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UWyo Magazine

May 2016 | Vol. 17, No. 3

Professor Jo Albers (second from left) and colleagues near the Amani Nature Reserve in Tanzania, where they are studying forest fragmentation. Courtesy Photo

Professor Jo Albers (second from left) and colleagues near the Amani Nature Reserve in Tanzania, where they are studying forest fragmentation. Courtesy Photo

 

Researching People and Protected Areas

Jo Albers is the Knobloch Wyoming Excellence Chair in Conservation Economics and Finance and Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources and Department of Economics professor. She studies natural resource management in low-income countries, with an emphasis on biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation. Her research on protected areas and how their associated policies affect local populations takes her all over the world.

In 2013, Albers conducted research as a Fulbright Scholar in Tanzania, interviewing managers of protected areas and people in the surrounding villages about the positives and negatives of living near protected parks. Now, Albers is applying her bio-economic model to marine protected areas (MPAs).

“We look at MPAs with different restrictions and determine how these restrictions affect the goals of the protected area and the rural people,” Albers says. “My central contribution is how these two fit together: What’s the impact of ecological policies on people, and how can you be more successful with your conservation policies when you think about how people respond?

“We’re comparing the MPA policy in Costa Rica to that of Tanzania.

“Until recently, my work has focused on terrestrial protected areas and forest ecosystem management,” she says. But she saw many of the same pitfalls arising in new MPA implementation as seen in land conservation. “We’re hoping that this work will inform how countries expand and manage MPA networks.”

Albers also collaborates with Haub School colleague Nicole Korfanta, who has researched how forest fragmentation in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania affects bird populations. Albers is looking at land-use decisions and how to reduce forest fragmentation from a human perspective.

“We’re thinking about what policies could be implemented that would reduce the fragmentation so that you get both effective income benefits and bird population conservation benefits,” Albers says. “It’s a truly interdisciplinary perspective, which I think is really important in these international settings where property rights and markets don’t necessarily work the way we expect them to work here (in the United States), and the ecosystems work differently too.”

In addition, Albers is working on a collaborative project studying sea turtle conservation in regard to egg laying in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. “We’re looking to characterize both the range of ecological settings and the range of community socioeconomic settings and develop a framework for policies that will lead to turtle conservation that reflects the specific bio-socioeconomic setting without undue burden on the rural people,” Albers says.

She brings her international experience to the classroom. “I think it’s really important for Wyoming students to have that broader international perspective and then to tie those scenarios to related situations in our state, such as wildlife migration in the Serengeti and in western Wyoming,” Albers says. “I also want to develop short courses abroad where we look at people-park conflicts and policies to resolve those conflicts.”


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The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of the University of Wyoming


About UWyo

Advertise

Subscribe

UWyo Archives

Contact Us

UWyo Magazine
University of Wyoming
Dept. 3226
1000 East University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-2000
Phone: 307-766-2379
TTY: 307-766-6729
Email: uwyomag@uwyo.edu

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