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.
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!
Upcycling of PET Bottles: New Ideas for Resource Cycles in Germany
25.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit LBF
Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission
20.06.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
18.07.2018 | Life Sciences
18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine