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Fall 2012
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Web Exclusives

Videos from the Conservation Bridge project

Natural resources professor Jim Lassoie and his Ph.D. student, Jamie Herring, came up with a creative way to cross the boundaries that separate conservationists in the field from students in classrooms—Conservation Bridge. The website, www.conservationbridge.org, is home to numerous video case studies that introduce real-world problems—from Ithaca, N.Y., to Yunnan, China—to students through short, high-quality videos, then pro­vides context and questions for them to contemplate. Sample a few of these creative case studies for yourself.

Farming for Wildlife in Skagit County, Washington


Balancing the needs for agriculture and threatened wildlife is a complex issue that many rural communities now face.  Conservationists and farmers have often found themselves at opposite sides of a debate on how best to use limited land resources – whether to set aside reserves to protect imperiled biodiversity, or to use it to produce food and support livelihoods centered around agriculture.  Recently it has been increasingly recognized that common ground does exist among agricultural and conservation interests, and that intersections between the needs of biodiversity and local farmers can be used to advance their mutual interests.  One such collaborative effort is underway in Skagit County, Washington, helping to end a decades-long pattern of farmer vs. conservationist in the region.

 


Building Local Food Systems and Assessing Landscape Outcomes in Ithaca, NY


Proponents of the local foods movement argue that major environmental benefits can be generated through sourcing foods locally. But a key question remains. Can we know what the environmental benefits are and can we measure them? In Tompkins County, New York and the larger Finger Lakes region, the local foods movement is accelerating quickly. The vibrant local food system of the area appears to provide a foundation for the emergence of a deliberately conceived landscape that has the capacity to deliver a well balanced blend of agricultural production, environmental conservation and livelihood security benefits to residents of the region. A key question facing food system analysts and planners is, how can we know if and when the local food system is contributing to key benefits at the landscape level? Furthermore, how can assessment activity help actors in the system analyze the conditions under which a local food system is better than ‘the alternative’?

 


Capturing New Market Opportunities for Farmers in the Kijabe Landscape of Kenya


Sandwiched between wildlife parks rife with internationally awe-inspiring animals, and the Great Rift Valley where some the oldest human remains have been found, the agricultural landscapes of central Kenya’s Kikuyu Forest Escarpment require a subtler eye to appreciate.  It is not a story of another Lucy, nor of ostriches and zebras, but it may be the story that links those two, touching as it does on the necessary overlaps of human culture and the survival of biodiversity.

 


Human-Wildlife Conflicts in Bhutan


The kingdom of Bhutan is located between India and China in South Asia. Bhutan is one of the most isolated and least developed countries in the world. Foreign influence is heavily regulated by the government to help preserve the country’s traditional culture, national identity, and unique biodiversity. Bhutan is home to a variety of charismatic mega-fauna including tiger, leopard, snow leopard, elephants, and others. A highly agrarian culture, 60% of the country has had its protection enshrined in its constitution. With very strong legislation to protect the biodiversity values of the country, the main threat to wildlife stems from human-wildlife conflict as most of the village border prime habitat.

 


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