Abstract Listing by Session

Communication, outreach and education

Marlborough Room 2      Friday, December 9th 2011

Presentation #1   10:30  Gender, Social Capital and Participation in Sea Turtle Conservation in NE Brazil Rinkus, MA*, Michigan State University
Fishermen have historically been identified as the prime threat to sea turtles, and therefore the prime target of conservation programs. Although fishing in the open ocean is primarily male-dominated, women exert agency in other spheres that are likely to affect conservation initiatives. This study explores the role gender and social capital play in access to resources, perception, and decision-making in relation to sea turtle conservation along the northern coast of the state of Bahia, Brazil. Using a mixed-methods approach to data collection, this research presents social capital profiles for men and women based on levels, networks and nodes of participation in the community. By examining differences in participation this research deconstructs the role of gender relations on household and community-level decision-making, and the direct and indirect effects this may have on sea turtle conservation, as well as the differential effects of sea turtle conservation programs on local communities. Preliminary findings suggest that men's networks provide more access to economic incentives from resource use and protection. An evidence-backed assessment of the relationship between gender, social capital and decision-making could be very beneficial in reshaping conservation programs and increasing participation and understanding among men and women.
Presentation #2   10:45  Using the theory of planned behaviour to assess the effectiveness of training on cultivation of over-harvested species Sophie Williams*, Bangor University and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew ; James Gibbons, Bangor University; Julia Jones, Bangor University; Colin Clubbe, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Cultivation of wild harvested products has been proposed as a way of reducing over-exploitation of wild populations. However this will only be effective if it changes individual’s behaviour. Using the theory of planned behaviour as a framework, we assessed the impact of a community training programme aiming to encourage cultivation of an over-harvested palm species (xaté - Chamaedorea ernesti-augustii). We surveyed untrained and trained participants, focusing on three primary predictors of behaviour: attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioural control. Regardless of training, participants perceived xaté cultivation as a profitable use of land. However, participants reported two barriers to cultivation; access to seeds and lack of local markets. Increased knowledge and perceived behavioural control among trained participants resulted in increased cultivation. Our results demonstrate training can facilitate development of skills and technical knowledge required to initiate cultivation of a new species. Training also increases perceived behavioural control. However, behavioural changes are unlikely to occur if limitations to implementing the behaviour remain. We suggest the potential barriers to implementing a new behaviour should be assessed prior to initiating a conservation intervention such as training.
Presentation #3   11:00  Engaging stakeholders in the selection of flagship species Veríssimo, D*, Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology ; Smith, RJ, Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology; Pongiluppi, T, SAVE Brasil; Santos, C, SAVE Brasil; Develey, PF, SAVE Brasil; MacMillan, DC, Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology
Flagship species are instrumental in raising awareness and changing behaviour for biodiversity conservation. However most flagships are selected without consulting the stakeholders they attempt to influence, which can seriously hamper their effectiveness. To tackle this issue we developed a framework based on social marketing and environmental economics which aims at understanding the values key stakeholders hold for different species. This framework was applied to select a bird flagship species for the Atlantic forest in the Serra do Urubu, Northeast Brazil. Through the use of 438 choice experiment questionnaires, we found that selected stakeholders first prioritized aesthetically-pleasing species, followed by species with small populations, high visibility and those which could not be kept as pets. We then used these four criteria to produce a candidate list of four potential flagship species by linking this information with the profiles of the 221 bird species found in the Serra do Urubu. Finally, we conducted a survey where stakeholders chose between the different flagship candidates, which allowed us to identify the most popular flagship species and understand more about the trade-offs that influence conservation decision-making. This study highlights how social marketing and environmental economics contribute towards an active engagement of stakeholders in the design of behaviour change and awareness raising campaigns.
Presentation #4   11:15  Block Managements Areas: Engaging Agriculturalists in Conservation of the Yellowstone River’s Ecosystem Services Horton, Cristi C.*, Tarleton State University ; Peterson, Markus J., Texas A&M University; Hall, Damon, University of Maine-Orono; Gilbertz, Susan, Montana State Univerisity-Billings
Humans are one of many species benefitting from services provided by healthy riparian ecosystems. Managers of river resources are challenged to meet human resource needs, while meeting the needs of other species that make up the river ecosystem. This paper examines agriculturalists’ communication about conservation of the Yellowstone River ecosystem services. Interviews were conducted in seven eastern counties of the river corridor to discover agriculturalists’ perspectives of the riparian zone and the critical issues regarding management of the river’s resources. We used qualitative content analysis to identify and categorize key ecosystem services that emerged from agriculturalists’ discourse about Block Management Areas. We found: provisioning, cultural, and regulating ecosystem services were critical to agriculturalists’ sense of well being; agriculturalists feared being restricted from the use of ecosystem services more than they feared the loss of services due to degradation; and Block Management Areas offered a way to conserve ecosystem services while navigating the relationship between private property rights and public access. Based on our results, we offer policy makers and resource managers a set of potential guidelines for creating and implementing conservation programs that permit agriculturalists to maintain their lifestyle while simultaneously allowing the public to benefit from ecosystem services.
Presentation #5   11:30  Achieving positive ecological and social outcomes through a participatory wildlife conservation project in a deprived urban area Hobbs, SJ, University of York ; White, PCL*, University of York
Achieving effective biodiversity conservation is increasingly dependent on an actively-engaged society. For certain charismatic species and habitats, specific stakeholder groups can serve as a platform for conservation efforts. However, for most species and habitats, it is a considerable challenge to engage people to assist voluntarily in their conservation. Ongoing engagement is promoted by combining positive ecological outcomes with positive social outcomes at the individual and community levels. We describe the ecological and social outcomes of a participatory wildlife conservation project, monitoring native hedgehogs Erinaceus europaeus in a deprived urban area in the UK. The project is part of a UK-wide research programme (OPAL) seeking to encourage greater public engagement in biodiversity monitoring. The results demonstrated the importance of key food resources in determining hedgehog ranging behaviour and showed that participation in the study was a positive experience for many participants, leading to potential changes in individual behaviour as well as bringing wider benefits to the community. The study also highlighted contrasts in perceptions concerning public engagement held by the participants with those held by conservation organisations. Community-based initiatives such as OPAL have a key role to play in the context of signposting and supporting volunteers to maximise the ecological and social benefits associated with public engagement in conservation.
Presentation #6   11:45  Evaluating an eradication program for the northern Pacific seastar, Asterias amurensis, in Victoria, Australia. Millers, Kimberley*, University of Melbourne ; McCarthy, Michael, University of Melbourne; Carey, Jan, University of Melbourne
Our ability to manage a spreading introduced marine species is often impeded by the lack of scientific information and limited resources. Management strategies aimed at controlling marine invasive species are often data poor and therefore continuously under review. This study aims to evaluate the management strategies of a recent incursion of the invasive seastar, Asterias amurensis, at Anderson Inlet, Victoria. In 2004, government agencies and community members commenced an eradication program to slow the spread of Asterias amurensis, along the coast of Victoria. Over the duration of the program, volunteers used a number of removal techniques to reduce the population size. Eradication was declared at Anderson Inlet in June 2004. Search method, search time, removal rate and cost were monitored during the eradication process. Over 250 individual seastars where removed during the removal program by community volunteer divers. Removal rate decreased exponentially with time. There are few examples of eradication of marine invasives and therefore this is a unique opportunity to gain valuable information to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of resource allocation in applied real-world scenarios. The findings of this evaluation will assist managers utilise resources when managing incursions of this and other species across the southern Australian coast.
Presentation #8   12:15  PROJECT ECHO: An Initiative Aimed At Engaging Urban Society In The Conservation Of Cryptic Long-Tailed Bats (Chalinolobus tuberculatus) PARIS, BEN*, Project Echo ; Le Roux, Darren, Department of Conservation
The threatened long-tailed bat (Chalinolobus tuberculatus) is one of only two endemic bat species in New Zealand which are the only native terrestrial mammals in the country. This species is widely distributed but it is only recently that bats have been discovered to use human-dominated ecosystems including cities like Hamilton and even Auckland. The main threat facing cryptic local populations is ongoing destruction and fragmentation of habitats used by foraging and roosting bats (e.g. old-growth native and exotic trees). Project Echo is a grassroots multi-organisational bat conservation initiative with three main objectives: 1.) Public bat education and involvement; 2.) Development of a comprehensive bat distribution database with ongoing acoustic bat monitoring; and 3.) Undertaking innovative bat research. Through Project Echo we have successfully increased local awareness of bat conservation efforts through media coverage, a factsheet, interactive website and social networking as well as holding regular talks and bat sighting tours. Trials of artificial bat houses at select habitats are also underway. Here we present some research findings undertaken through Project Echo and demonstrate how a collaborative multi-agency approach can engage an urban society in the conservation of this cryptic species.