Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How to protect an American wildlife legacy

25.06.2014

New paper looks at the expanded role of the scientist in conservation and its impact on America's natural heritage

A new paper shows that while science plays a critical role in informing conservation action, scientists must move beyond the realm of their expertise into less familiar areas like public relations, education, and even politics, to ultimately meet America's conservation goals.


This image depicts a herd of running pronghorn.

Credit: Joel Berger

The paper, "Moving Beyond Science to Protect a Mammalian Migration Corridor," appears in the current online edition on the journal Conservation Biology, and will appear in Volume 28 of the print edition. Authors are Joel Berger of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the University of Montana, Missoula, and Steve Cain of Grand Teton National Park (Grand Teton).

In their paper, the authors examine the process that led to the creation of the United States' first federally designated migration corridor—Wyoming's Path of the Pronghorn (POP). The POP is a 93-mile route travelled by Grand Teton's pronghorn between their summering range in the park (where females give birth) and their wintering range in Upper Green River Valley.

Pronghorn have made this journey for more than 6,000 thousand years, but increasingly face the modern day challenges of bottlenecks and barriers created by roadways, fences, and energy development. Designation of the corridor, which both Berger and Cain worked to bring about, led to the protection of the migration. Without this corridor, one of the western United States' iconic species would ultimately vanish from Grand Teton. "The POP is a critical life-link to pronghorn in the park, where native ungulates and predators, including grizzly bears and wolves, are formidable drivers of the ecological system," Cain said.

While science played a vital role in generating data on this landmark project, the paper illustrates that science is only an initial phase in creating a desired conservation result.

"We chose this project as a case study to show that science alone cannot achieve real world outcomes and that conservation is the provenance of the people," said Berger. "The Path of the Pronghorn migration, in terms of ecological, historical, and cultural relevance, is a distinctly American treasure. As scientists there at the beginning, we had to illustrate that significance and get that message to the American public."

The scientists were initially faced with a lack of recognition for migrations and their importance. In response, they sought out an understanding of Wyoming's demographic, social, and ecological make-up, and then built local and broader public consciousness around the migration issue. They met with energy companies and elected officials (including then-Governor of Wyoming, Dave Freudenthal), engaged the media and published opinion pieces in national outlets, mobilized the conservation community, and conducted presentations and workshops for municipalities, businesses, non-governmental organizations, and local, state and federal agency officials.

The paper notes that "activism, science, trust and engagement at levels involving very basic cultural values were all important ingredients in building support for POP." These efforts, "required those involved to move away from science and become part-time information brokers and part-time conservation advocates."

Berger said, "Not all audiences were immediately receptive, but ultimately trust was built between the scientists and the public who began to recognize the global, biological, historical and economical significance of the migration as an icon of the American West."

While the paper notes that no blueprint achieves conservation outcomes in all cases, the POP case study revealed several key elements that contributed to success. These included:

1) the development of ecological insights and publications to frame issues and establish credibility;

2) a collaboration between WCS and the National Park Service that enabled opportunities and access to other agencies and NGOs;

3) support from energy producers that facilitated meetings with elected officials; and

4) targeted communications and outreach, and engaging county commissioners, ranchers, local and national NGOs, politicians and state and federal agencies.

Berger and Cain also note that a "thick skin" and calm demeanor are invaluable assets and that while science was a critical part of the discovery and ultimate designation of the POP, "human dimensions played a larger role."

Scott Smith | Eurek Alert!

Further reports about: Conservation Society WCS Wildlife conservation biology ecological pronghorn thicker skin

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht How to detect water contamination in situ?
22.09.2016 | Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU)

nachricht Quantifying the chemical effects of air pollutants on oxidative stress and human health
12.09.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

Im Focus: Complex hardmetal tools out of the 3D printer

For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.

Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...

Im Focus: Launch of New Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing

At AKL’16, the International Laser Technology Congress held in May this year, interest in the topic of process control was greater than expected. Appropriately, the event was also used to launch the Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing. The group provides a forum for representatives from industry and research to initiate pre-competitive projects and discuss issues such as standards, potential cost savings and feasibility.

In the age of industry 4.0, laser technology is firmly established within manufacturing. A wide variety of laser techniques – from USP ablation and additive...

Im Focus: New laser joining technologies at ‘K 2016’ trade fair

Every three years, the plastics industry gathers at K, the international trade fair for plastics and rubber in Düsseldorf. The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will also be attending again and presenting many innovative technologies, such as for joining plastics and metals using ultrashort pulse lasers. From October 19 to 26, you can find the Fraunhofer ILT at the joint Fraunhofer booth SC01 in Hall 7.

K is the world’s largest trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry. As in previous years, the organizers are expecting 3,000 exhibitors and more than...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Experts from industry and academia discuss the future mobile telecommunications standard 5G

23.09.2016 | Event News

ICPE in Graz for the seventh time

20.09.2016 | Event News

Using mathematical models to understand our brain

16.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Chains of nanogold – forged with atomic precision

23.09.2016 | Life Sciences

New leukemia treatment offers hope

23.09.2016 | Health and Medicine

Self-assembled nanostructures hit their target

23.09.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>