Archive by category | Society for Conservation Biology

More walking the walk

More detail on the green and pro-development efforts at the conference. The decor is all native plants. The lunches are served on cardboard, with wooden cutlery. And here is more on those sedge bags: Meanwhile, the café in the tent is run by Umzi Wethu, a vocational training school for “vulnerable youth” that places its graduates in the ecotourism industry—and takes them hiking.  Read more

Man vs. manatee

When people talk about “the social aspects of conservation biology” I get confused. Isn’t it all social? If the goal of conservation biology is to undo the havoc that humans wreak on biodiversity then isn’t it all about people and societies—what they shoot, what they eat, what they burn, what they grow, what they make and spill?  Read more

Tales from the transect

Sometimes I wonder about all the studies in this field that involve walking transects—i.e. straight lines—in gorgeous country, usually noting the species that are around and other landscape variables. I am sure there’s usually some reason for gathering the data, but all that adventuresome hiking in untrammeled land must make these studies more appealing.  Read more

What is a zoo?

One thing I am learning here in South Africa is that the “wild” animals, especially the big mammals, may be more like those in your local zoo than you think. Is a rhino in a 4,000 hectare game reserve really roaming free? What about lions bouncing off the electrified fences at pocket-sized reserves? What about the “semi-habituated” elephants with which one can gambol around a park with, hand in trunk?  Read more

Walking the talk

Conservation biology—unlike other sciences—has an explicit agenda. Its practitioners want to conserve the subjects and ecosystems they study. So when they convene they convene green. This year for the first time the SCB offered delegates the opportunity to pay a bit extra to carbon-neutralize their conference attendance. 97.3% chose to do so.  Read more

Does conserving Africa help Africans?

The first two plenary sessions have taken as their subject conservation in Africa. Yesterday, Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu, a Ghanaian conservationist with positions in government, academia, and at an NGO, recounted a story from youth. She returned to her hometown after graduating from college and announced her plan to manage wildlife for a living. An old man took her to task, asking what such a career could possibly do to help their impoverished village.  Read more