Room to roam and hotspots of conservation conflicts – the ‘matrix’

Our research focusses on the matrix (i.e. the part fo the landscape that spearates the natural habitat patches and that often comprises urban areas, cropland and other areas shaped predominantly by human activities)/. Becca’s Phd determines the viability of the matrix for free-roaming lion populations in the 21st century in Eastern Africa. In particular, her project aims to identify the measures that could be taken to halt or reverse the decline of the African lion surviving within and outside the protected area network. Lauren’s MSc focusses on elpehants and their use of the crop produciton landscape in the Kilombero Valley. She is collaborating with the Southern Tanzania Elephant Project (STEP) to look at conservation conflict consequences following the restoration of elepant movement corridors in the valley (linking the Selous and the Udzungwa Mountains). And she is working with communities to idetnfiy suitable, acceptable, and feasible conflict migitation solutions.

Time scale: October 2017 – Spring 2021 (Becca’s). 2020/21 Lauren’s.

Funding through: NERC DTP IAPETUS, TTA, One Planet Fund at Newcastle University

Team: PhD student – Rebecca Sargent, MBiol student – Lauren Barnes, PI – Dr Marion Pfeifer, Partners:

  • Lions: Dr Nils Bunnefeld (University of Stirling) and Dr Amy Dickman (WildCRU, University of Oxford)
  • Elephants: Jospehine Smit and Dr Trevor Jones (STEP, Tanzania). Dr Deo Shirima (SUA, Tanzania). Prof Steve Rushton (Newcastle University)

Key research area: ecosystem functions and services  as well as disservices in human-modified tropical landscapes