Séminaire CEFE: David Williams - Feeding the world without costing the Earth

mercredi 12 décembre 2018 – 11h
Grande salle de réunion du CEFE | 1e étage, aile C

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David Williams

Bren School of Environmental Science and Management,
University of California Santa Barbara, USA

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Balancing food production with environmental concerns is perhaps the biggest challenge facing society in the 21st century. We may need to double food production to ensure global food security but agri-culture already covers nearly 40% of ice-free land; uses over half of all freshwater; drives greenhouse gas emissions; and is the greatest driver single threat to other species’ survival. Put simply, agriculture is both the most important activity for human well-being and potentially the most environmentally damaging of human actions.
David Williams is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California Santa Barbara, working with David Tilman on issues surrounding global food security and biodiversity. Before that he completed his PhD with Andrew Balmford at the University of Cambridge, in the UK, investigating which land-use strategies best balance food production with biodiversity conservation, and carbon stocks in Yucatán, Mexico. His research combines local land-use strategies with spatially explicit global models to inves-tigate how the decisions about what we eat and how we produce it influence the environment, and to plot potential pathways to sustainable global food security.

(Seminar in English, with Questions & Answers in English + French)

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Séminaire au CEFE : Lessons from the past: How can historical data be used to reconstruct ecological baselines and inform conservation?

jeudi 13 décembre 2018 – 11h
Grande salle de réunion du CEFE | 1e étage, aile C

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Sophie Monsarrat

Centre for African Conservation Ecology, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

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 Humans have driven biodiversity loss and modified ecosystem structure for millennia. Using modern ecological data in biogeography analyses therefore has the risk of considerably affecting our understanding of ecological patterns of “natural” species distributions and of the dynamics and drivers of past extinctions. By extending the timeline usually considered in ecology, long-term archives can provide novel insights into species’ ecology and extinction dynamics and represent a unique opportunity to better inform regional environmental management. This talk will present the challenges and opportunities associated with the use of long-term biodiversity data in modern ecological analyses, focusing on a case study of large mammal fauna in Southern Africa. It will discuss how historical data can be used to provide important new baselines for conservation in a major biodiversity hotspot, highlighting the importance of using information from the past to understand the present and manage for the future.

 

(Seminar in English, with Questions & Answers in English + French)
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Séminaire au CEFE : Sharing space with large carnivores in a human-dominated continent – An analysis of coexistence patterns and trans-boundary management tools for Europe

Jeudi 31 janvier 11h,

grande salle de réunion

Vincenzo Gervasi – CEMEB post-doc at CEFE

(talk in English)

The recovery of large carnivores into human-dominated European landscapes is a challenging test of our ability to adapt lifestyles and practices to the demands of conserving biodiversity. The ongoing co-adaptation process often generates conflicts that are the subject of growing media debates and political polarization. In this debate, problems are raised and solutions proposed at different spatial scales, from the continental level of EU platforms to the local context of municipalities and rural communities. Finding a common ground for such different perspectives is a challenging, often frustrating effort.

            In order to provide a scientific contribution in this direction, we explored the spatial dynamics of human-large carnivore coexistence in Europe at different spatial scales. Firstly, we performed a continental-scale analysis of sheep depredation by large carnivores, and of the main ecological, historical and social factors driving the magnitude of the resulting depredation rates. We found that the ecological component of the depredation process, although relevant, explained only a minor portion of the difference in compensation rates among European countries, and that countries with a longer history of coexistence suffered reduced costs, when compared to those recently re-colonized by large carnivores.

            In a second phase we explored the issue at a finer spatial resolution, focusing on trans-boundary populations and on the case of wolverines in Scandinavia, shared between Norway, where they are hunted, and Sweden, where they are protected. We found that the mismatch between the scale of population processes and that of management actions caused a reduced effectiveness and increased costs on both sides of the administrative borders, frustrating the achievement of management goals both in Norway and in Sweden. On the other hand, local communities were affected to a different extent by national management decision, depending on their distance from the Norway-Sweden border.

            Both analyses highlighted the great challenge at the heart of the human-large carnivore coexistence process: the need to develop institutional structures and procedures that can simultaneously coordinate actions at international scales, while remaining flexible enough to deal with local level considerations and needs.

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