December 2014
Conservation Leadership Programme e-Newsletter
Connecting and inspiring conservationists
CLP Director's Message

I have recently returned from Sydney, Australia where I was attending the IUCN World Parks Congress – a global forum on protected areas that happens every 10 years. The purpose of the congress was to share knowledge and innovation and to set the agenda for protected areas conservation for the next decade. 

One of the major streams of the congress was 'inspiring a new generation' and a major cross-cutting theme was 'capacity development' – both highly relevant to CLP. As I think about the commitment of the congress to inspire a new generation to experience, connect with, be inspired by, value and conserve nature, I can’t help but reflect on the network of CLP alumni who are working across the globe.

For 30 years, CLP has been engaging a new generation of conservation practitioners and supporting their development. And after following their progress over several decades, we are seeing the incredible ways they are influencing protected area management and conservation generally.

CLP had more than 25 alumni participating in the congress, including Usama Mohammed with National Parks of Egypt and Alyona Salmanova with Kronotsky State Natural Biosphere Preserve in Russia. Others are working with international organizations like Patrick Kipalu with the Forest Peoples Programme in DRC, Hazell Thompson with BirdLife International and Tom Brooks with IUCN.

As much as I would like to say CLP is inspiring a new generation of leaders, I have to say that these individuals are inspiring me. I recall meeting Patrick Kipalu 10 years ago when he received a CLP award and attended our training course in Front Royal, Virginia. At the time he spoke very little English and he promised me that the next time we met he would be speaking English.

Not only did Patrick learn English, he overcame tremendous challenges that forced him to leave DRC and seek asylum in the US for several years. He did not let this deter him from the conservation work he is so passionate about; he recently returned to DRC as Country Manager for the Forest Peoples Programme. I was truly inspired to see him take the stage at WPC and add his voice to this global forum.

CLP alumni around the globe have similar stories of overcoming obstacles and making long term conservation impacts. Such is the caliber of our alumni network. It’s a legacy we are proud of and inspired by.

Enjoy this edition of our newsletter where we spotlight alumni who are at different stages in their careers, all of whom are on a path to protect nature so that generations to come can enjoy natural places and prosper.

Robyn Dalzen
CLP Director

Where Are They Now?

In 1999 Santiago D'Alessio led a team researching the Lower Paraná River Delta, Argentina. In 2005 the team received CLP’s largest grant. Nine years later, Santiago is the Executive Director of Aves Argentinas. Read how CLP changed his life.

CLP Director's Message
Where Are They Now?
Alumni Accomplishments
Upcoming Events
Conservation in Action
Final Reports
Alumni Publications
Project Websites
Alumni Accomplishments

SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana received a $20,000 grant from Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to assist efforts to save the Critically Endangered giant squeaker frog (Arthroleptis krokusua) from extinction.

Gilbert Adum was selected for an Alexander von Humboldt International Climate Fellowship. He’ll spend a year in Germany forecasting the impacts of climate change on the giant squeaker frog and other Ghanaian amphibians.

David Kuria has been nominated for a Tusk Conservation Award.

Ulanbek Naamatbekov received a $22,000 grant from the Prince Bernhard Nature Fund. The grant is focused on snow leopard conservation in Naryn State Reserve, Kyrgyzstan.   

Allwin Jesudasan received a $28,510 grant from the South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics to assess the adaptive capacity of farmers to water shortage in the Tamirabarani river basin.

Marinés de la Peña Domene obtained a PhD in Ecology and Evolution from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Matt Shirley was awarded an IUCN Save Our Species grant worth $90,000 for his project Mecistops - captive–breeding and reintroduction of Africa’s most Critically Endangered crocodile, the West African slender-snouted crocodile.  

Read more!

Upcoming Events

9 Dec 2014: COP20 & Sustainable Innovation Forum 2014 - Peru

19-29 Jan 2015: Student Conference on Conservation Science - Australia

2-5 Mar 2015: EU Science: Global Challenges, Global Collaboration - Brussels

24-26 Mar 2015: Student Conference on Conservation Science - UK

14-17 Apr 2015: 24th Philippine Biodiversity Symposium - Philippines

29 Jun - 2 Jul 2015: 8th World Environmental Education Congress - Sweden

2-5 Aug 2015: International Congress for Conservation Biology & European Congress for Conservation Biology

Conservation in Action

Grouper scientists get together


Celebrating Madagascar's primates


Crossing continents - Looking for langurs

Science and art in Romania

Final Reports

European ground squirrel population from Eastern Romania (2013)

Enhancing community-based vulture conservation in western lowland of Nepal (2013)

Conserving Bañados Del Quirquincho: A key area for threatened species in Argentina (2012) 

Conservation of savannah elephants in Yankari Game Reserve, Nigeria (2012)

Conservation of the grey-breasted parakeet, Brazil (2012)

Establishing baseline data for the conservation of the Critically Endangered Isabela oriole, Philippines (2012)

Rugezi wetland conservation project, Rwanda (2012)

Green Corridor Consolidation: biodiversity conservation with social involvement in the Atlantic forest of Argentina (2006)

Read final report summaries here.

Alumni Publications

de la Peña-Domene, M., Martínez-Garza C., Palmas-Pérez S., Rivas-Alonso E., Howe, H.F. (2014). Roles of Birds and Bats in Early Tropical-Forest Restoration. PLoS ONE 9(8): e104656. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0104656

Restoration of tropical forest depended in large part on seed dispersal by fruit-eating animals that transported seeds into planted forest patches. We tested effectiveness of dispersal agents as revealed by established recruits of tree and shrub species that bore seeds dispersed by birds, bats, or both. We documented restoration of dispersal processes over the first 76 months of experimental restoration in southern Mexico. Mixed-model repeated-measures randomized-block ANOVAs of seedlings recruited into experimental controls and mixed-species plantings from late-secondary and mature forest indicated that bats and birds played different roles in the first years of a restoration process. Bats dispersed pioneer tree and shrub species to slowly regenerating grassy areas, while birds mediated recruitment of later-successional species into planted stands of trees and to a lesser extent into controls. Of species of pioneer trees and shrubs established in plots, seven were primarily dispersed by birds, three by bats and four by both birds and bats. Of later-successional species recruited past the seedling stage, 13 were of species primarily dispersed by birds, and six were of species dispersed by both birds and bats.... 

Gao, Y. & Clark, S.G. (2014). Elephant ivory trade in China: Trends and drivers. Biological Conservation, 180: 23-30. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2014.09.020

Poaching of African elephants is threatening the species viability. International non-governmental organizations and media often attribute the basic problem to China’s domestic ivory market. We present quantitative and qualitative information on trends and drivers of the ivory trade in China. Results show that ivory is traded in “white” legally licensed retail outlets, “black” illegal shops and online trade forums, and “gray” live auctions of uncertain legality. White markets are primarily in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. The numbers of legal factories and retail outlets increased from 9 and 31 in 2004 to 37 and 145 in 2013. Black markets thrive in online trading platforms, such as Baidu Post Bar. Gray markets auction ivory items surging around 2006, mushrooming after 2009, peaking in 2011, and plummeting over 97% following government intervention. During 2002 to 2011, the ivory auction in China and elephant poaching in Africa are strongly positively correlated. Drivers of the ivory trade are multiple and complex, including Chinese consumers’ motivation stemming from the socially-constructed economic, social, cultural, aesthetic, religious, and medical values of ivory.... 

Kamel, M., Ghazaly, U.M., & Callmander, M.W. (2014). Conservation status of the Endangered Nubian dragon tree Dracaena ombet in Gebel Elba National Park, Egypt. Oryx, available on CJO2014. doi:10.1017/S0030605313001385

The Nubian dragon tree Dracaena ombet, which is categorized as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, is found on the highest slopes of Gebel Elba National Park in Egypt, with scattered populations in Sudan, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia. The Gebel Elba population is threatened by drought. Surveys were conducted in the Park to assess the condition and document the distribution of the species to prepare a baseline for conservation efforts. Eight sites were surveyed during 2007–2009: trees were tagged and their locations were recorded using a global positioning system, and tree density, diameter at breast height and population status were estimated. Of 353 trees recorded only 46% (161 individuals) were alive and only 27% (96 individuals) were in a healthy condition. Only 1% (2 individuals) were young trees, indicating a low regeneration level. Field-based observations suggest that 80% of the D. ombet population in Gebel Elba may soon be extinct. A conservation action plan is needed for this flagship species in Egypt and throughout its range.

Seshadri, K. S. (2014). Effects of Historical Selective Logging on Anuran Communities in a Wet Evergreen Forest, South India. Biotropica, 46: 615–623. doi: 10.1111/btp.12141

Vast areas of tropical evergreen forests have been selectively logged in the past, and many areas continue to be logged. The impacts of such logging on amphibians are poorly understood. I examined the response of anuran communities to historical selective logging in a wet evergreen forest in south India. Anuran assemblages in unlogged forest were compared with assemblages in selectively logged forest. Forty 10 m × 10 m quadrats in forest, riparian zones, and streams of unlogged and selectively logged forests were searched at night for anurans. Species richness did not appear to be affected by logging. However, anuran density varied significantly and was 42 percent lower in selectively logged forests compared to unlogged forests. Anuran densities also varied significantly across microhabitats, with highest densities in streams of both selectively logged and unlogged forests. Patterns of niche overlap varied with selective logging as niche breadth either expanded, contracted, or remained neutral for different species.... 

See a full list of recent alumni publications.

Project Websites

Aaranyak (India) | Applied Environmental Research Foundation (India) | Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (India) | Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Kazakhstan | Aves y Conservación (Ecuador) | Bat Census in Crimean Caves (Ukraine) | Birds-Indonesia | BirdLife Zimbabwe | Calidris (Colombia) | Centro Ballena Azul (Chile) | Community-based Conservation of Lake Kuyucuk, Kars (Turkey) | Community Centered Conservation (C3 - Comoros) | Conservacion Argentina | EcoLeague (Russia) | EcoMuseum (Kazakhstan) | Faunagua (Bolivia) | Fundación Conserva (Colombia) | Fundación CEBio (Argentina) | Guyra (Paraguay) | Instituto de Pesquisas Cananéia (Brazil) | Jampatu - Conserving Bolivian Amphibians | Katala Foundation (Philippines) | Kuzeydoga (Turkey) | Life on Chalk (Ukraine) | Mabuwaya Foundation (Philippines) | Macedonian Ecological Society | Madagasikara Voakajy | Maio Biodiversity Foundation (Cape Verde) | Mpingo Conservation & Development Initiative (Tanzania) | Nature Conservation Foundation (India) | Nature Iraq | ProDelphinus (Peru) | ProAves (Colombia) | Project Karumbé (Uruguay) | Proyecto Washu (Ecuador) | Rivers without Boundaries Coalition (Eurasia) | Samoan Birds | Save the Frogs Ghana | SAVE Brasil | Sea to Shore Alliance (USA) | South Rupununi Conservation Society (Guyana) | Strizh Ecological Centre (Russia) | Tide Belize | WildlifeDirect (Kenya) | Zoo Outreach Organization (India) |

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