AHEAD Update – October / November / December 2014

Dear AHEAD Colleagues:

*Welcome to the fourth AHEAD Update of 2014. Please note that URL hotlinks for many of the organizations mentioned below can be found at http://www.wcs-ahead.org/links.html. If you would like to post an item in the next AHEAD Update, please just send it to us- thanks. News on training opportunities appears towards the end of this Update.

This issue of the AHEAD Update is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Jonathan Barnes, a long-time friend, AHEAD colleague, and leading thinker on the socioeconomic dimensions of conservation in southern Africa. Please see IN MEMORIAM below.


Jonathan (Jon) Barnes, PhD, 1950 – 2014

Our esteemed colleague Dr. Jon Barnes died unexpectedly at his home in Windhoek, Namibia on Sunday 14th September 2014. He was 63 years of age. Jon was a natural resource economist who was highly respected across southern Africa and beyond. He will be fondly remembered as an AHEAD colleague and leading thinker on the socioeconomic dimensions of conservation in southern Africa. He made a huge contribution to his field of work, particularly in Namibia, Botswana and South Africa, set up a national environmental economics program in Namibia which has been running now for 20 years, and trained and mentored local cohorts of young economists who themselves are now making significant contributions to their field of work in Namibia and beyond.

With postgraduate training in both ecology and economics, Jon spent 12 years as a practicing ecologist, and a further 28 years as an environmental and natural resource economist. In his early career as an ecologist, he participated in and coordinated more than 35 assignments ranging from natural resource studies to environmental impact assessments. Later, as an environmental and resource economist, he worked for seven years (1986-1993) as an advisor to the Government of Botswana on natural resource management matters, and for 15 years (1993-2008) as advisor to the Government of Namibia on environmental affairs. While in Botswana, he developed and managed a Resource Economics Unit for the Department of Wildlife and National Parks and provided on-the-job training to local, graduate counterparts. Similarly, he served as a full time advisor to the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism, and developed and coordinated an Environmental Economics Unit, which set-up a program of environmental research, policy analysis and natural resource accounting. This unit provided capacity building opportunities for Namibians through on-the-job training and research experience. More recently, as Co-Director of the firm Design and Development Services, Jon undertook numerous consulting assignments ranging from a major economic valuation of wetlands in Zambia, Namibia, Malawi and Mozambique to economic and policy analyses of land-use scenarios in Botswana and Namibia.

Jon’s passing leaves a massive void in the environmental sector in Namibia and southern Africa overall. He will be hugely missed by his family, friends, colleagues, students and all who knew him.

Jon’s wife, Beth Terry, requests that those wanting to honor Jon’s life and memory make donations to the “Jon Barnes Natural Resource Economics Bursary Fund,” held at the Namibia Nature Foundation (agm@nnf.org.na). This fund has been established to assist young Namibian economists to further their studies.


*New paper – Potential Negative Ecological Effects of Corridors (2014), Haddad NM, Brudvig LA, Damschen EI, Evans DM, Johnson BL, Levey DJ, Orrock JL, Resasco J, Sullivan LL, Tewksbury JJ, Wagner SA and Weldon AJ. Conservation Biology. doi.org/10.1111/cobi.12323 – Despite many studies showing that landscape corridors increase dispersal and species richness for disparate taxa, concerns persist that corridors can have unintended negative effects. In particular, some of the same mechanisms that underlie positive effects of corridors on species of conservation interest may also increase the spread and impact of antagonistic species (e.g., predators and pathogens), foster negative effects of edges, increase invasion by exotic species, increase the spread of unwanted disturbances such as fire, or increase population synchrony and thus reduce persistence. We conducted a literature review and meta-analysis to evaluate the prevalence of each of these negative effects. We found no evidence that corridors increase unwanted disturbance or non-native species invasion; however, these have not been well-studied concerns (1 and 6 studies, respectively). Other effects of corridors were more often studied and yielded inconsistent results; mean effect sizes were indistinguishable from zero. The effect of edges on abundances of target species was as likely to be positive as negative. Corridors were as likely to have no effect on antagonists or population synchrony as they were to increase those negative effects. We found three deficiencies in the literature. First, despite studies on how corridors affect predators, there are few studies of related consequences for prey population size and persistence. Second, properly designed studies of negative corridor effects are needed in natural corridors at scales larger than those achievable in experimental systems. Third, studies are needed to test more targeted hypotheses about when corridor-mediated effects on invasive species or disturbance may be negative for species of management concern. Overall, we found no overarching support for concerns that construction and maintenance of habitat corridors may result in unintended negative consequences. Negative edge effects may be mitigated by widening corridors or softening edges between corridors and the matrix. Other negative effects are relatively small and manageable compared with the large positive effects of facilitating dispersal and increasing diversity of native species. See http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12323/full.

*New paper – Foot and Mouth Disease in Sub-Saharan Africa: Lessons from the Zambian Experience (2014), Sinkala Y, Simuunza M, Pfeiffer DU, Munang HM, Mulumba M, Kasanga CJ, Muma BJ and Mweene AS. Veterinary Medicine International. doi.org/10.1155/2014/373921 – Foot and mouth disease is one of the world’s most important livestock diseases for trade. FMD infections are complex in nature and there are many epidemiological factors needing clarification. Key questions relate to the control challenges and economic impact of the disease for resource-poor FMD endemic countries like Zambia. A review of the control challenges and economic impact of FMD outbreaks in Zambia was made. Information was collected from peer-reviewed journal articles, conference proceedings, unpublished scientific reports, personal communications with scientists and personal field experiences. The challenges of controlling FMD using mainly vaccination and movement control are discussed. Impacts include losses in income of over US$ 1.6 billion from exports of beef and sable antelopes and an annual cost of over US$ 2.7 million on preventive measures. Further impacts included unquantified losses in production and low investment in agriculture resulting in slow economic growth. FMD persistence may be a result of inadequate epidemiological understanding of the disease and ineffectiveness of the control measures that are being applied. The identified gaps may be considered in the annual appraisal of the FMD national control strategy in order to advance on the progressive control pathway. See http://www.hindawi.com/journals/vmi/2014/373921/.

*New paper – Wildlife Decline and Social Conflict (2014), Brashares JS, Abrahms B, Fiorella KJ, Golden CD, Hojnowski CE, Marsh RA, McCauley DJ, Nuñez TA, Seto K and Withey L. Science 345 (6195): 376-378. doi.org/10.1126/science.1256734 – U.S. President Obama's recent creation of an interagency task force on wildlife trafficking reflects growing political awareness of linkages between wildlife conservation and national security. However, this and similar new initiatives in Europe and Asia promote a “war on poachers” that overlooks the ecological, social, and economic complexity of wildlife-related conflict. Input from multiple disciplines is essential to formulate policies that address drivers of wildlife decline and contexts from which associated conflicts ignite. See http://www.sciencemag.org/content/345/6195/376.

*New book – Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour of Wild Cattle: Implications for Conservation (2014), Melletti M and Burton J (eds), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 608 pp. – Covering all 13 species of wild cattle, this comprehensive book brings together the contributions of leading international experts on the biology, evolution, conservation status and management of the tribe Bovini. Of particular interest to AHEAD readers is the chapter on “Livestock and buffalo (Syncerus caffer) interfaces in Africa: ecology of disease transmission and implications for conservation and development” authored by R Kock, M Kock, M Garine-Wichatitsky, P Chardonnet and A Caron. For more information and to pre-order, see: http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/life-sciences/animal-behaviour/ecology-evolution-and-behaviour-wild-cattle-implications-conservation.

*New book – Transboundary Governance of Biodiversity (2014), Kotzé LJ and Marauhn T (eds), Brill Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands, 373 pp. – With a North-South focus and a legal lens infused with multi-disciplinary regulatory dimensions, this book offers a comprehensive analysis of international and regional environmental law frameworks applicable to the transboundary governance of biodiversity. Drawing on their experience as lawyers, political scientists and natural resource management experts, the authors provide a critique and contemporary perspectives on what has become one of the most challenging aspects of global environmental governance in the Anthropocene: effective biodiversity conservation in times of unprecedented environmental crises. For more information, see http://www.brill.com/products/book/transboundary-governance-biodiversity.

*NEAT Consortium Network launched – There is a growing realisation and hence demand for the application of economics in animal health decision making, but economic tools and concepts on incentives around decision making are rarely well taught to animal health professionals. The NEAT consortium aims to strengthen and enhance the use of economics in animal health in higher education and professional environments by creating educational materials to promote the best use of economics by animal health professionals and by enabling a wider core of people to teach economics. NEAT (“Networking to enhance the use of economics in animal health education, research and policy making in Europe and beyond”) is a 3-year project co-funded by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union. For more information and to sign up to receive newsletters, visit http://www.neat-network.eu/.


*Symposium of Contemporary Conservation Practice, Howick, South Africa, November 3 - 7, 2014 – This symposium offers a platform for the conservation community to share and explore issues and recent developments in the science and practice of conservation, and in understanding and communicating the value of biodiversity to society. It seeks to identify solutions to critical issues and to impact policy in order to enhance conservation efforts – in Africa and beyond. It also aims to promote partnerships between government agencies, conservation authorities, non-governmental organisations, legal practitioners, communicators and other relevant professionals and stakeholders in order to address the contemporary conservation challenges of our world. Registration is open now. For more information, see http://symposium.kznwildlife.com/.

*3rd International One Health Congress, Amsterdam, Netherlands, March 15 - 18, 2015 – Prevention at the source is key in controlling (infectious) diseases that have a growing impact on humans, animals and their ecosystems. The 3rd International One Health Congress will therefore focus on how science can help in preventing emerging and re-emerging (infectious) diseases. Through a special Science – Policy interface, policy makers and international organizations may translate the latest scientific advancements into preventive measures. The scientific program will be organized in three sessions, each covering a specific range of topics in relation to Prevention at the source. The abstract submission deadline is November 1, 2014, and early registration ends January 20, 2015. For more information, see http://www.iohc2015.com/.


*Funded MA and PhD Research Positions in Political Ecology / Conservation with a Focus on National Parks in Canada, Southeast Asia, and Southern Africa – Drs. Robin Roth and Elizabeth Lunstrum (Department of Geography, York University, Toronto, Canada) are recruiting several MA and PhD students beginning September 2015 as part of a funded project, “Canadian Conservation in Global Context (CCGC).” Students will be provided with funding, guidance and opportunities for both in-depth fieldwork and research dissemination on a multi-site research project. The over-arching study examines the transformation of conservation practice focusing in particular on: (1) expanding market-based interests in parks / privatization of conservation services; (2) conservation across international borders and influence of international actors; and (3) collaboration with local and indigenous communities. Applicants must have an appropriate background in Human Geography; Political Ecology; Environmental Studies; Anthropology; Canadian, African, or Southeast Asian Studies; or a related discipline. Applicants with previous research experience and/or a 4.0 GPA will be particularly competitive. Interested applicants should send a letter of interest and current CV to Robin Roth (rothr@yorku.ca) and Elizabeth Lunstrum (lunstrum@yorku.ca) by October 30, 2014. The deadline for admission to York’s Graduate Program in Geography is January 14, 2015. More information on the department can be found at: http://www.yorku.ca/gradgeog/.

Again, if you have items for the next AHEAD Update, please just let us know– thanks.

"What is AHEAD?" Animal & Human Health for the Environment And Development was launched at the 2003 IUCN World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa. By assembling a ‘dream team’ of veterinarians, ecologists, biologists, social and economic scientists, agriculturists, wildlife managers, public health specialists and others from across East and southern Africa, the Wildlife Conservation Society, IUCN, and a range of partners tapped into some of the most innovative conservation and development thinking on the African continent- and AHEAD was born. Since then, a range of programs addressing conservation, health, and concomitant development challenges have been launched with the support of a growing list of implementing partners and donors who see the intrinsic value of what WCS has called the “One World, One Health” approach. AHEAD is a convening, facilitative mechanism, working to create enabling environments that allow different and often competing sectors to literally come to the same table and find collaborative ways forward to address challenges at the interface of wildlife health, livestock health, and human health and livelihoods. We convene stakeholders, help delineate conceptual frameworks to underpin planning, management and research, and provide technical support and resources for projects stakeholders identify as priorities. AHEAD recognizes the need to look at health and disease not in isolation but within a given region's environmental and socioeconomic context.

All the best,

Steve & Shirley