Researchers consider the benefits of conservation retreat: smaller reserves and focused funding – Anthropocene magazine

Decades of declining herbivore populations in central African national parks have conservation scientists arguing that smaller reserves might be better for wildlife.

As conservationists press for a major expansion of protected habitat around the world, scientists with years of experience in central Africa say new evidence calls for just the opposite in the region.

 

With few exceptions, protected savannas in the central African countries of Cameroon, Chad, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo have witnessed a steep decline in large herbivores such as elephants and antelopes in recent decades. The new findings have led researchers studying the problem to a sobering conclusion: It’s better to focus on saving smaller patches of the best habitat.

 

“It’s a shame that we have to say, ‘Look, you have to retreat and we can’t conserve it all,’” said Paul Scholte, a Dutch ecologist who has worked for governments and nongovernmental agencies on conservation efforts in the region and helped lead the new research. “We would be the first who would love to conserve it all. But by experience we know that that’s no longer realistic.”

 

The challenges of wildlife conservation in Africa have long been documented. Parts of the continent remain havens for charismatic wildlife such as elephants, rhinos, lions, gorillas, and antelope herds. Yet poaching, the encroachment of farming, and deforestation have all led to worrying declines in wildlife.

 

The savannas of central Africa haven’t been spared. But the scale of the losses and the primary forces behind the problem have proven elusive. Habitat in the region sprawls across a number of countries, some wracked with civil strife. Methods for counting animal populations have varied over time, making it hard to make exact comparisons.

 

To get a clearer picture of what is happening to wildlife and why, Scholte, who first studied wildlife in Chad and Cameroon in the 1990s, teamed up with scientists from Africa, Europe and the U.S. as well as wildlife managers in several central African countries.

 

The team amassed 68 population surveys for large herbivores – both wild and domesticated – from the region’s seven main national parks with savannas, dating back to 1960. Those nature reserves cover 245,000 square kilometers – a quarter of the region’s northern savannas.  To account for differences among species, the scientists estimated the total weight (biomass) of the overall herbivore populations. To understand how natural forces might affect population trends, they tracked rainfall over that same time. To gauge human activity they measured changes in revenue from tourism at each park and in the number of park rangers, who enforce wildlife protections.

 

The results were grim, for the most part. In six of the seven parks, populations of large wild herbivores have declined precipitously in recent decades while domesticated livestock has grown. At the same time, revenues from tourists that often come to watch, photograph or hunt the animals has plummeted, according to results published in the journal Conservation Biology.  

 

At two parks in Cameroon and one in the Central African Republic, large herbivores have declined by more than 90%. In Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo the news is nearly as bad, with a roughly 75% decline, while another Cameroonian park, Bouba Ndjida, has seen its herbivores cut in half. Only Zakouma National Park, in southern Chad, had wild herbivores increase.

 

Find out more...

 

Go back

Partners News

Rising Trend in Investment Arbitrations Threatens to Undermine Critical Climate Measures-IISD

New research from IISD highlights what could be at stake for climate action as negotiators continue discussions on modernizing the Energy Charter Treaty. As one of the world’s most controversial international investment agreements on energy cooperation is put back under scrutiny this week, new research from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) highlights what could be at stake for climate action.

2030 Agenda Statistics Group Takes Stock of Cape Town Plan -IISD

The UN’s High-level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building for Statistics for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (HLG-PCCB) met to review implementation of the Cape Town Global Action Plan for sustainable development data, in light of needs for capacity development and financial resources for national statistical offices (NSOs).

 

Ditching fossil fuel subsidies can trigger unrest. Keeping them will kill the climate-EDITION

London (CNN Business)When protests swept Kazakhstan earlier this month, they were fueled by frustration with the ruling elite and entrenched inequality. But the unrest was sparked by a specific catalyst: an end to a government subsidy.The cost of liquefied petroleum gas — which most people in the western part of the country use to power their cars — doubled overnight after the government lifted price caps. The ensuing turmoil, which saw thousands of protesters take to the streets, resulted in a Russian-led military intervention, the resignation of the government and the deaths of more than 200 people.

Building Peace and Climate Resilience: Aligning peacebuilding and climate adaptation in fragile states-IISD

It can be difficult to make the case for climate adaptation planning in contexts defined by fragility and violence. However, a failure to integrate climate adaptation considerations into peacebuilding plans and post-conflict development agendas can undermine the long-term viability of both. This article was originally published on the Ecosystem for Peace – A compendium of ideas website, hosted on medium.com, and is reprinted below with permission.

The first training session for PAFC auditors will take place from March 28 to April 1-ATIBT

We relay below the press release from Bureau Veritas announcing this first training session. We inform you of the imminent holding from March 28 to April 1, 2022 of the first training session for auditors on the PAFC Congo Basin certification scheme in the sub-region. The organization of this training is the result of the collaboration between Bureau Veritas and the organizations that are PEFC International, PAFC Congo Basin, ATIBT and PPECF.

Spokespeople for Fair&Precious!-ATIBT

The Fair&Precious brand, which supports the FSC and PAFC-PEFC certification schemes, intends to better interact with civil society actors, who will convey the 10 Fair&Precious commitments in the Congo basin and in Europe. These two spokespersons are joining the Fair&Precious program at the beginning of 2022: we welcome Edwige EYANG EFFA and Norbert GAMI, whom we introduce below.

Remarks by IPBES Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie at Fondation Prince Albert II of Monaco Awards Ceremony-IPBES

This prize is a tribute to the entire IPBES community. It recognizes and rewards the efforts of the thousands of scientists and holders of indigenous and local knowledge from all regions of the world who have volunteered their time and expertise to IPBES over the past 10 years.

‘Follow The Money’ To Uncover Online Criminal Wildlife Trade Networks says TRAFFIC China-IISD

Chengdu, China, December 2021 - Chinese online platforms should consider implementing anti-money laundering (AML) ‘follow the money’ approaches to prevent traffickers from exploiting their services for illegal wildlife trade and help catch the wider criminal networks negatively impacting species and ecosystems across the globe.

New Tropical Forest Update (TFU) issue has been release!

In this edition of the TFU we report on the outcomes of the most recent session of the International Tropical Timber Council, which concluded in early December 2021. Most crucially at the session, Ms Sheam Satkuru, a Malaysian national and the first woman to win the position, was appointed by consensus as ITTO’s next Executive Director. Ms Satkuru is a lawyer by training and has considerable experience in international negotiations and the tropical timber trade.

ECO countries gather to discuss work on combating desertification -UNCCD

Antalya, Turkey – The workshop “Development of Project Proposal to Combat Desertification in the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) region” took place on 14-16 December 2021, organized by the Republic of Turkey, the General Directorate of Combating Desertification and Erosion, and the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). The workshop brought together countries ECO region including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, as well as the representatives of the UNCCD and FAO.

Environmental Leaders Selected for Contributions to Ecosystem Restoration - IISD

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced the 2021 winners of the Champions of the Earth award, which recognizes environmental leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector. The selected Champions’ projects are expected to reinforce the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030). UNEP notes that neither the SDGs nor the Paris Agreement on climate change can be achieved without reviving ecosystems.

Adaptation Fund Climate Innovation Accelerator – UNEP-CTCN

The Adaptation Fund has launched a new USD 10 million pilot small grants programme (Adaptation Fund Climate Innovation Accelerator, AFCIA) to foster innovation in adaptation in developing countries at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid. Two of the Adaptation Fund’s accredited Multilateral Implementing Entities (MIEs), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), have been selected as implementing entities of the AFCIA. The Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) works in conjunction with UNEP, receiving USD 5 million to administrate and aggregate 25 micro-grants projects (up to USD 250,000 each).

Rwf38bn to support communities around Rwanda’s national parks - NEWTIMES

Rwanda is set to host the regional headquarters of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) following a presidential order signed by President Paul Kagame and issued in the national gazette. Founded in 1895, Wildlife Conservation Society is an NGO with headquarters in New York with the aim to conserve the world's largest wildlife and wild places in 14 priority regions home to more than 50 percent of the world's biodiversity.

Researchers consider the benefits of conservation retreat: smaller reserves and focused funding – Anthropocene magazine

Decades of declining herbivore populations in central African national parks have conservation scientists arguing that smaller reserves might be better for wildlife. As conservationists press for a major expansion of protected habitat around the world, scientists with years of experience in central Africa say new evidence calls for just the opposite in the region.

2022: What to watch for in the EU forest world

For decades, Fern and partners have campaigned to strengthen the rights of forest peoples and protect and restore forests. There have been locust years, when things went backwards, and harvest years, when plans come to fruition. Gratifyingly, 2021 was a year in which the forest movement achieved outstanding successes and we enter 2022 energised and ready to defend and build on them.

New paper Paul Scholte et al. : Conservation overstretch and the long term decline of wildlife and tourism in the Central African savannas

When in 2010 the world's governments pledged to increase protected area coverage to 17% of the world's land surface, several Central African countries had already set aside 25% of their northern savannas for conservation. To evaluate the effectiveness of this commitment, we analyzed the results of 68 multispecies surveys conducted in the 7 main savanna national parks in Central Africa (1960-2017).

ITTO appoints Executive Director, sets new priorities to increase economic contribution of tropical forest sector while reducing deforestation and increasing resilience

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN, 20 December 2021: The International Tropical Timber Council appointed Ms Sheam Satkuru as the new Executive Director of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) at its virtual 57th session concluded in early December 2021 and also endorsed a strategic action plan to set the Organization’s path for the next five years.

The CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany, Honorable Dr. Christian Ruck, Goodwill Ambassador of the COMIFAC Declaration, wishes you a happy holiday season 2021 and all the best for 2022

in this holiday season marking the end of 2021, I wish to express my appreciation and gratitude to you. Your rich and various contributions and your proactive and dedicated involvement have enriched and enhanced the efficacy of our joint partnership. Our fruitful and close collaboration was an overwhelming success internationally and most tangibly during the CoP 26 in Glasgow, UK.

Scientists Issue Roadmap to Protect Earth as Safe Operating Space-IISD

The International Science Council convened a process to reorient funding for scientific research and institutional arrangements to support needed societal transformations. The resulting report sets out a roadmap for the production of actionable knowledge in five areas that pose the most risk to the Earth as a “safe operating space” within ten or 20 years.

Latest Round of National Reports Emphasize Efforts on SDGs 3, 5 and 8-IISD

The 2021 HLPF convened in a hybrid format from 6-15 July under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Leading up to the session, 42 governments had conducted VNRs, and they presented on these processes during the Forum. The DESA report notes that these governments recognized the second year of the pandemic as “a crucial time to conduct a VNR, in order to align their efforts towards a resilient recovery.”

New book details best approaches to Adaptive Collaborative Management in forests - CIFOR

For three scientists who have authored a new book titled Adaptive Collaborative Management in Forest Landscapes: Villagers, Bureaucrats and Civil Society (Routledge, 2022), it represents the conjoining of their disparate but likeminded visions and guiding strategic principles for Adaptive Collaborative Management (ACM) in forest landscapes and resource management.