UNESCO announces 15 awards for young researchers working in biosphere reserves

UNESCO

UNESCO announces 15 awards for young researchers working in biosphere reserves

UNESCO announces 15 awards for young researchers working in biosphere reserves 1300 867 Ocean Decade

On 4 July, the International Coordinating Council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme presented 15 young scientists from 11 countries with awards of up to US$5,000 each to support their research projects.

Angel Velez

The Principality of Monaco is funding seven of these awards again this year for research projects with a focus on marine, island and coastal issues. On 5 July, the Man and the Biosphere Programme’s Council decided to name these grants the “MAB Young Scientist Awards – Prince Albert I of Monaco” in honor of his contribution to ocean exploration and science.

MAB Young Scientist Awards

The winners are, in alphabetical order:

 

Maryury Yorleny Aleman Avilez, Honduras

She will be documenting the use of natural resources in Cacique Lempira, Señor de las Montañas Biosphere Reserve and how it affects the economy of Indigenous Peoples. She will also attempt to document the ancestral knowledge of these communities.

Blaise Binama, Rwanda

He will be studying invasive plant species in forests that have been recently restored or are still undergoing restoration in Gishwati-Mukura Biosphere Reserve. The lack of knowledge of these invasive species is hindering restoration efforts. He also plans to suggest strategies for controlling invasive plant species that minimize the environmental impact and operational costs.

Julia Cristina Garcia, Brazil

She will be analysing the diversity and geographical distribution of academic research targeting the World Network of Biosphere Reserves and will identify trends, patterns and knowledge gaps. She will also be analysing the impact of this research on the Brazilian network and the Sao Paulo City Green Belt Biosphere Reserve to inform policies and recommendations for biosphere reserve management.

Saleem Haddad, Jordan

His focus will be on the Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves Network. He will assess the effectiveness of management of biosphere reserves in the network, the effect of decisions made by the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere programme on the evolution of individual biosphere reserves and the opportunities for cooperation between biosphere reserves and related challenges.

© Jacqueline Kirimii / Mount Elgon Transboundary Biosphere Reserve (Kenya, Uganda) has an exceptional diversity of ecosystems as well as plant and animal species
Mar Chiquita Biosphere Reserve, Argentina
© UNESCO / Montserrat Rodriguez Mesa, Lanzarote & Chinijo Islands Geopark
Gishwati Makura Landscape Biosphere Reserve

Brinda Kashyap, India

She will be addressing the various challenges that rhinoceros populations face in Manas National Park, a World Heritage site, when it comes to their conservation. Using geospatial data, future land cover simulations and socio-economic impact assessments, she will develop a habitat suitability model for rhinoceros populations that will include scenarios for the future impact of climate change on the rhinoceros’ habitat and conservation needs.

Blaise Binama, Rwanda

He will be studying invasive plant species in forests that have been recently restored or are still undergoing restoration in Gishwati-Mukura Biosphere Reserve. The lack of knowledge of these invasive species is hindering restoration efforts. He also plans to suggest strategies for controlling invasive plant species that minimize the environmental impact and operational costs.

Xenabeth Lazaro, United States of America

She will be studying the behaviour of sub-Antarctic bats in Cabo de Hornos Biosphere Reserve in Chile to fill knowledge gaps about bat species in the southern hemisphere. Notably, her findings on the bats’ interaction with local communities on Navarino Island will help stakeholders to identify habitats to prioritize for conservation and aid them in determining which trees to conserve and which to designate for logging purposes.

Faith Vihenda Obwoyere, Kenya

She will be assessing conflicts between humans and wildlife in Mount Elgon Biosphere Reserve and whether there are land-use practices and seasonal climatic variations which affect the intensity of these conflicts between local communities and primates and/or elephants. Her research will provide essential evidence-based knowledge for conflict management.

Pascal Sibomana, Rwanda

He will be updating the plant inventory in Gishwati–Mukura Biosphere Reserve and initiating the first baseline reference library of genomic data for 100 rare and threatened plants in the biosphere reserve. This reference library should serve as a model for other national parks in Rwanda, including the Volcanoes Biosphere Reserve.

© Aleksandar Todorovic / Shutterstock.com / Palawan Biosphere Reserve, The Philippines

MAB Young Scientist Awards – Prince Albert I of Monaco

The seven winners are, in alphabetical order:

 

Carlos Shanka Boissy Diaz, Spain

He will be studying the consumption of tap water and bottled water by inhabitants of the Lanzarote and Fuerteventura Biosphere Reserves, to evaluate the impact of plastic consumption tied to the water industry and provide research-based policy recommendations to stakeholders in this industry. His recommendations will be tailored to fit the other Canarian islands, as well as similar island and coastal biosphere reserves in UNESCO’s global network.

Anna Isabel Celis, Philippines

Her research will explore the relation between gleaning, the collection of seafood along the coast and the food security of coastal communities living in the Palawan Biosphere Reserve. Having a quantitative analysis of the extent of gleaning will help to ensure that this activity is managed in a more sustainable and equitable manner.

Keith Anthony Fabro, Philippines

He will be examining the drivers of forest ecosystem restoration, as well as any barriers, in Palawan Biosphere Reserve, which is subject to intense natural hazards. He will work with local communities to establish recommendations for forest landscape restoration that take socio-economic factors into account. These recommendations could then be replicated in other coastal biosphere reserves with forest ecosystems that are exposed to regular intense natural hazards.

Assane Ka, Senegal

He will be studying the ecosystem services in the Delta du Saloum Biosphere Reserve and the local population’s knowledge and use of these services. His findings will help the Senegalese Man and Biosphere Committee and the managers of the national park to refine their conservation policies and priorities.

Nevil Sigana, Kenya

He will be documenting the contribution of local and Indigenous knowledge to conservation of the Malindi-Watamu Arabuko Sokoke Biosphere Reserve. This knowledge will inform decision-making in areas such as human security, biodiversity health, education and natural resources management.

Eva Camila Florencia Tavano Formigo, Argentina

She will be analysing the presence of microplastics in marine mammals of the Valdés Biosphere Reserve, as well as the dynamics of the marine food web in the area. Her results will help to inform policies aimed at curbing microplastic pollution.

Francisco Zumpano, Argentina

Through a participatory mapping of recreational fishing in the Mar Chiquita Biosphere Reserve, he will identify basic guidelines for managing this activity which will culminate in the development of a guide to fishing for locals and visitors to the biosphere reserve.

This press release was originally published on the website of UNESCO.

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