# Cambridge part of project exploring the mitigation hierarchy in biodiversity and conservation
22nd February, 2017
Reader in the Political Economy of Environment and Development Bhaskar Vira has been involved in a project exploring the dynamics that lie behind managing the impact of new developments in industry and construction. Avoiding impacts is seen by many as the most certain and effective way of managing harm to biodiversity. However, despite an abundance of legislative and voluntary requirements, there is often a failure to avoid impacts. This project explores the reasons for this failure and outlines some possible solutions. It highlights the key roles that can be played by conservation organizations in cultivating political will, holding decision makers accountable to the law, improving the processes of impact assessment and avoidance, building capacity, and providing technical knowledge. These findings can help to limit the impacts on biodiversity of large-scale developments in energy, infrastructure, agriculture and other sectors.
- Phalan, B., Hayes, G., Brooks, S., Marsh, D., Howard, P., Costelloe, B., Vira, B., Kowalska, A. and Whitaker, S., 2017. Avoiding impacts on biodiversity through strengthening the first stage of the mitigation hierarchy. ORYX, p.1-9. doi:10.1017/S0030605316001034.
# Imagining infrastructures workshop
20th February, 2017
A workshop, Imagining infrastructures: space, subject, and affect, will be held in the Department on 8th March 2017, from 2-6pm.
The idea of infrastructure has expanded in recent years to encompass not just technological networks but modes of living, interstitial spaces, and emerging bio-cultural landscapes. Infrastructure now extends to different scales of analysis from the multi-sensory domain of the individual human subject to more complex or diffuse types of attachments, atmospheres, and subjectivities.
Dinner will follow the event.
Please RSVP to email@example.com .
# Film screening of Geography Graduate's film 'Facing the Mountains'
17th February, 2017
On Friday 24 Feb, the Department of Geography will be hosting a screening of 'Facing the Mountains', a film co-directed by Geography graduate Ross Harrison:
Facing the Mountains (20:36) (Director/Camera/Editor: Ross Harrison; Director/Producer: Vaibhav Kaul; Score: Juliet Aaltonen)
Coping with extremes is part of life for people across the Himalayas. But in June 2013, at Kedarnath, a sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in northern India, conditions fatefully aligned to produce an unprecedented disaster. Thousands of pilgrims and locals were faced with a once-in-a-generation catastrophe and thousands of lives were lost. Through the words of survivors, local elders and new visitors, we are shown a portrait of a place where the events of 2013 have become part of a larger story; one of resilience, of faith, and of eternal change.
Screening at 4.15pm, Small Lecture Theatre. The screening will be followed by an informal discussion with the film makers.
# Geography PhD Student featured in 'Cambridge's postgraduate pioneers'
16th February, 2017
Jonny came to Cambridge from Northern Ireland and his research explores the relationship between people, snow leopards and snow leopard conservation in two protected areas in Nepal: the Annapurna Conservation Area and the Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park. Jonny is identifying the human factors which are both critical for and detrimental to snow leopard conservation, including assessing household conflict with snow leopards and conservation efforts. In particular, Jonny's study examines how attitudes vary under the contrasting management regimes at his two field sites, as well as varying degrees of livelihood dependence on livestock. Jonny's work in Nepal has included surveying 705 households and conducting seventy qualitative interviews with local people who share the mountains with snow leopards
# Mapping malaria on a local scale
15th February, 2017
A team including Emeritus Professor of Human Geography Bob Haining are working towards the development of a new spatial support system for infectious diseases within Karnataka State in India. Their latest work has focused on the incidence of malaria in the region, using data mapping and cluster detection to identify local conditions associated with high numbers cases. This project will contribute to the development of a practical spatial decision support system for combatting the disease in the area.
# Department of Geography hosts Distinguished Visitor Professor Professor Didier Fassin
15th February, 2017
As part of the Distinguished Visitors Scheme, Professor Didier Fassin will be visiting the Department from Tuesday 14th to Thursday 16th February, 2017.
Didier Fassin is the James Wolfensohn Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study and Director of Studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris. Didier is an anthropologist and a sociologist who has conducted fieldwork in Senegal, Ecuador, South Africa, and France.
# Geography researchers part of a project to understan Ethiopia’s volcanoes
14th February, 2017
Professor of Geography Christine Lane and Professor of Volcanology Clive Oppenheimer are part of a team that has undertaken new research on tephra (volcanic ash) in the Afar Triangle and adjacent Ethiopian Rift Valley. The team has undertaken the first <17 cal ka BP tephrostratigraphy for the Afar Triangle using sediments from lakes Ashenge and Hayk (Ethiopian Highlands). The variable and distinct glass compositions of the tephra layers indicate they may have been erupted from as many as seven volcanoes. This project has demonstrated the importance of undertaking further study within this region, so as to better understand its volcanic past, and to be better able to predict volcanoes in the future.
Publication: Martin-Jones, C.M., Lane, C.S., Pearce, N.J.G., Smith, V.C., Lamb, H.F., Oppenheimer, C., Asrat, A. and Schaebitz, F., 2017. Glass compositions and tempo of post-17 ka eruptions from the Afar Triangle recorded in sediments from lakes Ashenge and Hayk, Ethiopia. Quaternary Geochronology, v. 37, p.15-31. doi:10.1016/j.quageo.2016.10.001.
# India’s militant rhino protectors are challenging traditional views of how conservation works
13th February, 2017
Reader in the Political Economy of Environment and Development and Director of University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute Bhaskar Vira responds to a BBC Investigation into Kaziranga, a national park in north-eastern India, which found that guards at the park were shooting suspected poachers dead in order to protect the rhinos.
In a piece for The Conversation Dr Vira explores what the case reveals about the conflicts that characterise contemporary conservation, as the need to protect endangered species comes into contact with the lives and rights of people who live in and around the increasingly threatened national parks.
# How can we tackle abuse in the global garment industry?
9th February, 2017
An article by Department lecturer Alice Evans from The Conversation and the Australian DevPolicy Blog explores ways in which the governments could improve conditions within the global garment industry through a focus on gender inequalities and trade incentives.
# How do wildfires affect boreal forests?
7th February, 2017
Great swathes of the boreal forest floor are covered with a thick layer of moss (the 'boreal bryosphere'). Microbes living in this moss layer play a critical ecological role, not least in terms of nutrient (primarily nitrogen) supply. This study showed that wildfires can disrupt the microbial communities of the bryosphere for a period of decades. This finding has implications for the long-term functioning of boreal forests, as these ecosystems are expected to experience more frequent wildfires as a consequence of climate change.
- Cutler, N.A., Arróniz-Crespo, M., Street, L.E., Jones, D.L., Chaput, D.L. and DeLuca, T.H., 2017. Long-Term Recovery of Microbial Communities in the Boreal Bryosphere Following Fire Disturbance. Microbial Ecology, v. 73, p.75-90. doi:10.1007/s00248-016-0832-7.