Empowering Conservation Through Science-Based Capacity Building

Sunday, February 14, 2016: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Harding (Marriott Wardman Park)
Eva Garen, Yale University, New Haven, CT
While scientific data can inform decision-making about a range of conservation and development issues in biodiversity-rich tropical areas, this information tends not to reach the people who manage these regions. The Environmental Leadership & Training Initiative (ELTI) was created to bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and decision making in tropical forest landscapes now dominated by a mosaic of agriculture and conventional cattle ranching, second growth forests and industrial land use. Two of ELTI's primary training sites are located in Panama in partnership with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). ELTI and STRI regularly hold field courses at the sites for diverse decision-makers on strategies to protect and restore native tree cover and ecosystem services. This presentation introduces ELTI's Training Program located within STRI's Agua Salud Project, which includes innovative teaching and demonstration techniques that link participants to the current scientific data on land use and watersheds. The presentation also highlights how ELTI's courses in Panama and elsewhere empower participants to make transformational impacts in tropical landscapes.