Thu 28 Sep 2017: 3.00pm @ NUS DBS CR1 – Cecilia Larrosa on “Unintended Feedbacks: challenges and opportunities for improving conservation”

PhD Defense Seminar cum Oral Examination: 28 September 2017, Thursday, (Cecilia Larrosa / Dr Carrasco) – 3pm

Abstract:

Human reactions to conservation interventions can trigger unintended feedbacks resulting in poor conservation outcomes. Understanding unintended feedbacks is a necessary first step toward the diagnosis and solution of environmental problems, but existing anecdotal evidence cannot support decision-making. The aim of this PhD is to improve our understanding of the role these unintended feedbacks play in conservation science, and provide recommendations for incorporating them into practice.

After analysing the implications these unintended feedbacks have for conservation from a social-ecological systems perspective, I present a conceptual framework and a typology of unintended feedbacks drawing on examples of conservation science and provide recommendations for future work. In the remaining three chapters I focus on large-scale potential economic feedbacks based on recommendations from chapter two. Widely used tools for conservation planning could produce misleading recommendations if feedbacks are ignored. For example, in systematic conservation planning, effectiveness depends partly on accounting for natural and anthropogenic dynamics. Some dynamic conservation planning approaches exist, but they need to be further developed, and assessed against static approaches. I develop a model that accounts for both economic and environmental feedbacks into spatial planning for a set-aside programme, and compare it with a static approach. I model changes in forest connectivity and land opportunity costs to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the set-aside programme based on spatial static and discrete dynamic conservation planning. Finally, I apply the model I developed to multiple policy relevant targets of Atlantic Forest restoration and provide recommendations for prioritising areas.

This work identifies an urgent needed for the collection of evidence in a structured way in order to understand the mechanisms by which human decision-making feeds through to conservation outcomes at different scales. Socio-economic data availability, a mismatch in scale between data availability and prioritisation grain, and economic model complexity present the main limitations to accounting for these feedbacks in spatial conservation planning. Even though a dynamic approach to spatial conservation planning does entail higher computational requirements and transactions costs, I find the potential benefits in terms of increased cost-effectiveness could offset these costs. Most importantly, the analysis shows that a dynamic approach can help decision-makers maximise the existence of informational rents by prioritising areas with higher informational rent capture and still result in a lower overall intervention cost. Accounting for environmental and economic feedbacks can be a valuable tool for more evenly distributed interventions that provide higher incentives for participation without increasing intervention cost.

People adapt and respond to conservation interventions, and their actions feed through into changes in the conservation situation itself; this fact is something that conservationists rely on for their impact. However, these same responses are being overlooked when they affect outcomes indirectly through unintended feedbacks. The research undertaken for this PhD advances knowledge on the role feedbacks play in both applied conservation and conservation science.

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LSM4263 Field Studies in Biodiversity: Registration open!

Dear students

Registration is now open for LSM4263 – Field Studies in Biodiversity! 

This 4MC module will be conducted in Semester IV of AY2015/2016 from Tue 21 Jun 2016 to Fri 22 Jul 2016. Timetable details will be available later.

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To qualify, students should be:

  • LSM majors specialising in Environmental Biology (EVB), OR from the Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) programme
  • Continuing into their Honors year in AY2016/2017
  • Possess a CAP of 3.2 or above
  • Willing to cover part of the module cost (amounting to less than S$400)

Other details:

  • The Pulau Tioman field trip is scheduled from Tue 12 Jul 2016 – Mon 18 Jul 2016
  • Accommodation at Paya Beach Resort
  • Local student enrolment is limited to 30 students
  • Priority to students with LSM2251 Ecology and the Environment, or other relevant experience

To register, please complete the form at tinyurl.com/lsm4263signup by Mon 06 Jun 2016: 1800h. Successful students will be notified by email.

Best wishes,
Life Sciences Undergraduate Program Committee
http://www.lifesciences.nus.edu.sg

Dr Ong Bee Lian’s Memorial – Mon 20 April 2015: 4.00pm @ LT 32

Dr Teresa Ong Bee Lian

Born in Singapore on 16 September 1957
Passed away in Singapore on 23 March 2015
Aged 57 years
Always remembered by family and loved ones.

OBL memorial photo

From Paul Thomas Matsudaira (Head, Biological Sciences) 


Subject: Dr Ong Bee Lian’s Memorial – 20 April 2015 at 4.00 p.m., LT 32
 

“Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,
 
The department is planning a memorial for Dr Ong Bee Lian  on Monday, 20 April 2015 at 4 pm in LT32 and all are invited to attend. Her family members will also be present.
 
She was a long standing member of the department from the time she was a student (B.Sc. Honours) University of Singapore. Many count Dr Ong as a close friend and colleague. She was a passionate teacher and mentor of our undergraduates. She will be missed and we intend to honor her memory with sharing by a few colleagues and students, as well as a presentation slide into a glimpse of her life in the department.
 
Please attend.

Regards,
Paul”

RIP Mr Lee Kuan Kuan Yew

“Mr Lee Kuan Yew dedicated his entire life in service of our nation and its people. His leadership was always marked by hope and a sense of collective purpose, inspiring us all to work towards an ever better Singapore. We mourn the passing of an eminent alumnus, an inspirational leader, and a Singapore icon. Our thoughts are with PM and Mrs Lee, and the Lee family during this difficult time.”
– Prof Tan Chorh Chuan, NUS President

“NUS and Singapore have lost a great man. As Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his team transformed an island with no natural resources into a thriving, cosmopolitan city – all in just one generation. Mr Lee focused on education as a key pillar for national development, and for this, we will always be grateful. We are proud that he was a part of Raffles College and NUS. We are deeply saddened by his passing, and send our condolences to PM Lee, Mrs Lee and the Lee family.”
– Prof Tan Eng Chye, Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost

LKY Memoriam NUS

The NUS community is invited to share their thoughts in memory of Mr Lee on the NUS Facebook page.

Internships, student field assistant opportunities – see Ecotax

There have been three announcements recently which may be of interest to students and part-timers alike.

  • Climate Change Intern, two positions at DHI
  • Student / Laboratory Assistant, four positions @ TMSI EMID-Inland Waters Cluster
  • Part-time field assistant for civet radio-tracking study (Jan-Feb 2014, part-time thereafter)

To view these messages, do one of the following:

The Ecotax Mailing List was set up in Dec 1998 to announce technical seminars, visitors, job opportunities and other similar messages to the community of ecologists and taxonomists in Singapore.

Road resurfacing works from mid-May at Lower Kent Ridge Road

A message from the Maintenance Services Division, Office of Estate & Development explained that the electrical network upgrading project is completed and affected roads will now be resurfaced.

OED is taking this opportunity to repair and improve the conditions of the roads that are shown in the map below.

NUS-Road Resurface Route-A

Road resurfacing works will be carried out from 11 May 2013 to 15 June 2013, from 8.00pm to 7.00am the next morning, every day of the week (including public holidays).

These roads will remain accessible by motorists as the contractor will work on a single lane of the two-lane road at any one time before progressing to adjacent lane.

Signages and road marshallers will guide motorists in the affected locations.

If there are issues during the period, let OED know through their 24/7 Maintenance Hotline (6516-1515) or email oedhelp@nus.edu.sg