Data-driven analysis will maximize return-on-investment in protecting wildlife and wild lands
Scientists seeking a more efficient way of protecting the heart of Africa's wildlife—the Greater Virunga Landscape—have developed a method to make the most of limited enforcement resources, according to a new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society, the University of Queensland, Imperial College London, and the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Park guards on patrol in the Greater Virunga Landscape. Scientists seeking a more efficient way of protecting the heart of Africa's wildlife have developed a method to make the most of limited enforcement resources, specifically by channeling data on wildlife sightings and park guard patrolling routes into spatial planning software. Conservationists hope that this cost-effective method for maximizing the deterrence effect of patrolling will help protect Africa's threatened wildlife from poaching and other illegal activities.
Credit: A. Plumptre/Wildlife Conservation Society
By channeling data on wildlife sightings and park guard patrolling routes into spatial planning software, conservationists have devised a cost-effective method for maximizing the deterrence effect of patrolling to protect Africa's threatened wildlife from poaching and other illegal activities.
The enforcement-targeting method is described in a study appearing in the current edition of the Journal of Applied Ecology and is freely available online.
"The Greater Virunga Landscape contains many natural wonders, but resources for enforcement across this huge area are limited," said Dr. Andrew Plumptre, lead author of the study and Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Albertine Rift Program. "Our spatial analysis allows us to identify weaknesses in current efforts, which we can use to redirect enforcement and increase efficiency and conservation impact."
Stretching through Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Greater Virunga Landscape is one of the most biodiverse places on Earth and is home to all of the world's mountain gorilla populations. Much of the region's mountains, forests, lakes, and savannas are contained in a total of 13 protected areas covering 13,800 square kilometers. The region also contains populations of chimpanzees, elephants, hippopotamus, lions, and many other species.
The authors of the study conducted their analysis by first determining the distribution of key species and habitats. Data on the distribution of threats was then added, followed by estimates of current patrol effort and the cost of patrolling parks, protected areas, and other wildlife-rich regions effectively. All data layers were then used to conduct a spatial prioritization to minimize the cost of patrols and maximize the protection of wildlife species.
What the authors found was that only 22 percent of the Greater Virunga Landscape is being effectively patrolled at present. "The key problem is trying to ascertain where to send patrols to make them effective," said Dr. James Watson, who holds a joint WCS-University of Queensland position. "Our research has shown that existing patrols are not frequent enough to be effective at deterring poaching and other illegal activities beyond 3 kilometers from a patrol post."
"We discovered that careful planning of patrol activity can increase its effectiveness while reducing costs by up to 63 percent," added Prof. Hugh Possingham, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions.
In addition to helping wildlife managers and park authorities to redirect enforcement efforts into areas requiring protection, the method—the authors say—will also help reduce the cost of achieving conservation goals.
"Knowing where to put your enforcement efforts to make the most difference in protecting wildlife and natural resources is a huge advantage for conservationists," said Mr. Aggrey Rwetsiba, Senior Coordinator Ecological Monitoring and Research at the Uganda Wildlife Authority. "The method offered here can improve patrol coverage and increase deterrence in this vital region of Africa."
The authors are: Andrew Plumptre of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Richard Fuller of the University of Queensland; Aggrey Rwetsiba of the Uganda Wildlife Authority; Fredrick Wanyama of the Uganda Wildlife Authority; Deo Kujirakwinja of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Margaret Driciru of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Grace Nangendo of the Wildlife Conservation Society; James Watson of the Wildlife Conservation Society; and Hugh Possingham of the University of Queensland and Imperial College.
This analysis was funded by the Fairfield Osborn Memorial Fund, The University of Queensland and the Wildlife Conservation Society. Funding that supported data collection and analysis for this study came from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the US Fish and Wildlife Service Elephant and Great Ape Conservation Funds, US State Department, US Agency for International Development, and Wildlife Conservation Society.
John Delaney | EurekAlert!
Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut
Species Richness – a false friend? Scientists want to improve biodiversity assessments
01.08.2017 | Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.08.2017 | Materials Sciences