The other evening while cooking dinner, my ears perked up hearing a story on tiger poaching come on the radio. You have no doubt heard similar stories, about
how wildlife continues to be poached at an alarming rate, and so you can probably relate to my initial reaction: of disturbance, even despair.But can an issue as complex as tiger conservation really be told in a 60-second soundbite? In this story, poaching was reduced to a single-issue challenge. Missing was any mention
of the importance of wildlife corridors – habitats that connect national parks – in both maintaining tiger populations and in reducing poaching. Even more glaring was any acknowledgment
of the people who have to live alongside tigers – the people who are trying to make a living and care for families, while at the same time sharing their space with large predators.No, tiger conservation will not be solved with soundbites – and the same is true for many of the biggest conservation challenges facing our planet. That is where the Science for Nature and
People Partnership (SNAPP) comes in. SNAPP convenes working groups of scientists from environmental and human development non-profits, academia and governmental agencies to address big
issues for conservation – for nature and people.You have heard the cliché that great minds think alike. At SNAPP, our model is that great minds think together. Together, working groups focus on cutting-edge
science, producing not just great research, but results, products, and solutions that make a tangible difference on the ground and in the water. People are not removed as a part of
conservation — they are part of the solution, and the solution benefits them.I am pleased that a SNAPP working group focused on connectivity for Indian wildlife has recently convened with expertise in hydrology, landscape ecology, mining, transportation, economics,
India’s legal framework and more. The results of this working group may not be able to be told in a 60-second story, but their findings could leave you with hope and optimism instead of despair.
This e-newsletter is my new way of sharing some of these stories with you. It will feature highlights of SNAPP working groups and stories on SNAPP solutions for science. I hope it encourages conversation.Do you have ideas you would like to see covered in a future newsletter? Do you wish to feature highlights in a different format? Please let me know.In the meantime, I hope you are inspired by the results made possible by SNAPP around the globe.Yours in Conservation,
Executive Director, SNAPP
SNAPP in the News
Dive deep with these stories about SNAPP working groups and the results they’ve made possible.
Steering a New Course for Kenya’s Fisheries: Another inspiring story from the Data-Limited Fisheries working group
Restoring Fisheries, Scoring a Net Gain (Wall Street Journal): Creating incentives for businessmen to think like conservationists is reviving dwindling fish populations in the U.S.
Tiger Got Your Goat? Here’s Who To Call (National Geographic): Here’s the kind of story we want to read on tiger conservation, based on our working group principle investigator’s efforts
to improve compensation to people who face losses from wildlife.
Joint Declaration Signed to Undertake Amazon Waters Initiative (Smithsonian): Through unprecedented effort to collect and synthesize data for the entire Amazon basin, the Amazon Waters Working Group has provided the
evidence necessary to drive this international agreement calling for cooperation to sustainably manage this vast water resource for the benefit of people and nature.
|The Economics of the Chinese Ivory Trade
Like tiger poaching, the ivory trade has been often characterized by that feeling that nothing can really been done. This Working Group has
been achieving impressive results by tackling the demand side of the equation and are garnering international publicity. You can read more on our SNAPP website.
To highlight some of the results:
- Since December 2015, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Beijing Normal University (BNU), and International Fund for Animal Welfare have been monitoring the legal and illegal ivory markets in China in order
to determine the likely impact of a domestic ban on ivory sales and valuables (perceived and traded) and therefore the impact on poaching in Africa.
- Dr. Aster Zhang (BNU) conducted a study on compensation models and the impact of the ivory ban on the Chinese ivory industry. The result of interviews with the legal ivory industry found support for the
government’s decision on imposing an ivory ban.
- Another study has focused on the law enforcement implications and associated costs of an ivory ban, concluding that it’s a legitimate approach provided proper legislative backing.
- Other research focused on methods to reduce the stockpiling of ivory that would occur in response to a ban and global economic uncertainty.
- Finally, analyses of public perception suggest that support for elephant conservation and an ivory ban is high.
|The Path to Sustainable Fisheries is Paved with Data
If it doesn’t get measured, it doesn’t get managed. If that is true in business, it’s doubly so for fisheries. In fact, of the more than 10,000 fisheries in the world, fewer than 440 (mostly in upper-income countries and in top-traded fish like tuna) are regularly assessed — measured — with robust scientific methods. That means the vast majority of the world’s fisheries go unmeasured and therefore unmanaged.
It’s why the Data Limited Fisheries working group is field testing a new user-friendly application that puts sound management and science based sustainability within the reach and capabilities of small-scale and data-limited fisheries — improving livelihoods and food security into the future. Read in-depth about this important issue on the Cool Green Science blog.
|Chefs for Farmed Fish: Sustainable Open-Water Aquaculture
There’s no question about it: Aquaculture will be a part of food’s future to ensure a reliable source of protein for millions of people. The questions is not will it expand, but how much? Our Sustainable Aquaculture working group is focused on making sure we do this expansion right, by looking at science and policy, addressing siting, species, methods and more.
Of course, as with so many conservation issues, peoples’ values often play a bigger role than scientific evidence. While media coverage of open-ocean aquaculture becomes increasingly positive, the opinions of the general public and environmental groups become ever more negative.
That’s why, in addition to papers and policy recommendations, this working group will be hosting events this fall/winter in Los Angeles and San Francisco featuring top chefs cooking fish raised via sustainable aquaculture. By raising awareness, we can begin to change opinions about the potential and importance of open-ocean aquaculture for food security. These public events will combine world-class food with world class science – results you can taste.
|Meet the People of SNAPP: Dr. Dilys Roe
We are pleased to welcome Dr. Dilys Roe to SNAPP’s Science Advisory Council. Roe brings considerable scientific experience from the human development field,
an important focus of SNAPP. She is a principal researcher at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), a sustainable development think-tank based in London. Roe leads IIED’s
work on biodiversity which focuses on integrating social concerns into conservation policy and practice; supporting community-based approaches to biodiversity management; and mainstreaming biodiversity
into development policy. Read more