Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Targeting enforcement where needed most in Africa's heart of biodiversity

Date:
March 26, 2014
Source:
Wildlife Conservation Society
Summary:
Scientists seeking a more efficient way of protecting the heart of Africa's wildlife -- the Greater Virunga Landscape -- have developed a method to make the most of limited enforcement resources, according to a new study.

Park guards on patrol in the Greater Virunga Landscape. Scientists seeking a more efficient way of protecting the heart of Africa's wildlife have developed a method to make the most of limited enforcement resources, specifically by channeling data on wildlife sightings and park guard patrolling routes into spatial planning software. Conservationists hope that this cost-effective method for maximizing the deterrence effect of patrolling will help protect Africa's threatened wildlife from poaching and other illegal activities.
Credit: A. Plumptre/Wildlife Conservation Society

Scientists seeking a more efficient way of protecting the heart of Africa's wildlife -- the Greater Virunga Landscape -- have developed a method to make the most of limited enforcement resources, according to a new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society, the University of Queensland, Imperial College London, and the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Related Articles


By channeling data on wildlife sightings and park guard patrolling routes into spatial planning software, conservationists have devised a cost-effective method for maximizing the deterrence effect of patrolling to protect Africa's threatened wildlife from poaching and other illegal activities.

The enforcement-targeting method is described in a study appearing in the current edition of the Journal of Applied Ecology.

"The Greater Virunga Landscape contains many natural wonders, but resources for enforcement across this huge area are limited," said Dr. Andrew Plumptre, lead author of the study and Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Albertine Rift Program. "Our spatial analysis allows us to identify weaknesses in current efforts, which we can use to redirect enforcement and increase efficiency and conservation impact."

Stretching through Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Greater Virunga Landscape is one of the most biodiverse places on Earth and is home to all of the world's mountain gorilla populations. Much of the region's mountains, forests, lakes, and savannas are contained in a total of 13 protected areas covering 13,800 square kilometers. The region also contains populations of chimpanzees, elephants, hippopotamus, lions, and many other species.

The authors of the study conducted their analysis by first determining the distribution of key species and habitats. Data on the distribution of threats was then added, followed by estimates of current patrol effort and the cost of patrolling parks, protected areas, and other wildlife-rich regions effectively. All data layers were then used to conduct a spatial prioritization to minimize the cost of patrols and maximize the protection of wildlife species.

What the authors found was that only 22 percent of the Greater Virunga Landscape is being effectively patrolled at present. "The key problem is trying to ascertain where to send patrols to make them effective," said Dr. James Watson, who holds a joint WCS-University of Queensland position. "Our research has shown that existing patrols are not frequent enough to be effective at deterring poaching and other illegal activities beyond 3 kilometers from a patrol post."

"We discovered that careful planning of patrol activity can increase its effectiveness while reducing costs by up to 63 percent," added Prof. Hugh Possingham, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions.

In addition to helping wildlife managers and park authorities to redirect enforcement efforts into areas requiring protection, the method -- the authors say -- will also help reduce the cost of achieving conservation goals.

"Knowing where to put your enforcement efforts to make the most difference in protecting wildlife and natural resources is a huge advantage for conservationists," said Mr. Aggrey Rwetsiba, Senior Coordinator Ecological Monitoring and Research at the Uganda Wildlife Authority. "The method offered here can improve patrol coverage and increase deterrence in this vital region of Africa."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wildlife Conservation Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Andrew J. Plumptre, Richard A. Fuller, Aggrey Rwetsiba, Fredrick Wanyama, Deo Kujirakwinja, Margaret Driciru, Grace Nangendo, James E. M. Watson, Hugh P. Possingham. Efficiently targeting resources to deter illegal activities in protected areas. Journal of Applied Ecology, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12227

Cite This Page:

Wildlife Conservation Society. "Targeting enforcement where needed most in Africa's heart of biodiversity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140326182242.htm>.
Wildlife Conservation Society. (2014, March 26). Targeting enforcement where needed most in Africa's heart of biodiversity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140326182242.htm
Wildlife Conservation Society. "Targeting enforcement where needed most in Africa's heart of biodiversity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140326182242.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Antarctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Ever

Antarctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Ever

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) A new study of nearly two decades of satellite data shows Antarctic ice shelves are losing more mass faster every year. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Homes Near Landslide in Washington

Raw: Homes Near Landslide in Washington

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) Aerial footage from KOMO shows several homes near a landslide in Washington. KOMO reports that at least one of the homes has been damaged. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Clean-Up Follows Deadly Weather in Okla.

Clean-Up Follows Deadly Weather in Okla.

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency for 25 Oklahoma counties after powerful storms rumbled across the state causing one death, numerous injuries and widespread damage. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least Four Dead After Floods in Northern Chile

At Least Four Dead After Floods in Northern Chile

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) At least four people have been killed by severe flooding in northern Chile after rains battered the Andes mountains and swept into communities below. Rob Muir reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins