Abstract Listing by Session


18 - Policy & CBD

Salon 18      Wednesday, 10:30 - 12:30

18.1   10:30  What Do Social Movements Have to Teach Us?--Learning From Movements Against Apartheid and War, and for Democarcy, Civil Rights & Others Johns, D *, Portland State University
As the results from Copenhagen suggest, conservationists’ influence continues to lag significantly behind stated goals, despite significant achievements. The human footprint continues to grow and on a finite planet that means the loss of biodiversity and ecological richness. What can conservationists do to increase their effectiveness? Among other things they can evaluate the lessons of important social movements—labor, anti-apartheid, pro-democracy, civil rights, and women’s—for their applicability to conservation. They can also take better stock of their own history of successes and failures. Research into other movements and conservation history suggests that the most important factors in achieving goals are building the capacity to reward and punish decision makers and the willingness to use it, combining outsider and insider strategies, creating organizations that are communities and not just organizations, perseverance, flexibility in means while maintaining a clear and uncompromising focus on goals, effective use of divisions among opponents and elites, and taking advantage of crises.
18.2   10:45  How long is perpetuity? Ginsberg, J.R.*, Wildlife Conservation Society
Understanding the time frame over which human actions are valid, or can be enforced or predicted, is critical to conservation planning, and to an understanding of the value and permanence of field-based observations and modeling. In both the social and natural sciences, the time frame over which actions are valid is often stated, or assumed, to be “in perpetuity.” In reality, perpetuity has a length that can be measured and or inferred and is almost always significantly less than what most of us would consider “forever.” This presentation explores how concepts of perpetuity translate into reality and what this means for our ability to plan and manage our conservation efforts, effectively, into the future. In this work I assess the time frame and accuracy over which different biological endeavors are measured (e.g. the predictive values of Population Viabilty Assessment; the length of long-term field studies of species, populations, or ecosystems; accuracy of various models projecting human population growth, deforestation etc. produced in the 1970’s and 1980’s, etc) and compare this to the time frame over which legal instruments and policy efforts related to conservation (easements, leaseholds, treaties, etc.) remain in force. My finding is that in both the biological and socio-legal realms, perpetuity last for 25-100 years, and rarely can be measured, or projected, beyond this.
18.3   11:00  Global Science and Global Policy: A Survey of Collaborative Networks in Conservation Biology Nyssa, Z*, University of Chicago
Conservation biology is unusual in that it has explicitly ethical objectives: global biodiversity is considered to be a good in its own right and the scientific study, and protection, of biodiversity itself a moral imperative (Soule 1985). Daly (1999) infamously dubbed this uneasy relation between scientific and ethical purposes conservation biology’s “lurking inconsistency:” biologists teach blind natural selection to students on Mondays while nonetheless pleading with legislators to save particular species on Tuesdays. When asked, many scientists convey a necessary the role for values in science, but recent surveys document conservation biologists’ uneasiness with policy advocacy (Takacs 1996, Steel 2004, Scott 2007). However, a detailed picture of the actual activities and affiliations of professional conservation biologists is still missing. As a step to bridging this gap, this talk reports on interviews and a survey conducted July-November 2008 with members of the Society for Conservation Biology as well as an online census of conservation projects. Our results provide a more nuanced picture of the work of conservation biologists, who simultaneously occupy a range of roles (median = 10.08), particularly in non-government organizations with explicitly advocacy-oriented missions. Through their professional activities, conservation researchers articulate a range of standpoints toward the “lurking inconsistency” that complicate neat pure-applied and science-policy divides.
18.4   11:15  National growth of protected area systems over time – evidence for hot moments for conservation Radeloff, VC*, UW-Madison ; Dubinin, MS, UW-Madison; Pidgeon, AM, UW-Madison; Butsic, V, UW-Madison; Kuemmerle, T, UW-Madison
Conservation biology has excelled in identifying conservation hotspots, and conservation planning has developed many tools to select protected areas in space. Much less is known about what constitutes hot moments for conservation, i.e., times when protected area networks grow rapidly. Our goal was to examine trends in the total area protected for each country across the globe to a) test if there are hot moments for conservation, and b) identify conditions favoring hot moments. We analyzed the World Database on Protected Areas, and calculated the cumulative area in IUCN categories I – IV for each country from 1872 to 2009. We found strong evidence for the existence of hot moments for conservation, i.e., short periods during which a large portion of a country’s protected areas were created, often followed by decades of stagnancy. In many developing countries, an initial burst of conservation during the colonial era was followed by relatively few new protected areas until the 1980s, and then again rapid growth. In contrast, many developed countries showed little recent protected area growth (e.g., 97% of the protected area in the U.S. was already protected in 1980). Periods of rapid societal change (e.g., the reunification of Germany) often – but not always –coincided with rapid expansion of protected area networks. Conservation efforts must learn to identify hot moments for conservation, because missing these windows of opportunity can be costly.
18.5   11:30  Global-scale evidence that environmental degradation worsens human health Bradshaw, J.A.*, The Environment Institute & School or Earth & Environmental Sciences ; Yang, G.-J., Jiangsu Institute of Parasitic Diseases; Brook, B.W., The Environment Institute & School or Earth & Environmental Sciences; Zhou, X.-N., China Centre for Disease Control; McMichael, A.J., National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health; Butler, C.D., National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health; Giam, X., Princeton University; Sodhi, N.S., Princeton University
A compelling argument for protecting natural ecosystems is that environmental degradation damages human health. Although there are many examples of how pollution and other forms of environmental degradation negatively affect human health at a local scale, no global evidence yet exists. I examine the relationship between some key indicators of human health (Disability-Adjusted Life-Years, infant mortality, life expectancy, and deaths arising from infectious and non-infectious disease) and environmental quality (habitat conversion, water and air quality, CO2 emissions, combined indices), using data from over 100 countries. Reduced environmental quality correlates positively with disease prevalence and death rates in humans (e.g. a 10% reduction in water quality is predicted to kill another 35.5 million infants/yr globally, and a 10% reduction in air quality will kill another 343,000 people/yr from cancer), after controlling for population growth and density, per capita wealth and expenditure in health services. Healthy natural ecosystems therefore probably buffer human populations from life-threatening disease and increase life expectancy.
18.6   11:45  Estimates and trends of illegal wildlife trade in the world Asmüssen, MV*, Centro de Ecología, IVIC ; Ferrer-Paris, JR, Centro de Ecología, IVIC; Rodríguez, JP, Centro de Ecología, IVIC
After habitat loss, the greatest threat to biodiversity is the over-exploitation of wildlife for commercial purposes. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), signed by 172 countries, regulates the trade of 34,000 species. Illegal trade, however, is still widespread. We conducted a systematic review using the databases of CITES and TRAFFIC, as well as the scientific literature, to assess general patterns of illegal trade for birds, mammals and reptiles, and estimate its impact over wild populations. We developed a linear model and performed a meta-analysis. We found that 2468 species of birds, mammals and reptiles are traded illegally worldwide, and estimated a total of 13,015,230 to 22,732,899 individuals/year. Previous estimates, which focus solely on international wildlife trade, are an order of magnitude smaller. Illegal domestic trade is at least equally important as international trade, but is largely underreported in traffic databases. The meta-analysis was applied to 16 studies that present quantitative estimates of population size, before and after the impact of trade. The results indicate that in these cases trade caused a mean 60-70% decline of wild populations. Significant information gaps remain, however, both geographically and taxonomically. To effectively address the impact of illegal trade on wild populations of species, global policies must combine interventions at the national and international level.
18.7   12:00  How to obtain better expert judgments Burgman, M.*, University of Melbourne
Expert judgments are pervasive in conservation biology, from listing decisions to estimating model parameters. Yet there are no comprehensive guidelines in conservation biology that describe how best to obtain them. Evidence from cognitive psychology and management science suggests that structured methods for expert elicitation will substantially improve the accuracy and calibration of expert opinion about facts. This presentation outlines the steps in acquiring and combining judgments from experts about facts that provides better-calibrated and more accurate estimates than naïve elicitation. It uses a 4-step elicitation procedure, embedded within a modified Delphi-technique, and relying of frequency formats for questions. It can be used in small local groups or large groups linked by phone and the web. It is designed to provide for eliciting judgments about ‘best’ estimates and their uncertainty, partitioning lack of knowledge and natural variation. Perhaps most importantly, it generates group estimates that outperform the best-performing individual expert.
18.8   12:15  Making sense of decision-support tools and exposing gaps for applying conservation science to decision-making Savy, CE*, Conservation International ; Semroc, B, Conservation International
A bewildering diversity of tools has been developed to assist industry and development decision-makers in identifying and managing their biodiversity and ecosystem risks. To make sense of this landscape, various typologies of tools, often complimentary and informed by varying objectives, have been suggested. The majority of these have however been aimed at promoting understanding and uptake by users based on existing tools, rather than systematic evaluation of critical gaps in the depth and sustainability of scientific information that make many of these tools difficult to apply in practice. This may result in a false sense of security for decision-makers who rely on such tools while suppressing the support of data collection that could improve implementation. In this presentation, we present a novel but complimentary typology that highlights these alternative gaps. This assessment examines 3 broad types of tools: Standards, frameworks and method tools; data exposure and interpretation tools; and model or scenario-based tools. We illustrate the typology with examples in practice or currently in development and highlight recommendations for improved decision-support to industry and development decision-makers.