WTI’s Road Ecology program is building a growing presence in Latin America. Recently, researchers have been invited to present at several high profile conservation conferences and workshops, with more collaborations on the horizon for 2017.
In November, Tony Clevenger attended and gave the keynote presentation at the 1st Iberoamerican Congress on Biodiversity Conservation and Transportation at the Federal University in Lavras, Brasil. New environmental impact assessment laws in Brazil have generated growing interest in road effects, impacts assessments, and planning measures to mitigate impacts. Tony is also helping the Congress organizers plan a wildlife crossing design parameters workshop in fall 2017, modeled after the ARC (Animal Road Crossing) Solutions workshop in Bozeman, Montana. Tony is currently co-supervsing two graduate students at the University of Lavras, with additional educational exchanges planned for later in 2017.
Also in November, Tony Clevenger attended a two-day workshop in Mexico City, “TALLER NACIONAL INTERSECTORIAL DE MITIGACIÓN DE IMPACTOS POR OBRAS DE INFRAESTRUCTURA SOBRE EL JAGUAR Y SU HÁBITAT”[National workshop on mitigating impacts of infrastructure on jaguars and their habitat]. The goal of the workshop was to bring together high level administrators from the Ministries of Transportation, Energy, Tourism, Pemex, and Protected Areas, to share information regarding threats and alternatives to mitigate infrastructure impacts on jaguar populations, connectivity, and habitat in the Mayan Forest (Yucatan states of Campeche, Quintana Roo, Merida). From this workshop a pilot project has been initiated with interagency involvement to identify critical areas for mitigating infrastructure impacts on jaguars in Yucatan, Belize, and Guatemala.
Later in 2017, outreach opportunities exist in Central America. There is a high level government meeting planned for the Mesoamerican countries that will take place in Costa Rica in October 2017. In response to a Mesoamerican initiative (Puebla to Panama) to construct more than 30,000 km of new roads in this region, governments are exploring green infrastructure to help protect their rich biodiversity and maintain connected habitats and wildlife populations.