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  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: July 2010

20 - Long-term research and conservation: the way forward


This book has described the conservation activities generated by seven African long-term research stations. They are the sites where research has been on-going for the longest period – the six oldest sites for chimpanzees, and the single oldest site for gorillas. In all of them the impacts on conservation appear to be diverse and positive, suggesting that the presence of researchers is an important predictor of conservation success. There is also informal evidence suggesting that the conservation status of these sites is better than comparable areas without such research. Gombe National Park, for example, was once surrounded by forest but is now an island of forest in a sea of agriculture. However, our sample of field stations is small, and various kinds of bias could temper the conclusion that long-term research has been responsible for conservation. In this chapter, therefore, we first summarize the conservation activities carried out by long-term researchers. We then suggest that the increased establishment and support of field stations might lead to improved conservation success in the future.


Conservation consequences emanating from long-term research are diverse both within and across sites. Within sites, the variety is illustrated by the case considered in the greatest detail, Makerere University Biological Field Station (MUBFS) at Kibale National Park in Uganda. Across sites, researchers from the six other sites considered in this book (Bossou, Budongo, Gombe, Mahale, Taï, Virungas) report on major activities that vary from ecotourism and education to community-based conservation projects.