CoEB Research Seminar_14 Feb 2018

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On 14 Feb 2018 at 3:00PM at the office of the Center of Excellence in Biodiversity and Natural Resources Management (CoEB), we had two very interesting talks in our Research Seminar series: First talk by Prof. Beth A. Kaplin (Dir. of CoEB) and second talk by two students (Jean de Dieu Nsengimana and Alice Mukase) from biology department who were presenting their internship activities.

Talk by Prof. Beth A. Kaplin (Director of CoEB) on “Linking Biodiversity Conservation and security in Central Africa Republic (CAR) workshop” in the Central African Republic

Prof Beth A. Kaplin, the Director of the Center of Excellence in Biodiversity and Natural Resources Management (CoEB) presented about her work in the Central African Republic (CAR) during the last week of January 2018 and the first week of February 2018 (From 22 Jan to 04 Feb). The title of her talk was "Management of Protected Areas and Natural Resources in the Central African Republic: Conservation, Security and Development".

Prof. Beth A. Kaplin during presentation                                        Photo: CoEB

During her talk, she said that CAR covers a surface area of 623,000 km2 and has about 8people/Km2 of population density. CAR possesses great biological diversity, among this remarkable variety of ecosystems, the dense forests of the southwest occupy a special place with a rich diversity of fauna from the forest ecosystems of the Congo Basin. These natural ecosystems occupy a great place in the life of native populations as well as in the national economy.

Prof Beth Kaplin was invited by the US Embassy-Bangui to facilitate a workshop titled” Making Peace more Profitable than Conflict” and series of discussions with various stakeholders in the (CAR) and she visited a protected area in the country. An aim of the US Embassy in CAR is to support linkages between security, a primary concern in CAR, and conservation of protected areas. The workshop gathered together the stakeholders from environment community including government ministries, NGOs, EU and the University of Bangui. The country is rich in biodiversity, diamonds and other natural resources, but has been experiencing insecurity hindering effective governance and conservation. With a new President and new initiatives, Prof Kaplin facilitated discussions about the possibilities to advance conservation initiatives for security and peace in the country.

During the workshop in US Embassy Bangui   Photo: Prof. Beth

As she said, the main threats to wildlife and security in the areas are: (1)Increasing numbers of cattle herders encroaching on protected areas where herds are being driven into CAR from southern Chad and Sudan, and the vast herds are managed for wealthy individuals by well-armed hired herders. In Chinko nature reserve (CAR), herders hunt local wildlife for food and to dry the meat to take back to Sudan, contributing to the illegal wild meat trade, (2)Wildlife poaching- Elephants have dramatically declined in the region, as well as populations of many other wildlife species, and control of hunting is needed to protect biodiversity and stop the flow of ivory that supports militia groups.

Some of the workshop outcomes are:

  • • To put the effort in capacity building
  • • To engage higher learning institutions in biodiversity conservation research
  • • To link conservation to national development goals
  • • To work with youth for future biodiversity conservation and
  • • To involve local communities in conservation activities

Talk by two students (Jean de Dieu Nsengimana and Alice Mukase) from biology department in Zoology & Conservation and Botany & Conservation options

Those two students did their internship at Kitabi Eco-Centre under Prof. Beth A. Kaplin and Dr Craig Connard supervision. They presented about their activities during the internship. Jean de Dieu Nsengimana conducted an internship at Kitabi Eco-Center with the mission of Designing a Classic Botanical Garden for Kitabi Eco Center that will link local communities around the site with tourists and biodiversity conservation.The role of the botanical garden will be (1) In-situ and Ex-situ conservation (2) Education and Awareness Raising (3) Research and exploration (4)Recreational services. During his internship period, Mr Jean de Dieu design a map of the botanical garden using GPS-Coordinates and the waypoints analyzed in arc-map.

Jean de Dieu during his presentation                                 Photo: CoEB

Designed map of the botanical garden at Kitabi Eco-Center              Photo: J. de Dieu

Alice Mukase conducted an internship at Kitabi Eco-Center and worked on “Strategies to Mitigate Conflicts between Local Community and Baboons” around Nyungwe National Park. The objectives of her study were: • To investigate farm’s perception on crop raiding animals such baboons. • To evaluate the mitigation measures adopted by farmers at Kitabi. • Find out new innovative measures proposed by farmers. • To determine the most crops those are raided by baboons in this zone. • To evaluate the effectiveness of revenue sharing and compensation in solving the conflicts. According to her findings, crop raiding and destruction of local people‘s possessions by park fauna, and the lack of compensation for the losses are a significant source of conflicts between communities and the communities around Nyungwe National Park. Some strategies like raising community awareness, revenue sharing and compensation for those with raided crop cases, guarding and stone throwing have been used to mitigate human baboon conflicts, but they have not been effective.

Alice Mukase presenting her study findings              Photo: CoEB

This research seminar was a part of the regular discussion about research results and their application for sustainable development which takes place every two weeks at CoEB’s office located at CGIS building across from Huye Bus Station, the discussions gather together presenter and audience composed of CoEB’s staffs, Nodes, partners, CoEB’s research affiliates and research associates.