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Incidentally, I may be getting involved in a conservation planning exercise in the Congo Basin, but sometimes it as myself "why bother". I mean, I am pretty sure we can adapt our boreal-based method produce some interesting results that could be the starting point for a systematic implementation by a regional authority. But then it occurs to me that any given effort in Africa can be undone by 500 guys with automatic rifles, of which no shortage, as you point out.
In that case, "why bother" is because if it gets rolling, then individual instances can get knocked out, but not each seed that has been planted.
And if it is the classical USAID model where its a one-off, non-reproducing, dependent-on-imported inputs project, then in that case, not bothering would be the ideal approach.
I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
I'll write something up about this project if and when, and would value any remarks you have at that time. It'll be a completely new thing for me, working in (or at least, on) Africa.
Singing: look, look, look to the rainbow...
<Prepares Garlic, religious siverware and sharpened sticks> ;-)
Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
In practice, as with the boreal, we'd probably want to divide up the region into ecologically meaning chunks...I have no idea how to approach that for the Congo, which is what the grad project will mostly be about...that and determining the appropriate ecological representation criteria. In the boreal, we use a number of remote/sensed attributes (categorical land cover glasses from GLC 2000, and some continuous measures of productivity, soil moisture deficits, and riparianicity). Some of these may make no sense in the region, but I am no Tropical Ecologist. I guess my interest in this project is to see if the components of the abstract system we have developed for northern forests can be shown to have functional analogues in a completely different system.
There will be a lot to learn. I am leaning to the north and west, as I find The Gabon really intriguing...the Land that People Forget (To Screw Up)? And if this gets off the ground, I promise to put up a short diary about the problem.
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