Crawford - “conserving species will be limited by our ability to accurately identify species and characterize their geographic ranges.”
In addition to participating in a range of research programs, STRI scientists, fellows, staff, and students are involved in a large number of conservation-related initiatives. The STRI Conservation Forum, a periodic meeting at the Tupper Headquarters in Panama City, brings together many of those interested in conservation policy, research, and education.
Among others, STRI's conservation-related programs include the following:
- Long-term protection of the forests and wildlife at Barro Colorado Island National Monument
- Key contributions to the establishment and management of marine protected areas, including Coiba National Park and the Las Perlas Archipelago, in cooperation with Panama 's national environmental agency (ANAM)
- Conservation research to assess the survival of Panamanian coral reefs, to survey biodiversity across the eastern Pacific as part of the Seascape initiative, and to study the migratory patterns of endangered whales, turtles, and sharks
- Conservation research at the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project near Manaus, Brazil, and initiatives to protect central-Amazonian forests (see www.inpa.gov.br/)
- Policy initiatives to help protect coastal and marine ecosystems in Panama, by Dr Hector M. Guzman, Dr Stanley Heckadon, and others.
- Policy-related studies of Amazonian deforestation, led by Dr William Laurance
- Initiatives to assess the environmental impacts of hunting, roads, and industrial logging in Central Africa, coordinated by Dr Jeff Hall and Dr William Laurance
- A major reforestation program in Panama, called PRORENA, operated under the aegis of STRI's Center for Tropical Forest Science
- Programs to train environmental decision-makers in Latin America and the Asian tropics, in cooperation with Yale University, known as the Environmental Leadership Training Initiative (ELTI)
- Major public-education initiatives at Culebra Island, Galeta, Barro Colorado Island, Bocas del Toro and other STRI facilities that host tens of thousands of visitors each year
- The most effective acts of conservation come from caring deeply about that which we try to protect. STRI's long tradition of natural history research reveals the rich lives of organisms other than ourselves and helps us care about them. For example, in the article "Signaling Safety," Wings: Essays on Invertebrate Conservation, Autumn, 2006, John Christy, STRI staff scientist, and Patricia Backwell, long-time collaborator, discuss fascinating details of the natural history and behavior of fiddler crabs. These diverse and beautiful crustaceans live primarily in warm temperate and tropical estuaries, coastal habitat that is rapidly being lost to development