Until further notice, all ABS events have been cancelled. Please see updates from the University.
Congratulation to current and former ABS students, Lauren Redmore, Aby Sene-Harper, Dhananjaya Katju and Mike Petriello, on the recent publication of their article Terms of empowerment: of conservation or communities?.
Abstract: In this era of socially-oriented biodiversity conservation and resource management, practitioners and scholars all too often invoke unclear and imprecise claims of empowerment to describe changing relations between people and resources. Empowerment is an important indicator of conservation success and social transformation. Yet, when scholars and practitioners fail to adequately conceptualize empowerment, they run the risk of undermining the importance of local involvement and capacity building to achieve biodiversity conservation. Here we explore the many ways empowerment has been conceptualized in conservation. We root our commentary in the history of the use of empowerment in conservation from these diverse perspectives. We then present examples of different meanings, measurements and outcomes ascribed to empowerment. We conclude with suggestions for harnessing empowerment for the benefit of conservationists and communities alike. Because empowerment has the potential to improve resource management outcomes and local livelihoods, we recommend building an adaptive empowerment assessment framework to assist with its deployment where it is most needed. Although empowerment goals in conservation can guide practitioners and scholars to engage with communities in transparent, meaningful and lasting ways, conservation needs a critical approach that builds from an appreciation of the nuances underlying the purpose and power of empowerment for conservation.
The article Terms of empowerment: of conservation or communities? is available in Oryx—The International Journal of Conservation. You can also read their blog post discussing the article here.
Congratulations to Erin Buchholtz and Lauren Redmore on the recent publication of their paper titled “Temporal partitioning and overlapping use of a shared natural resource by people and elephants”. The paper, co-authored with Dr. Amanda Stronza, Dr. Lee Fitzgerald, Anna Songhurst, and Graham McCulloch is based on research that was funded by an ABS CMRA grant. You can read the article here.
ABS Student Erin Buchholtz, from the Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Program was selected to attend the AniMove Summer School this September. AniMove is a rigorous 2-week course on animal movement modeling hosted by the Max Planck Institute in Radolfzell, Germany (http://animove.org). Here’s what she has to say about her experience…
Saturday morning September 8th I found myself on the way to the airport to fly to Zurich. It would be Sunday afternoon (after two flights, two trains, and a bus) that I finally arrived in the tiny town of Radolfzell, Germany – the location of the 2018 AniMove course. I knew I was in the right place when I boarded the final bus with a group of women who were scientists from Australia, Brazil, and the US and who were studying bandicoots, manatees, deer, and sheep.
The next two weeks flew by. Each day was filled with lectures and often coding in R or using open-source software like QGIS. The instructors represented a variety of world-class scientists who volunteered their time to teach this course. We learned so much from them! Each lecture was well-prepared and delivered a concentrated dose of whatever cool science the instructor was working on – from modeling behavioral states to changing how we think of home ranges. These instructors truly dedicated themselves to the full course – they were always around and open to discussing everything from code, to theory, to careers, and everything in between. During the day we also had guest speakers. We heard about the inspiring and cutting-edge science done by Dr. Iain Couzin on collective movement as well as the ICARUS initiative for satellite tracking animals from Dr. Martin Wikelski. I was surprised to find out my undergraduate adviser Dr. Dan Rubenstein from Princeton University was also there, and he gave an engaging talk on why zebras have stripes! To put a cap on each full day, we also often had keynote speakers after dinner. These speakers, which included Drs. Francesca Cagnacci, Meg Crofoot, Maelle Salmon, Justin Calabrese, and Silke Bauer spoke on everything from Open-source Science with R, to ongoing research on primate movements, to bird and deer migration. Each instructor, speaker, and student brought something unique to the course and made it an incredible experience.
A major part of the course was the ability to use your own data and work through different analyses with the assistance of instructors. Part of my dissertation relies on data from GPS collars, and these are what I analyzed at AniMove. A big part of elephant conservation is understanding where they move and why, and how we can try to reduce negative interactions between people and elephants. At AniMove, I had the opportunity to work on analyses to try and address the question of where elephants move along with guidance and help from the AniMove instructors. Also, I can’t believe what an amazing intellectual and supportive space it was to be in the Max Planck Institute, in a room full of scientists all working on interesting and exciting research!
I first heard about AniMove at a conference in 2016 when a scientist from the Smithsonian recommended I apply for it. I’m so glad that I did. It was an invaluable learning experience, and it really advanced my understanding as well as technical abilities for addressing animal movement in my research. A massive thanks to instructors Drs. Kamran Safi, Martin Wegmann, Chris Fleming, Chloe Bracis, Bjorn Reineking, Justin Calabrese, and Benjamin Leutner (plus others!) for hosting such an interactive, positive, learning experience.
Former ABS Student, Dr. Emma Gómez Ruiz received one of five Fellowships for Women in Science L’Oreal-Unesco-Conacyt-AMC in Mexico for her research on the management and conservation of pollinating bats and their role in the fragile arid and semi-arid ecosystems of Coahuila and Nuevo León. Learn more about Emma’s research in the video below. Congratulations Emma!