Southern Cone Conservation Leadership Initiative
The Southern Cone Conservation Leadership Initiative (SCCL) is an interdisciplinary iniative of UF's Tropical Conservation and Development Program (TCD) that promotes development of future conservation leaders in southern South America and advances biodiversity conservation, management of parks and reserves, and sustainable resource use in this region.
The Southern Cone of South America, comprised of Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay, has a spectacular diversity of landscapes and fish and wildlife resources, many of which are severely threaten by human activities. At the same time, the economic base of Southern Cone countries depends on natural resources – productive grazing lands, water and soils for agriculture, national parks, and abundant fisheries resources. The conservation challenges facing the Southern Cone are greatly exacerbated by a shortage of trained conservationists to address these complex and rapidly growing challenges.
SCCL links with partner organizations in the Southern Cone to train graduate students and conservation professionals, build conservation programs in universities in the Southern Cone, and conduct integrated training and research that serves as a platform for informed policy and management for biodiversity, wildlands, and sustainable resource use.
SCCL alumnus brings ecotoxicology to the forefront of wildlife conservation in the Southern Cone
Ignacio Rodriguez Jorquera, SCCL alumnus and member of the Southern Cone Working Group, helped lead the course "Nuevas Tecnologías Aplicadas a estudios ecotoxicológicos en animals silvestres” (New technologies applied to ecotoxicological studies in wildlife), held at the Veterinarian School of Universidad Nacional del Litoral de Santa Fe, Argentina. Collaborative teaching is one of the activities of members of the Southern Cone Working Group (a Southern Cone-based group initiated with SCCL) aimed at generating South-South working collaborations to improve wildlife conservation in the Southern Cone. Moreover, because ecotoxicology and effects of pollutants on wildlife often are not considered in traditional wildlife conservation in Latin America, Ignacio is leading incorporation of these problems in conservation agendas and research programs. This work included participation in the 2015 Symposium " Pollution in Latin American Protected Areas: Challenges and Opportunities in Protecting Biodiversity and Ecosystems” held in Buenos Aires in the Latin-American SETAC (Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry) congress leading to the 2016 publication of the paper "Latin American Protected Areas: Protected from Chemical Pollution?” (IEAM 2016).
Southern cone students and alumni lead workshops for women in environmental sciences and sustainability in Ecuador and Argentina
Cristina Nuñez-Godoy and Marcela Marquez, with the support of the Tropical Conservation and Development Program (TCD), organized and led the 2nd and 3rd workshops in a series entitled "Women Scholars in Environmental Sciences and Sustainability: Opportunities and Challenges in Latin America” in Quito, Ecuador (August 7th) and Puerto Iguazú, Argentina (September 17th), respectively. SCCL alumni, Antonieta Eugren Ibacache and Viviana Rojas Bonzi, also helped plan and facilitate the workshops. Women from across Latin America participated, enthusiastically sharing their experiences and ideas regarding gender-related issues faced by women working in sustainability and environmental sciences in Latin America. The workshops preceded the XII International Congress on Wildlife Management in Latin America held in Ecuador, and the VI Binational Meeting of Ecology of Argentina and Chile, held in Argentina.
Workshop participants in Ecuador.
Addressing the gap between science and conservation practice in the Southern Cone
Southern Cone graduate students Felipe Hernández, Maria Laura Gelin, Cristina Nuñez-Godoy and Claudio Moraga, and SCCL alumni Mauricio Nuñez-Regueiro and Viviana Rojas organized and led a roundtable discussion "Challenges and solutions to connect science and practice for the conservation of the Southern Cone of South America” at the VI Binational Meeting of Ecology of Argentina and Chile in September 2016. The roundtable gathered more than 150 participants including scientists, government agency personnel, conservation practitioners and students who identified challenges and solutions to overcome the science-practice gap both at local and regional levels.
More news from SCCL graduate students and alumni
- Marcela Márquez presented the talk "Future scenarios as a tool for fostering conservation actions in agricultural settings” in the session Ecology and Education at the VI Binational Meeting of Ecology Argentina and Chile. Also, Marcela was elected president of the Tropical Conservation and Development Student Group for 2016-2017.
- Felipe Hernandez presented the talk ‘Evidence of pseudorabies virus (PrV) shedding in feral swine (Sus scrofa) populations of Florida (U.S.)” in the session Environment and Health at the VI Binational Meeting of Ecology Argentina and Chile. He is at the University of Florida learning research approaches that he can apply in Chile.
- María Laura Gelin presented the poster "Puma response to seasonal migration of guanaco in Argentina” in the XII International Congress on Wildlife Management in Latin America, and the VI Binational Meeting of Ecology of Argentina and Chile.
- Mauricio Nuñez-Regueiro presented the poster "The payment for ecosystem services program in Argentina might direct deforestation towards low conservation priority zones in the Chaco forest” in the VI Binational Meeting of Ecology of Argentina and Chile.
Southern Cone student receives the Outstanding International Student Award from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences!
For two years running, the Outstanding International Student Award from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences has been awarded to a graduate student in the Southern Cone Conservation Leadership Initiative. Congratulations to Ph.D. candidate, Marcela Marquez, awardee for 2015! In her home country of Chile, Marcela has worked to implement sustainable development and conservation programs by organizing and facilitating participatory projects with local communities and environmental education initiatives. Among her many leadership roles at University of Florida, Marcela helped develop and lead the 2015 workshop: “Women Scholars in Environmental Sciences and Sustainability: Opportunities and Challenges in Latin America,” funded by the US National Science Foundation. Marcela’s Ph.D. research focuses on the Mediterranean ecosystem in Chile, a global conservation priority because of its rarity and endemism. She is investigating individual and institutional factors that promote adoption of conservation practices among winegrowers in Chile, and evaluating impacts of an emerging initiative, the Wine, Climate Change, and Biodiversity Program that fosters pro-environmental behavior in the threatened Mediterranean ecosystem.
Ph.D. candidate Mauricio Nunez-Regueiro of Argentina received the Outstanding International Student Award of CALS in 2014.
SCCL welcomes Argentine Fulbright/CONICET scholar - Carlos de Angelo
Carlos is a researcher in the CONICET Subtropical Biology Institute in Iguazu, Argentina. He specializes in landscape-scale analyses, habitat models, and use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for understanding the key threats for endangered species in the subtropical region of South America. As a participant of the Proyecto Yaguareté since its origins in 2002, Carlos conducted his Ph.D. research on effects of changes in the Atlantic Forest on distribution jaguars and pumas and developed land-planning tools for preserving habitat of these species in northeastern Argentina. Carlos continues to work on monitoring and conservation of these large felids in the north of Argentina, and he is conducting large-scale studies of the distribution and abundance of a broad set of wildlife species (potential prey species of jaguars) at the Iberá Wetlands in Corrientes, Argentina, where there is a plan for reintroducing jaguars in the near future. Carlos will be a visiting scholar in the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation until mid-December 2015. http://www.ibs-conicet.gob.ar/inv-deangelo/; Yaguareté project http://proyectoyaguarete.org.ar/; Iberá project http://www.proyectoibera.org/