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Conservation of biological diversity depends upon a critical mass of dedicated, well-trained people. Developing countries such as Uganda require a cadre of nationals who can work at all levels from policy to science so that their respective country's conservation challenges can be met. Long-term research and training programs can play an important role in creating such a cadre as well as forging international links that bring in extra expertise and resources. Their success is best measured by how many nationals become research leaders and how many become effective mentors and trainers.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature's World Conservation Strategy recognized in 1980 the need for training conservation leaders in tropical countries. This is reiterated in the Convention on Biological Diversity (1992), with Article 12 specifically highlighting the need for research training in developing countries. Nevertheless, nationals from developing countries still perceive a need for more training in a range of topics including conservation biology, monitoring and evaluation, fundraising, and project design (Bonine et al.,2003).
Although the tropics is host to a large number of field stations (the World Register of Field Centres lists a good majority of them), much of the well-funded research and training that is carried out in the tropics is driven by international rather than by national researchers. Long-term programs can therefore play a role in assisting tropical field stations and their collaborators meet national training and research priorities and develop conservation capacity among national scientists.
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