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Thursday 25 April 2019, 1.00PM

Speaker(s): Mr Rob Critchlow and Dr Sarah Scriven

Sarah Scriven

Enhancing biodiversity and rainforest connectivity in tropical agricultural landscapes

Agricultural expansion has reduced the extent of natural habitats globally, and more than 12% of the Earth’s surface is now under crop production. In tropical regions, this has resulted in the widespread loss, degradation and fragmentation of rainforest habitat. With demands for croplands expected to increase, especially in the tropics, decisions about how best to conserve biodiversity and rainforest connectivity are of critical importance.

Conservation of biodiversity in fragmented rainforest landscapes that face pressure from both land-use and climate change requires robust habitat networks that connect areas of remaining forest, and my research focuses on finding ways to enhance rainforest connectivity through metapopulation modelling and field studies in Southeast Asia.

Here, I will present examples from both my published and ongoing projects at York and demonstrate how we integrate the work in our lab into effective conservation policy. This will include policy-focused research as part of the SEnSOR (Socially and Environmentally Sustainable Oil Palm Research) programme, examining the environmental impact of the RSPO’s (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certification criteria, and research funded by the Rainforest Trust that will help to strategically create new protected areas in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.

Rob Critchlow

Making conservation research matter in East Africa

East African ecosystems are some of the most biodiverse areas of the globe, particularly the Albertine Rift and savanna regions which are home to iconic megafauna, but also equally important to millions of people who rely on natural resources for their livelihoods. However anthropogenic and climatic changes are threatening these ecosystems due to habitat loss, fragmentation and more variable and extreme weather conditions. These areas are often resource limited, so to ensure efficient conservation action and management, it is important to determine where and when ecosystems are most threatened to enable more effective conservation action and help reduce biodiversity declines both within and outside protected areas. 

In my talk I will present examples of my current work into tackling two conservation issues and how the information gained can be used to practically to improve wildlife and ecosystem conservation. The examples include 1) how to use unstructured (very messy) data to predict where illegal activities occur in protected areas and how conservation managers can best use this information, and 2) research into savanna degradation, including an ecosystem scale assessment of the Northern Tanzanian rangelands and how best to restore grasslands back to suitable grazing for livestock and wildlife.

Location: Dianna Bowles Lecture Theatre (K018)