Case study

Improving the environmental management of tropical forests

We have produced innovative tools and data to improve the environmental management of threatened ecosystems, benefiting these areas and people who inhabit them.

Udzungwa Red Colobus Monkey in the Udzungwa Mountains. Photo credit: Dr Andrew Marshall.
Udzungwa Red Colobus Monkey, Tanzania. Photo credit: Dr Andrew Marshall.

The issue

The Magombera Forest has a plant community found nowhere else in the world alongside many globally threatened species. However, it has faced extreme levels of illegal tree-cutting and was predicted to disappear by 2018 if preventative action was not taken.

By assessing the impact of tropical forest damage on plant and animal biodiversity, population density and biomass we can demonstrate the negative effects of inadequately protected areas on animals, plants and people.

The research

Our research aims to measure and improve the management of threatened ecosystems.

We test new methods for tropical forest restoration and forest landscape restoration planning in East Africa, Australia and the broader tropics. The data collected highlights the value of conservation and the need for environmental management of threatened forests. 

Our work also assesses less direct conservation challenges for securing government, institutional and public support for conservation. This research includes surveys of local village wellbeing and welfare alongside protected forests, and assessment of the effectiveness of the world’s zoos in funding conservation, breeding threatened species and educating the public

The outcome

Our research has significantly improved environmental management policy and application.

We have developed tools and data for the evidence-based management of threatened ecosystems to benefit both wildlife and people.

We have influenced Government Secretary of State standards in the UK and joint government-NGO forest restoration strategies across a 40,000 square kilometre region of Tanzania.

Our data and tools have been widely adopted outside of academia, leading to improved management planning and monitoring in protected areas and East African landscapes.

The work has reduced illegal activities and has improved wildlife populations and ecosystem health with increasing support from local people. 

Research findings have played a significant part in securing the future of the forest, but forming a collaboration between charitable organisations, government and universities, we have a much better chance of conserving this important landscape and the animal and plant life that exist there.

Gordon Gibb
Chief Executive Officer, Flamingo Land
Featured researcher
Andrew Marshall

Andrew Marshall

Dr Marshall’s expertise in conservation led him to be selected as expert advisor on conservation to the UK Government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

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