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New Science Unit Will Support African Heartlands Program

  • Sunday, October 1, 2000

AWF is establishing a Heartlands Science Unit to support its African Heartlands conservation program.

The science unit will combine expertise currently available in Africa and in Washington, D.C., to articulate the scientific principles upon which the Heartlands model is based and to ensure that Heartlands remains a strong, scientifically grounded program.

The Heartlands are large African landscapes of exceptional wildlife and natural value extending across state, private and community lands. AWF works with these landholders, governments and others in the Heartlands to conserve wild species, communities and natural processes. AWF is collaborating with its partners in Africa to identify potential additional Heartlands and to take steps to reduce threats to and promote the successful management of those areas by the people who depend on them.

The initial Heartlands program was based on what was then state-of-the-art knowledge about large-scale conservation. But the whole science of landscape, or ecosystem, conservation is evolving continuously. The new unit will:

Follow advances in landscape conservation;

Continue to define and articulate the unique aspects of AWF's Heartlands program;

Develop relationships with scientific institutions and universities to bolster field-level results;

Refine approaches to large-scale site planning for use by field staff and partners across Heartlands;

Track effectiveness of conservation strategies, especially progress in reducing threats to key conservation targets in Heartlands; and

Establish Geographic Information System (GIS) technical capacity so that maps and reports can be created for managers, landholders and donors.

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