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Africa's Rift Valley saved by parks
Date:5/3/2012

NEW YORK (May 3, 2012) A new book produced by the Wildlife Conservation Society and Albertine Rift Conservation Society documents how well-managed protected areas with good law enforcement have saved wildlife in Africa's Albertine Rift Valley despite decades of insecurity and war.

The book documents how the Rift Valley, one of the most wildlife-rich regions on the planet, faces a variety of challenges from climate change, pressures on wildlife and plant communities, and changes in both human demography and attitudes toward conservation.

Entitled "The Ecological Impact of Long-Term Changes in Africa's Rift Valley" (Nova, 2012), the book is edited by Director of WCS's Albertine Rift Program, Andrew Plumptre, and was a product of a conference supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The book looks at changes at 11 research sites in the Albertine Rift over the past 50-100 years. Each chapter is authored by several scientists who synthesized data from their respective sites from the time when data were first collected until the present.

"The Albertine Rift, which contains not only spectacular wildlife, but also some of the highest human densities on the continent, gives us insight into where Africa is heading as human populations increase and the effects of climate change are increasingly felt and recognized," said Plumptre. "The conclusions of the book show that areas that were not designated as protected have largely been lost. As some currently question whether protected areas are the best strategy for conservation, this book is a strong argument for their important role."

In Uganda for example, where 95 percent of all large mammals were killed during the 1970s and 1980s by poachers, there are virtually no elephants, lions, hyenas, buffalos, and large antelope species living outside of protected areas. In fact, throughout the Albertine Rift, large mammal sightings are increasi
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Contact: Stephen Sautner
ssautner@wcs.org
718-220-3682
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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Africa's Rift Valley saved by parks
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