1 Tahrcountry Musings: Science as a tool to guide conservation prioritization

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Science as a tool to guide conservation prioritization

Using science to guide conservation: From landscape modelling to increased connectivity in the Taita Hills, SE Kenya
Mwangi Githiru, Luc Lens,Frank Adriaensen, James Mwang’ombe and Erik Matthysen

Journal for Nature Conservation
Article in Press, Available online 12 June 2011

Communication gaps between scientists, stakeholders and policy makers make using of science knowledge to guide conservation difficult. In this paper the researchers demonstrate how they have managed to integrate scientific knowledge into consensually formulated conservation actions in the Taita Hills, Kenya.
The scientist used GIS-based least-cost modelling, together with sociological and forest characteristics  to determine and prioritize the most appropriate areas for reforestation from a set of exotic forest plantations targeted for conversion into indigenous forests.
This prioritisation was done through a succession of three workshops. The workshops were conducted on site). The Views of multiple stakeholders were heard to build consensus on conservation actions, and formulate an implementation policy.
The researchers say the key lesson they  learned from this exercise was that bridging the gap between science and conservation demands a very open, inter-disciplinary strategy, initiated and executed jointly by a diverse group of people that includes the Government (policy-makers and implementers), NGOs (conservationists and environmental advocates), scientists (researchers), conservationists and the local community.
The researchers signs off with the following comment. “This study provides a pointer for what it may take to integrate human issues with sustained environmental management based on scientific knowledge.”

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