Carlos A Brebbia in the same conference room in which the first WIT conference started thirty or so years ago, as a celebration of the long and fruitful collaboration between the University of Cadiz and the Wessex Institute.

Carlos expressed his appreciation to the University for hosting the meeting and to David, in particular, for his contribution to making the meeting successful. He also thanked all participants for their contributions and hoped that they would consider visiting Ashurst Lodge in the future to see the work carried out in the Institute Campus and hence acquiring a better understanding of WIT objectives.

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