Illegal wildlife trade remains a leading threat to global biodiversity. The contemporary "poaching crisis" that faces species such as elephants, tigers and rhinos has spurred renewed debate over the most effective and appropriate policy responses. Wildlife farming (also known as captive breeding, ranching, cultivation, aquaculture) is one proposed strategy through which to reduce pressures on wild populations, while continuing to satisfy consumer demand with legal, sustainably farmed alternatives. However, wildlife farming has been subject to little scrutiny, and experiences to date seem to have yielded mixed conservation and livelihood outcomes. Related debates are increasingly contentious, and are at the forefront of global fora, including the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) that governs international wildlife trade.
To enable more evidence-based decision-making, this research will explore the impacts of wildlife farming on (a) biodiversity conservation, particularly harvesting of targeted wild populations, (b) other species (e.g., feedstock), (c) broader habitats (e.g., rangelands for farmed taxa), and (d) local community livelihoods and rights. Research will involve meta-analysis of diverse taxa subject to wildlife farming, including flora and fauna, different types of wildlife use (e.g., luxury, medicinal) and scales of trade (e.g., domestic, international). Because detailed data on many important parameters do not exist, research will draw on expert knowledge - notably IUCN taxa specialist groups - to evaluate many of these impacts. This will involve interviews/questionnaires and quantitative social science methods such as Delphi iterative process and Qualitative Comparative Analysis. The project will also include field-based research on a target species to ground observations (e.g., with local expert knowledge, socio-economic, attitudinal, and possibly ecological data). The case study taxa and types of data will be selected based on access/data availability, the student’s prior travel, research and language skills, and might include Panthera tigris, Andrias davidianus, Orchidaceae, Ursus thibetanus, Salmo salar, Pecari tajacu.
Further Information: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/sci-tech/downloads/phd_261.pdf
Academic Requirements: First-class or 2.1 (Hons) degree, or Masters degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject.
Deadline for applications: 14 February 2016
Provisional Interview Date: [tbc] Week Beginning 29 February 2016
Start Date: October 2016
Application process: Please upload a completed application form (download from http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/media/lancaster-university/content-assets/documents/lec/pg/LEC_Funded_PhD_Application_Form.docx) outlining your background and suitability for this project and a CV at LEC Postgraduate Research Applications, http://www.lec.lancs.ac.uk/postgraduate/pgresearch/apply-online.
You also require two references, please send the reference form (download from http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/media/lancaster-university/content-assets/documents/lec/pg/LEC_Funded_PhD_Reference_Form.docx) to your two referees and ask them to email it to Andy Harrod ([Email Address Removed]), Postgraduate Research (PGR) Co-ordinator, Lancaster Environment Centre by the deadline.
Due to the limited time between the closing date and the interview date, it is essential that you ensure references are submitted by the closing date or as soon as possible.
Full studentships (UK/EU tuition fees and stipend (£14,057 2015/16 [tax free])) for UK/EU students for 3.5 years or full studentships (International tuition fees and stipend (£14,057 2015/16 [tax free])) for International students for 3 years.
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2. Challender, D.W.S, McMillan, D.C. 2014. Poaching is more than an enforcement problem. Conservation Letters 7:484-494.
3. Conrad, K. 2012. Trade bans: a perfect storm for poaching? Tropical Conservation Science 5:245-254.
4. Laurance, W.F. et al. 2012. Averting biodiversity collapse in tropical forest protected areas. Nature 489:290-294.
5. Lyons, J.A., Natusch, D.J.D. 2011. Wildlife laundering through breeding farms: Illegal harvest, population declines and a means of regulating the trade of green pythons (Morelia viridis) from Indonesia. Biological Conservation 144:3073-3081.
6. Phelps et al. 2013. A Framework for Assessing Supply-Side Wildlife Conservation. Conservation Biology 28:244-257.
7. Secco, L.D., Pirard, R. 2015. Do tree plantations support forest conservation? CIFOR InfoBrief No. 110. Center for International Forestry Research, Bogor, Indonesia. URL: http://www.cifor.org/publications/pdf_files/infobrief/5485-infobrief.pdf.
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