Sessions & workshops

Defaunation - from conservation science to conservation action

Panel discussion with
Prof. John E. Fa (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK and Center for International Forestry Research, Indonesia)
Frank Barsch (Federal Ministry for the Environmment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany)
Martin Bostroem (KfW Development Bank, Germany)
Andrew Tilker
(Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Germany)
Marion Junkersdorf (WWF Germany)

The panel discussion is jointly organized by Leibniz-IZW and WWF Germany.

For decades, deforestation has been cited as the most immediate threat to biodiversity in tropical rainforests. However, in recent years, the magnitude of the global illegal wildlife trade has increased significantly, and several new studies indicate that unsustainable hunting may be a greater threat to tropical biodiversity than deforestation. Already the large-scale commercialization of hunting in tropical ecosystems worldwide has led to a widespread “empty forest syndrome” – an habitat that is structurally intact but devoid of large vertebrate species – and this trend is expected to increase in the near future. Defaunation has myriad ecological and socio-economic consequences. The disappearance of large vertebrate species, for example, can degrade ecosystem services, change evolutionary trajectories, and even impact human health. This panel discussion will provide a platform for scientists, conservation practitioners, and the donor community to take a critical look at how current conservation strategies can be strengthened to deal with this global challenge. The discussion will focus on ways to integrate findings from recent scientific studies into conservation actions that can effectively address the defaunation crisis.