History

Many ATBC members and their affiliates in Africa have voiced a need to network with students, scientists and conservation practitioners working in tropical Africa and its surrounding islands. After the successful joint meeting between ATBC and the Africa section of SCB in Arusha, Tanzania, in 2011, the call for a more organized approach grew stronger over the years. Eventually, a select few individuals, supported strongly by the ATBC council, developed preliminary ideas towards the establishment of the Africa Chapter of ATBC.

During the annual meeting of ATBC in Hawaii in 2015, the Africa Chapter started its evolution with the main goals being (i) to encourage the involvement and representation of African scientists within the association and, (ii) to promote tropical biology and conservation on the continent. To establish the chapter on formal grounds, an official meeting was held at the ATBC meeting in Montpellier, 2016, and the Chapter finally was launched after the endorsement of the ATBC Council.

Defining the geographical boundaries of the Africa Chapter

Africa is a continent that is diverse in its people as it is in its landscapes, floral and faunal diversity and geography. For the purpose of clarifying the physical boundaries of this chapter, we have proposed that all countries under the tropical climatic regime in sub-Saharan Africa be considered as part of this chapter. This includes the island nations of Cape Verde, Principe and Sao Tome, Madagascar, Reunion, Seychelles, Mauritius and Comoros.

It is important that we also provide an important distinction about the validity of the African continent in atlases and maps of this unique continent.  This link shows the accurate size of the continent and serves as a prime example of the implications of Africa’s true size on its people, the cultures, the diversity of life, and its political juxtaposition: Cartography: The true size of Africa | The Economist

 

Goals and objectives

The goals of the Africa Chapter are to:

  1. promote the conservation and study of tropical biodiversity across Africa and its islands, and
  2. enhance the participation and engagement of African scientists and practitioners in ATBC activities.

 

The objectives of the Chapter are as follows:

  1. To encourage and facilitate research in Africa on all aspects of tropical biology and conservation.
  2. To provide technical expertise to African professionals and mentoring support to graduate and undergraduate students in the development of their careers.
  3. To influence policies globally and regionally where threats to African ecosystems are present, and/or the wellbeing of those who manage and rely on these systems are threatened.
  4. To link ATBC with conservation initiatives in African in order to facilitate the development and uptake of best practice guidelines for biodiversity research and management in Africa
  5. To increasing improve the contributions of her members to regional conservation and biodiversity research thereby giving ATBC scientists and conservation practitioners a voice in global assessments of biodiversity and ecosystems in the Africa region

 

Currently, the ATBC Africa Interim board members work together to plan activities at annual meetings and to communicate with the Chapter members through our Facebook page and a google Listserv. ATBC members interested in joining the listserv can do so without additional dues by writing to us or by filling out this form.

 

Current Board and Committee

Interim board

  • Edu Effiom, Cross River State Forestry Commission, Nigeria
  • Onja Razafindratsima, Harvard University, USA
  • Norbert Cordeiro, Roosevelt University, USA
  • Tuyeni Mwampamba, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico

Regional Representatives

In 2016, the first regional representatives were elected to serve temporarily until the chapter fully developed its governance.

  • Central region: Christelle Gonmadje, University of Yaounde I, Cameroon
  • Eastern region: Haja Rakotomanana, Université d’Antananarivo, Madagascar
  • Western region: Edu Effiom, Cross River State Forestry Commission, Nigeria
  • Southern region: Michael Musgrave, University of St Andrews, United Kingdom

 

Activities

  1. At this year’s meeting in Merida, Mexico, the Africa Chapter is organizing a workshop on “Exploring Collaborations Between Africa and Latin America for Ecology and Conservation Biology” on Tuesday July 11th in the afternoon.
  2. Featured Scientist of the month:

Edu Effiom
Assist. Director, Forestry
State Coordinator, Nigerian REDD+ Programme
Forestry Commission, Cross River State, Nigeria
Visiting Research Fellow,
Biodiversity Unit, Biology Department
Lund University, Sweden

Edu seeks to advance scientific understanding of how human activities (such as hunting, habitat loss, habitat conversion and climate change) affects biodiversity and human wellbeing and how this feeds back to the regeneration of Afro-tropical forest ecosystem and its services. She also aims to demonstrate, using basic and applied research, how REDD+ can enhance the provision of both carbon and non-carbon benefits to the environment, economy and society.

We will feature the work of a scientist or conservation practitioner working on tropical biology and conservation in the African region once a month; if you want to be featured or would like to suggest someone, feel free to email us

 

For any question related to this Chapter, please email Onja or Edu.