A joint SCB-Europe and SCB-Africa initiative: The 100 questions for biodiversity conservation in Mediterranean North Africa
Acil, N., Khebour Allouche, F., Saifi, R., Bouarakia, O., Saifi, H., Benabdelkader, M. and Moreira, F. (2018). A joint SCB-Europe and SCB-Africa initiative: The 100 questions for biodiversity conservation in Mediterranean North Africa. 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. doi: 10.17011/conference/eccb2018/107263
© the Authors, 2018
The Mediterranean region is a hotspot of biodiversity facing numerous environmental threats and socio-economic challenges. Researchers have a key role in providing pragmatic solutions for the conservation of biodiversity, and to this end, they need to be able to answer questions that are of interest to policy makers and land managers. Identifying the most important questions that need to be answered will guide scientific research to address the most pressing issues in a way that optimises nature protection while also meeting societal demands. Carried out jointly by the African and European sections of the Society for Conservation Biology as part of an ongoing exercise taking place in the five regions of the world with Mediterranean-type climates, this study aims to identify one hundred priority research questions that, if answered, could improve the effectiveness of conservation actions targeted at Mediterranean biodiversity in North Africa. Based on an adaptation of the approach developed by William J. Sutherland et al [Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 2, 3, (2011)] that seeks to maximise diversity, inclusiveness and openness, questions are collected in an anonymous way from environmental specialists working in a wide range of institutions (universities, consultancy firms, NGOs, businesses, cooperation agencies etc.) and having expertise in the region (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya or Egypt). Relying on purposive sampling, participants are solicited through a variety of ways, including e-mail invitations, phone calls, meetings in person etc. The consultations are essentially conducted via a form embedded in the project website. Participants are asked to formulate questions that should address important gaps in knowledge and be answerable through a realistic research project (i.e. ideally translatable into an operational scientific hypothesis, with spatial and temporal scales that can reasonably be tackled by a research team). Classified into thematic categories of relevance to conservation (ecological management, agriculture, climate change, governance etc.), submitted questions will be sorted out, grouped by topic, eventually merged and rephrased. Their priority level will be evaluated, compared and ranked, following an iterative process of criteria-based assessment, voting and consensus-based discussions with a committee of experts. Narrowed down to 100 research questions, the final list will be compared with the set obtained from southern Europe, allowing the highlighting of divergence in issues and concerns across both margins of the Mediterranean Sea. This study may serve as a roadmap to aid research and decision-making in a way that is inclusive and comprehensive, reflecting conservation needs from different perspectives, indicating where efforts and resources should be directed, highlighting potential opportunities for enhancement and possibly bringing to light issues that are poorly recognised or newly emerging. ...
PublisherOpen Science Centre, University of Jyväskylä
ConferenceECCB2018: 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology. 12th - 15th of June 2018, Jyväskylä, Finland
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- ECCB 2018