Geospatial information analysis is used increasingly in both research and practice with job opportunities expected to grow 22% from 2010 to 2020. This certificate covers a variety of geospatial technologies and analytic methods, such as digital mapping, geographic information system (GIS), and remotely sensed image processing, aiming to develop spatial thinking ability for students. Lab-based applications emphasize hands-on experiences of these technologies.
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Andrew J. Noss, Daniel J. Ingram
Article first published online: NOV 2016 Conservation Biology newsletter, Africa Conservation Telegraph
Unsustainable hunting threatens both biodiversity and local livelihoods. Three recent publications summarize collaborations of researchers representing an array of institutions working on hunting and wildlife conservation issues in African rainforests including CENAREST (Gabon), University of Buea (Cameroon), Imo State University (Nigeria), University of Pretoria (South Africa), CIFOR, TRAFFIC, UNEP-WCMC, University of Sussex, AWF, WCS, WWF, ZSL, FFI, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, other African NGOs, as well as other European / United States / Japanese universities.
The OFFTAKE database was created in 2013 with the aim of synthesizing studies that quantify the harvest, consumption or transaction of wild species (www.offtake.org; Taylor et al. 2015). The database currently holds data for over 550 sites globally, spanning over four decades of research, providing a resource for analyses at national and regional levels. In order to track changes in offtake, consumption or #### over time, a more systematically selected and regularly monitored set of sites would be desirable, spanning a range of current depletion levels and contextual socio-economic circumstances in both regions. Wild meat researchers and policymakers need to develop indicators that are robust and practical to collect for track wild meat use and measure sustainability in order to inform national and regional policy on wild meat hunting (e.g. Ingram et al. 2015). The OFFTAKE database relies on the generous contributions of hundreds of researchers that have contributed their data. If you have appropriate data that you would be willing to share with us, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two other compilation efforts focus on hunter-gatherers in Congo basin forests. Although numerous alternative terms to “Pygmy” have been used to refer the rainforest hunter-gatherers of the Congo Basin, none have been agreed upon by academics or the people themselves to replace it. Some academics and Central African government officers feel the term Pygmy is derogatory or does not adequately represent the people, but the term Pygmy sensu lato, to refer to all hunter-gatherer groups in Central Africa, is widely used by a broad group of people in Europe, Japan, the United States and Africa. Moreover, international and local NGOs use the term in their titles or literature. Pygmy groups consider themselves, and are judged by their farming neighbors, as the aboriginal people of the Central African forests. They identify closely with the forest, and depend to varying degrees on hunting and gathering wild products from the rainforest ecosystem. Recent legislation in some countries has recognized the rights of “autochthones” (indigenous or first peoples). However, despite such provisions under law, in all countries where Pygmies are found, they are increasingly marginalized, and threatened by disease, displacement, forced sedentarization, and deforestation (Olivero et al. 2016).
The first effort compared data on game harvests from 60 Pygmy and non-Pygmy settlements in the Congo Basin forests, finding that the non-Pygmy population may be responsible for 27 times more animals harvested than the Pygmy population. Non-Pygmy hunters take a wider range of species, twice as many animals per square kilometer, a larger proportion of game with low population growth rates, and sell more bushmeat for profit. The intense competition that may arise from the more widespread commercial hunting by non-Pygmies is a far more important constraint and source of conflict than are protected areas (which may restrict use rights) for Pygmies (Fa et al 2016).
The second effort compiled locational data and population sizes for 654 Pygmy camps and settlements across five countries (Olivero et al. 2016). These data were used to develop spatial distribution models based on the favorability function, which distinguish areas with favorable environmental conditions from those less suitable for Pygmy presence. Highly favorable areas were significantly explained by presence of tropical forests, and by lower human pressure variables. For documented Pygmy settlements, the relationship between observed population sizes and predicted favorability values was used to estimate the total Pygmy population of around 920,000 Pygmies (over 60% in DRC) within favorable forest areas in Central Africa. Fragmentation of the existing Pygmy populations, alongside pressure from extractive industries and sometimes conflict with conservation areas, endanger their future. There is an urgent need to inform policies that can mitigate future external threats to these indigenous peoples’ culture and lifestyles.
Read the full publication at Conservation Biology newsletter, Africa Conservation Telegraph
Dr. Robert Walker has received an NSF award from the Geography and Spatial Sciences program, to fund a project entitled “International Trade Agreements, Globalization, Land Change, and Agricultural Food Networks” with a budget of $375,000.
The research, to be conducted in Mexico, investigates links between spatial shifts in that country’s forest biomes, and neoliberal reforms associated with GATT and NAFTA. Robert Walker, of the UF Department of Geography and the Center for Latin American Studies, will lead the project, in collaboration with Co-PI Dr. Yankuic Galvan-Miyoshi, a postdoctoral researcher at UF. The research involves an international team, including agronomist Dr. Ema Maldonado from Universidade Autonoma de Chapingo (Estado de Mexico), soil scientist Dr. Marta Astier from Universidade Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM), and environmental scientist Dr. Omar Masera, who directs UNAM’s Bioenergy Laboratory. Economic geographer Dr. Barney Warf, from the University of Kansas, will also participate.
The project, of three years duration, will conduct a large-scale survey of Mexican feedlots, in order to ascertain the spatial reconfiguration of maize and beef commodity chains stemming from shifts in trade policy and globalization. It will then determine the extent to which changing commodity chains explain regional patterns of forest loss and regeneration, across Mexico as a whole.
Basic concepts, theories, and operations in GIS
Hands-on experiences of mainstream GIS software
Ability of spatial thinking and reasoning
Knowledge for advanced GIS courses
I. T. Kracalik, R. Abdullayev, K. Asadov, R. Ismayilova, M. Baghirova, N. Ustun, M. Shikhiyev, A. Talibzade and J. K. Blackburn
Article first published online: 25 Sep 2015 in Zoonoses and Public Health
ABSTRACT: Brucellosis is one of the most common and widely spread zoonotic diseases in the world. Control of the disease in humans is dependent upon limiting the infection in animals through surveillance and vaccination. Given the dramatic economic and political changes that have taken place in the former Soviet Union, which have limited control, evaluating the status of human brucellosis in former Soviet states is crucial. We assessed annual spatial and temporal trends in the epidemiology of human brucellosis in Azerbaijan, 1983–2009, in conjunction with data from a livestock surveillance and control programme (2002–2009). To analyse trends, we used a combination of segmented regression and spatial analysis. From 1983 to 2009, a total of 11 233 cases of human brucellosis were reported. Up to the mid-1990s, the incidence of human brucellosis showed a pattern of re-emergence, increasing by 25% annually, on average. Following Soviet governance, the incidence rates peaked, increasing by 1.8% annually, on average, and subsequently decreasing by 5% annually, on average, during the period 2002–2009. Despite recent national declines in human incidence, we identified geographic changes in the case distribution characterized by a geographic expansion and an increasing incidence among districts clustered in the south-east, compared to a decrease of elsewhere in the country. Males were consistently, disproportionately afflicted (71%) and incidence was highest in the 15 to 19 age group (18.1 cases/100 000). During the period 2002–2009, >10 million small ruminants were vaccinated with Rev1. Our findings highlight the improving prospects for human brucellosis control following livestock vaccination; however, the disease appears to be re-emerging in south-eastern Azerbaijan. Sustained one health measures are needed to address changing patterns of brucellosis in Azerbaijan and elsewhere in the former Soviet Union.
- Geographic and temporal patterns of brucellosis have changed following the dissolution of the Soviet Union and a livestock control programme.
- Prospects for the control of human brucellosis have improved following livestock vaccination with Rev1; however, the disease appears to be re-emerging in certain areas.
- Sustained one health measures and collaborations are needed to address changes in the occurrence of brucellosis in Azerbaijan and elsewhere in the former Soviet Union.
Read the full publication at Zoonoses and Public Health.