Conservation Biology

Conservation biology is a relatively new, multidisciplinary science, developed in response to the biodiversity crisis, which endeavours to evaluate the impact of human activities on biodiversity and to design corrective measures. Research is related to threatened species and ecosystems.

Conservation biology
Threatened Species and Populations

The preparation of conservation plans and participation in their implementation contributes to the preservation of fragile species and populations. A limited number of plant and animal groups are involved in the programme. Their selection is determined by contingencies related to conservation priority needs as well as by the expertise accumulated by our scientists.

Current projects are conducted within the framework of the implementation of the Bonn Convention and concern critically threatened migratory species, the Sahelo-Saharan megafauna on the one hand, the Central Eurasian aridland megafauna on the other. Other projects include the study of the eco-ethology of Bonobo, Pan paniscus, Asian Long-tailed Macaque, Macaca fascicularis, Western lowland Gorilla, Gorilla gorilla, Eurasian Lynx, Lynx lynx, Sportive Lemurs, Lepilemur spp, and Proboscis monkey, Nasalis larvatus.  Completed projects addressed the conservation of the Mediterranean Monk Seal, Monachus monachus, the Hazel Hen, Bonasa bonasia, in the Ardennes, the European Lady's Slipper Orchid, Cypripedium calceolus, and the Gorillas.

Conservation biology
Identification and Evaluation of Fragile Communities

Current projects include the development of a habitat typology, initiated in Europe as part of the CORINE programme of the European Communities, extended to the Palaearctic Region in collaboration with the Council of Europe and the Barcelona Convention, now adapted to several continents. They also include validation projects, oriented towards relations between habitat typologies and faunal elements and towards the evaluation of scale factors; they use several groups of bio-indicators, among them the litter fauna, orthopterans, amphibians and reptiles, birds, bats and primates.

Conservation biology
Integrated Management and Bioindicators

This programme focusses on the integration of biological data in conservation programmes and their interaction with economic and social constraints. Studies in support of the implementation of the European directives on wild birds and on fauna, flora and habitats, and of the Bonn, Bern and biodiversity conventions fit in this programme. The programme also includes ecological network studies in urban and suburban areas, management, improvement and restoration programmes in favour of important sites for the conservation of bats, the elaboration of management plans for nature reserves belonging to non-governmental organisations.

Conservation biology
Long-term Evolutions and Monitoring of Wildlife Populations and Habitats

This programme exploits the opportunities for continuity of research provided by the administrative structure of our institute and includes projects which have been sustained over several decades. The main components of the programme are the study of bat distribution, abundance and ecology in Belgium, the monitoring of forest and peri-urban avifaunas, and the long-term monitoring of damsel- and dragonflies in the Brussels Region.

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