New insights on forests islands in the desert

By Dr. Aida Cuní Sanchez – TBA alumna, Kirindy 2005

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Northern Kenya conjures up images of deserts, nomadic camel pastoralists and, unfortunately, the devastating effects of recurrent droughts. However, there are a few forest islands located on top of high hills and mountains. These forests survive because of the mist they trap from the clouds, which is why they are called cloud forests.

Cloud forests are of particular interest, for their species richness and endemism. For example, three chameleons are endemic to three of these forests in northern Kenya: Trioceros marsabitensis, T. narraioca and Kinyongia asheorum, which inhabit Mt Marsabit, Mt Kulal and Mt Nyiro forests respectively. These cloud forests also provide a habitat for several endangered species of plants and animals, such as the tree Prunus africana, Grevy’s zebra and elephants.

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Filming in the forest of Mt. Kulal

Most importantly, cloud forests are vital because of their high water yield. In the African drylands, this water yield is crucial to surrounding communities, particularly during droughts. In spite of their important role, little is known about how these forests function, and how sensitive they might be to overexploitation and climate change. So, for the past two years, I have made these fascinating ecosystems the focus of my research.

Continue reading “New insights on forests islands in the desert”

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My journey as a conservationist

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My journey as a conservationist started when I was accepted to take part in a TBA course in 2004. It was my first time to be away from my home country, Sudan, and I can still remember the feeling of excitement during the journey from Entebbe airport to Africa Hall in Kampala.  My TBA course was an unforgettable event that made me the person I am today. It was not just an academic course that lasted for a month; it was an introductory experience to a new world of deep knowledge of how to appreciate the natural heritage and biodiversity, besides learning the basic skills of taking care of Mother Nature.

Continue reading “My journey as a conservationist”

Not guilty! Study shows that Madagascan bats are unfairly persecuted for eating forbidden fruit

By Dr Radosoa A. Andrianaivoarivelo – Kibale 2004

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Two of the three bats of Madagascar are categorized as endangered according to the IUCN red list, but all of them are heavily threatened by habitat loss and severe hunting. In some areas of Madagascar, they are considered as a threat to fruits of economic importance such as the lychee (Litchi chinensis) and the Japanese persimmon (Diospyros kaki) and are therefore persecuted in the trees where they feed at night (Andrianaivoarivelo et al. 2007). For these reasons, I led a research project on the dietary behaviors of the fruit bats to investigate whether they prefer food from natural habitats over alien, economically Important fruit species or vice versa (Andrianaivoarivelo et al. 2012).

Continue reading “Not guilty! Study shows that Madagascan bats are unfairly persecuted for eating forbidden fruit”

The value of a TBA course

Cynthia Mapendere, TBA alumna (Kirindy, 2014) shares on the value of participating in a TBA course.

 2014 was a very special year for me as this was when I officially became part of the TBA family. I had just graduated from the National University of Science and Technology (Zimbabwe) the previous year with a degree  in Forest Resources and Wildlife Management. Being accepted as a course participant was exciting news to me as it presented a good opportunity to build the right foundation for my career.  I could not wait to be in a community where my enthusiasm was shared between experts who had the knowledge and experience to help me flourish in this field.

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Working on my research project

Continue reading “The value of a TBA course”

The success is worth the effort!

By Dr John Abraham, TBA Alumni – Kibale, 2004

From inception, to organisation to implementation; Ghanaian Alumni, Dr John Abraham, reflects on the experience of organising the latest TAAG African Students’ Conference which took place in June. Read on…

I remember sitting at my desk in my apartment in Italy writing e-mails as far back as October, 2013 asking members of the Ghana TBA Alumni Group whether they felt we should bid to host the 2015 TAAG African Students’ Conference on Conservation Science. At that moment, my individual interest did not matter because we are a group. Thankfully, every member said YES! Let’s go for it. The hard work began from then.

A small team put the bid together and in January 2014, the good news arrived “…we are happy to inform you that your group, the Ghana TBA Alumni Group won the bid.” I jumped with excitement from my desk in jubilation. I made a few telephone calls to the people who helped with the bid before writing e-mails to inform all members of the Ghana TBA Alumni Group. We were very proud to have won this bid.

Continue reading “The success is worth the effort!”

Our month in pictures #June 2015

Everyday, we share interesting news and information on various conservation issues, including what we are doing at TBA, what our alumni are doing to address conservation challenges in different parts of the world and, their experiences in our training courses. Here are a few of our favourite pictures shared in June! Share your pictures with us, and while you are at it, follow us on facebook and  twitter!

Participants at the 2015 TAAG conference
                                        Participants at the 2015 TAAG conference
Keynote speakers and H.E John Kufuor at TAAG 2015 conference
      Keynote speakers and H.E John Kufuor at TAAG 2015 conference
Dr. Rosie Trevelyan at the TAAG 2015 conference
                    Dr. Rosie Trevelyan at the TAAG 2015 conference
Delegates at the TAAG 2015 conference
                      Delegates at the TAAG 2015 conference
TAAG conference article published in the Ghanaian times
              TAAG conference article published in the Ghanaian times
TAAG leaders discussing way forward at the TAAG conference
               Discussions on way forward at the TAAG conference
Delegates at the TAAG Maiden Conference in 2013
             Delegates at the TAAG Maiden Conference in 2013
Dr. Rosie Trevelyan with the 2013 conference LoC
               Dr. Rosie Trevelyan with the 2013 conference LoC
Keynote speakers and LoC at the TAAG Maiden Conference in 2013
       Keynote speakers and LoC at the TAAG Maiden Conference in 2013
Poster presentation at the 2013 TAAG  conference
               Poster presentation at the 2013 TAAG conference
Amani 2014 course participants learning
                         Amani 2014 course participants learning
Amani 2014 course participants having fun
                       Amani 2014 course participants having fun
Amani 2006 group photo
                              Amani 2006 group photo

TBA’s Conservation Journey: 20 years of creating conservation champions!!!

For the last 20 years the Tropical Biology Association (TBA) has been working in partnership with various institutions to build expertise in biodiversity conservation and research through training, providing information and resources and creating links.

In the 2014 Newsletter, TBA is celebrating 20 years of running courses and building the capacity of committed conservationists. TBA is proud of the alumni from various fields of biology, conservation and ecology who are serving as a growing voice for conservation around the world and are providing real solutions to the challenges facing conservation. Continue reading “TBA’s Conservation Journey: 20 years of creating conservation champions!!!”

TAAG inaugural African Students’ Conference

Hello Africa! You must have already heard about this, but allow me to re-introduce you to a very exciting forth-coming event organized by the TBA family- the maiden TAAG student conference in the land of Africa.

My name is Badru Mugerwa, a Ugandan conservationist and forest ecologist. I am privileged to be among the thousands who have received TBA’s generous and prestigious training in biology and conservation. I am currently serving as the secretary for the Local Organizing Committee for the TAAG’s maiden student’s conference, Nairobi, 2013. Continue reading “TAAG inaugural African Students’ Conference”