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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA

Biodiversity Modeling at DAPA Stunned Conservation Planners in Africa

Last week, Jeff Price, a WWF scientist member of The Wallace Initiative had a meeting in Tanzania, with conservationists and policy makers, pretty much similar to the meeting we held at CIAT a couple of months ago. During that meeting, Jeff used much of our modeling outputs to teach how biodiversity conservation should be done during the 21st century. He aimed to train the WWF Coastal East Africa group (Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique).

He used some of our crop niche modeling results as well as results on the impacts of climate change on plant biodiversity.  A brief on the meeting on Jeff’s words:

“Everyone could see the utility and wanted more.  We talked at length about how this all fit together for the Ruvuma area and national park.  It looks to be one of the refugia but there are many people living in the national park.

The EcoCrop maps suggest that crops that elephants eat would have greater likelihood of high suitability in 2050 but the crops people in the park rely on would become less reliable (based on suitability).  This might force people to illegal timber harvest.

We discussed how the maps provided insights for adaptation strategies (e.g., beginning to shift to a more reliable crop).  Rather than be reactive and accept the possibility of crop failures, we can start being proactive.”

Our analyses and results, and, of course, Jeff’s very bright speech literally stunned conservationists, who were really eager with the techniques used and the results themselves. This opened a big door for future collaboration and convinced us: we’re on the right track!

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