I just came back from the 26th International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB) under the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB). The Religion and Conservation Working Group and Religion and Conservation Research Collaborative belong under the SCB and this year we had two great symposiums and several very interesting talks relevant to the theme on religion and conservation.
On the first day of the conference, we had Steve Awoyemi and Jame Scheffer‘s symposium on The Impact of Animal Release on Biodiversity and Human Health: Exploring Opportunities to Bridge Conservation and Religion. The bulk of this research and outreach activities was focused on China and Taiwan where the Buddhist practice of animal merit release is threatening biodiversity, ecological integrity, and human health. More on this symposium in a later post (hopefully with pictures!).
I did not manage to catch this talk but Ashley Massey from Oxford University, School of Geography and the Environment gave a talk on Do Ethiopian church forests provide ecosystem services on a landscape scale? I met Ashley earlier this year in Zurich for the mini-symposium on Conserving nature at sacred sites where she gave a presentation on the work she carried out with indigenous people in Kinabalu National Park, Sabah, Malaysia. Maybe I could try to convince Ashley to contribute a post on her work in the future.
Juan Li from Peking University also gave an interesting presentation on the excellent work she carried out on snow leopard conservation with Tibetan communities in the Sanjiangyuan region. We are thrilled that she has agreed to write a blog post for us on her work on snow leopards in Tibet and certainly look forward to her insights working with religious communities to save the enigmatic snow leopard.
On the last day, we had the symposium Culture and Conservation: Conserving sacred sites and species in the Anthropocene which was organised by Emma Shepheard-Walwyn from the University of Kent. We heard excellent talks from Ashley, Alison Ormsby, Emma, Celia Nyamweru, and Fabrizio Frascaroli (which I stood in for since Fabrizio was unable to make it for the conference). It was interesting to hear about the diversity of sacred sites around the world, how they are useful in preserving biological diversity and the types of threats they face. Too interesting for this short post, so more on this (again, hopefully with some pictures!) in a later post.
So much to update and so much excellent research going on regarding religion and conservation! Keep it up guys!