Representative Research Initiatives
Human Dimension of Natural Resource Management
The initiative currently focuses on research and development of educational and communications programming about natural resources for a variety of audiences and settings, including parks, resource agencies, nature centers, zoos, community organizations, schools, and the media. In the U.S, a $2.3 million program was administered by the PSTC to develop and enhance graduate training in conservation and sustainable development at 36 participating universities. Faculty and students have been involved in a variety of research projects, such as:
- an assessment of national environmental education needs in Belize
- conservation education and ecotourism workshops in Costa Rica
- development of a community conservation program for a Brazilian national park
- research on the use of zoos for conservation education in Columbia
- design of monitoring and evaluation of conservation programs in Kenya and Zambia.
- assessment of community-based conservation programs in Uganda.
Southern Cone Initiative
The montane forests, low-land subtropical and south-temperate forests, savannas, and arid areas of the Southern Cone of South America possess a unique and highly diverse flora and fauna. The threats to this region are equally diverse. Deforestation, desertification, exotic species, and over-harvest of native species pose serious risks to the ecological integrity and long-term productivity of the Southern Cone.
The Southern Cone Initiative focuses on:
- building interdisciplinary conservation programs at universities and biological stations in the Southern Cone;
- development of collaborative research programs between management agencies and educational institutions;
- enhancement of linkages among Southern Cone Countries to address common problems.
The PSTC student and faculty research in the Southern Cone includes a broad range of topics such as the ecological role of bats in montane forests, effects of traditional management practices on semi-arid landscapes, the economics of wildlife harvest, development of a forest bird population model for conservation planning in pastoral landscapes, and development of sustainable agricultural research program.
Mammalian Ecology and Conservation Initiative
This research initiative includes studies on the ecology, behavior, and conservation of mammalian carnivores in India, Brazil, Venezuela, and the Central African Republic. As with all PSTC initiatives, activities include research, training, and institution-building in the tropics. Research projects have included:
- abundance and demographic structure of prey populations and impact of predation by tiger, leopard, and dhole on the herbivore community in southern India.
- interspecific relationships among the carnivore community in Brazil, with emphasis on the ecology of the jaguar, ocelot, and crab-eating foxes in Igaucu National Park.
- ecology and conservation of small carnivores, principally the assemblage of viverrids (civets, genets, mongooses) in the Central African Republic.
- critical variables for coexistence of cattle ranching with jaguars and pumas, in Venezuela.