Africa at Noon on March 4, 2014

Challenges to Conserving the Congo Basin Rainforest: Climate Change and the Second Scramble for Africa

Thomas B. Smith
Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Founding Director, Center for Tropical Research, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
University of California, Los Angeles


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Time and Location

12:00pm, 206 Ingra­ham Hall, 1155 Obser­va­tory Drive, Madi­son, WI

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Across Africa, a new scramble for natural resources is underway, and Cameroon is in its crosshairs. In this lecture, Smith will describe how the Center is leveraging the best available science to identify new protected areas in the face of resource extraction and climate change. He will also describe the unique effort to build the Center for Integrative Development in Central Africa. Finally, he will discuss a new initiative in Cameroon to reduce global emissions by avoiding deforestation in Cameroon, using emissions fees paid by climate gas emitters in the developed world


Thomas Smith is founder and director of the Center for Tropical Research, Institute of the Environment, and is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCLA. Smith has more than 30 years of experience working in rainforests. He currently oversees a host of research projects and directs the research of a large number of graduate students, postdoctoral and senior researchers on projects based in tropical countries worldwide. A central focus of his research investigates how biodiversity is generated and maintained in tropical rainforests. The results of Smith’s research point to new and more effective ways of prioritizing regions for conservation. In recent years his research has also focused on studying evolution in human-altered environments, the ecology of disease, and developing new approaches for mapping adaptive variation in species to mitigate the effects of climate change. He has received more than a dozen academic honors and currently serves as a member of the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration