International Alliance of Protected Areas
Annual Work Report of 2016/2017
In accordance with the work plan agreed on during the 2016 General Assembly of IAPA (Appendix 1), IAPA conducted the following activities in the past year:
- Establish the Protected Area working committee in Beijing
In order to support the IAPA, the International Society of Zoological Sciences (ISZS) established the Protected Area Working Committee (The List of committee members in appendix 2) to promote communication among PAs, and provide technical support to them. The working committee participated in the 9th International Conference on Integrative Zoology (Qinghai Xining, China) in August 2017 and organized a workshop on wildlife monitoring for improving PA management. During that conference, the working committee discussed with other experts about how ISZS could promote wildlife monitoring among IAPA members.
- Establish topicaltask forces
- Monitoring and Evaluation task force: Zhibin Zhang established the ISZS Protected Area Working Committee, which held a workshop to discuss how to promote wildlife monitoring work among IAPA members (The outcomes from the workshop is in the Appendix 3). It currently promotes cross border wildlife monitoring between China and Mongolia, and it organized the wildlife monitoring workshop of IAPA 2017 Annual Meeting, and prepared IAPA working plan.
- Education task force: Xingna Shen (Director of Sichuan Tangjiahe National Nature Reserve) is in charge of the introduction of international nature education teaching materials, the drafting of education materials, and related training. She is establishing a free public education system opening to the local students, federal employees and local communities. Leading the first pilot activity in China, she is leading a group writing a set of environmental education books based on Tangjiahe Nature Reserve. This set of books includes versions for both teachers and students, contains 25 environmental education courses covering plants, mammals, bird watching, community survey, patrolling in the wild, and Wilderness Medicine for EMS, etc. The set of courses can satisfy the needs of different training groups, adults and children. Moreover, Tangjiahe is developing nature education activities with Shanshui Conservation Center, Northeast Forestry University and China West Normal University.
- Promote the Communication of IAPA, Enhance the Development of IAPA
- Improving IAPA’s website (both Chinese and English versions) (appendix 4), adding functions of map searching for both IAPA members and IAPA observers, improving the interface
- Establishing a WeChat group (Appendix 5), currently including 26 entities which are IAPA members. This new platform can promote communication among IAPA members.
- Editingthe first newsletter of IAPA (Appendix 6)
- Enhancing the communicationof IAPA. The number of IAPA members increased from 61 to 75, as of October 20th 75 organizations from 10 countries are currently IAPA members (including 19 international members), and 15 organizations are IAPA observers (Appendix 7)
- Activelypromoting international cooperation and The 2017 Annual Meeting of IAPA – Training and Experience Sharing involves 136 participants, including 28 foreign guests, 41 protected areas from China, and 12 protected area from abroad. More than 20 experts from around the world will provide training in wildlife monitoring, sustainable community development and nature education. The protected areas will share their experiences and prepare the working plan for next year. The IAPA Annual Meeting is becoming a platform for all members to comprehend advanced conservation ideas, exchange management experiences, promote international cooperation, enhance protected area management and promote communication and education. The Annual Meeting is empowering the global network of protected areas to protect the ecosystem services and ecological safety bottom lines on which people from around the world rely for their living.
Annual Work Plan of 2016/2017
- Establish the IAPA working committee in Beijing
Working with the International Society of Zoological Sciences (ISZS), establish the IAPA working committee in Beijing, to promote communication among PAs, and providing technical support to them.
- Enhance the cooperation with international conventions and organizations.
- Communicate with international conventions like Convention on Biological Diversity and Ramsar Convention, in order to integrateIAPA‘s works with other relevant PA projects. IAPA members will be encouraged to develop biodiversity conservation plans and conduct education on these convention.
- Sign an agreement before the end of Dec. 2016 with IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), develop training plan during March~May 2017, conduct training during the time of GA in October 2017; develop a systematic training plan for member PAs including online training.
- Establish and develop electronic communication platform
- Gather member profiles and put them on the IAPA website before the end of Dec. 2016; further complete the functions and uses of the Chinese and English versions of the website; regularly update the work progress, research results and international cooperation of IAPA members.
- Establish a wechat group of IAPA to promote communications among IAPA members;
- Invite an IT expert to serve as an advisory committee member by the end of Dec. 2016, to promote effectiveness of communication and support for protected areas through social media.
- Develop a series working groups to promote solid work on priority needs of IAPA members
- Monitoring and Evaluation Working Group: Dr. Zhang Zhibin will lead the preparatory work to select the Chairs and members of the working group by the end of Dec. 2016. The WG will develop its workplan, and conduct work on developing monitoring objectives, technologies and criteria, and working with member PAs for demonstration. In 2017, IAPA will focus on promoting sharing of data and results on trans-regional migratory endangered species conservation and monitoring actions. IAPA will seek to establish a sharing data mechanism on the same species or the same ecosystem among IAPA members. The working group will also promote development of the species genetic resource bank.
Education Working Group: Ms. Shen Xingna will lead the preparatory work to select the Chairs and members of this working group by the end of Dec. 2016. The WG will develop its workplan, and conduct work on developing text books, training plan and introducing materials from other countries. It will support IAPA members to establish freely available education systems for local students, civil servants and communities.
- Preparation of establishing IAPA Fund to support alliance development, provide funding support to species genetic resource bank development, monitoring and evaluation, members activities and communication.
Dr. Xie Zhongyan, the Chair of IAPA and Mr. Li Zhihong, the Secretary General, will take the responsibility.
- Promote IAPA development and promotion
- Initiate publishing the IAPA member’s Newsletter to share members’ conservation experiences and effects.
- Actively increase members throughout the world.
- Actively promote international cooperation and exchanges among IAPA members, conduct training on research, conservation and monitoring; and promote IAPA members to participate in international and domestic meetings.
- Promote wider sharing of scientific and technological achievements of IAPA members. The Advisory Committee will give guidance, assessments and suggestions on research programs of IAPA members.
Working Group on Protected Areas
International Society of Zoological Sciences
- Co-Coordinator XIE Yan, Associate Research Professor, Institute of Zoological Sciences
- Co-Coordinator: Dr. John MacKinnon, Biodiversity Expert
- LI Zhihong, Director, Changbai National Nature Reserve
- Wang Ding, SecretaryGeneral, MAB National Committee of China
- Feng Jiang, Northeast China Normal University
- Jiang Guangshun, Northeast China Forestry University
- Jeff McNeely, Senior Advisor, Thailand Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation
- Anthony D. Barnosky, Department of Integrative Biology, Museum of Paleontology, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California
- Elizabeth Hadly, Faculty Director of Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve at Stanford University.
WORKSHOP REPORT: 9TH INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON INTEGRATIVE ZOOLOGY
HOW TO PROMOTE WILDLIFE MONITORING
FOR IMPROVING PROTECTED AREA MANAGEMENT
The workshop was organized and led by Dr. Yan Xie and took the form of a discussion in which approximately 30 scientists and a few students participated. The discussion was moderated by Anthony Barnosky and the key points noted herein were summarized by Elizabeth Hadly, Yan, and Barnosky.
Yan presented an overview on the purpose of the workshop, which was essentially to define ways that the ISZS could promote research in and among the International Alliance of Protected Areas (IAPA). This is an important undertaking because worldwide biodiversity is decreasing and protected areas are the last refuges for many species. Yet many protected areas are not yet able to base their management on scientifically sound principles that would maximize their chances of success. By promoting sound science, collaboration, and coordination among protected areas within the IAPA network, the ISZS can help fill a critical need in the conservation community.
The topics posed to the group for discussion included:
- What are goals that could be defined with respect to ISZS contributions to IAPA efforts?
- What kinds of collaboration and/or coordination among protected areas would be most appropriate and successful?
- In terms of data collection, monitoring, and data storage and availability, what activities would be most useful?
- How can the ISZS most effectively communicate science to PA managers and governments to help formulate environmental policy based on sound science?
Several potential goals were discussed, among them:
- Coordinating a uniform monitoring program across several protected areas (PAs),
- Emplacing instrumentation like camera trapping in one or more PAs
- Developing a list of metadata that could be applicable to data collection efforts in most PAs
- Developing apps that could be used by PA personnel and citizen-scientists to monitor wildlife
- Working one-on-one with interested PAs to help train on-the-ground personnel or otherwise help land managers to gather data that would be helpful to their specific land-management needs.
Strong arguments were made that the most successful strategy and most helpful approach would be working towards developing training programs that would help land managers obtain the data they need. These programs would need to be defined by matching appropriate scientists with particular PAs that expressed a need for help, and then through a series of discussions identifying the needs of the PA and a training or monitoring program that could be put into place to obtain the requisite data. Ideally the projects so defined would benefit both the PA and the participating scientists, the former by providing needed information, the latter by research results that would benefit their academic career.
Collaborations and Coordination
Participants felt strongly that trying to coordinate activities among many PAs would be too large a task to begin with. Rather, a better strategy is to show success at smaller scales and then scale up as appropriate. This philosophy fits well with the approach of matching scientists with individual PAs in appropriate ways on a case-by-case basis.
The discussion also touched on the possibility of choosing a small subset of participating PAs to define and emplace coordinated research agenda. The group felt that the logistics of doing this would be challenging, but valuable. Of particular importance would be connecting certain PAs that share key migrant or high profile species so that their linkages would make sense for conservation in our warming world where corridors are crucial.
Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to data gathering, discussants felt that a better approach would be to define data needs for each PA on a case-by-case basis. However, there was some support expressed for defining a basic set of information that should be available from all participating PAs, such as lists of species, habitats, etc.
Some participants suggested that results of widespread interest and of great value for research applications could be obtained from camera-trapping data that already exists, and that it would be easy to emplace a camera-trapping system in interested PAs that do not already have cameras in place. This would require not only the images themselves, but also developing effective protocols to analyze them to answer specific, important research questions. Overall, participants felt that camera-trap data was “low-hanging fruit” that would be highly feasible to capitalize upon. Analysis of images could be centrally accomplished.
Participants felt that ISZS scientists has an important role to play in both discovering the biological principles that are critical for land managers to know, and communicating those principles in ways that would help formulate effective environmental policy. For example, those working on pika issues expressed much frustration that poisoning continues and is funded at high levels, even though pikas are now known not to be responsible for the problems their removal is intended to mitigate, and in fact are keystone species whose absence would degrade the ecosystems of which they are part. It was proposed that in such cases, a unified statement signed by multiple high-level scientists from many countries, delivered to appropriate governmental officials, could be helpful in injecting science into policy. This type of action would also be a large accomplishment for the PA groups of IAPA and the ISZS and a template for other such issues.
The group recognized and supported that developing dialogues with policy makers from local to national levels was needed, and that working closely with those in charge of PAs and the jurisdictions in which they exist would be a good step in this direction.
The key outcome of this workshop was to highlight three approaches by which the ISZS might most productively concentrate its near-term efforts to engage with and help the IAPA effort.
Approach 1. Identify PAs that would like to be matched with scientists to help solve on-the-ground problems faced by the PA. Through appropriate dialogs, mutually beneficial approaches that both advance the goals of the PA and the participating scientist can be worked out. Training that results in PA personnel gathering appropriate data over the long term may be particularly beneficial for many PAs.
Approach 2. Take advantage of existing camera trap data and where easily possible emplace more camera trapping programs in PAs that want them, as a means to both rapidly gather critical wildlife information and lay the groundwork for collaborative work going forward. This collaborative work will need to focus on defining the appropriate research questions to which the data can be applied, and the technology for analyzing the images.
Approach 3. Identify policy problems that PAs would like ISZS scientists to weigh in on, and where consensus exists, develop ISZS statements that would be useful to land managers and governmental officials.
Over the longer term, it will be valuable to:
- Work with PAs to engage local communities to help solve the local environmental and economic problems that exist or may arise in the future
- Demonstrate to the PAs and scientific community why coordinated activities among PAs will be essential for biodiversity conservation
- Identify what those coordinated activities should be, and how to engage PAs to participate
The three approaches noted above seem to be feasible first steps to accomplishing these long-term goals, as well as being useful in and of themselves.