November 14, 2018 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

“Socioeconomic & Ecologic Dimensions of Restoring Wildlife in Akagera National Park, Rwanda”

Adrian Treves
Professor of Environmental Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Lisa Naughton
Department Chair, Professor of Geography
University of Wisconsin-Madison


Environmental restoration is a constitutional and policy priority in post-genocide Rwanda. Naughton and Treves’ research concerns efforts to restore Rwanda’s natural ecosystems and balance the social distribution of costs and benefits from wildlife. In this talk, the two will describe an interdisciplinary research collaboration in Akagera National Park (ANP), involving Rwandan students and professionals and UW-Madison faculty and students. During prior years of violent conflict, ANP was halved in size and its large wildlife extirpated. Thanks partly to reintroductions, today, elephants, lions, rhinos and other wildlife are increasing and tens of thousands of tourists visit each year, over half of whom are Rwandans. Naughton and Treves will present quantitative and qualitative data on attitudes and experiences of neighboring residents related to their interactions with wildlife, wildlife agencies, and compensation programs and has combined those data with ecological research on large mammal behavior to model the spatial allocation of risks and benefits for citizens neighboring ANP. They will draw broader inferences about coexistence with large, occasionally dangerous wildlife, and the flow of costs and benefits from a national park in a recovering democracy and regenerating ecosystem.


Adrian Treves is an independent researcher and advocate for future generations, for science, and for the sovereign authority of the public. He studies and speaks about the public trust doctrine and intergenerational equity around the world. In brief, the public trust doctrine is legal guidance that holds governments accountable to the broad public interest in preserving nature and regulating its use as a trust for current and future generations, who hold equal rights. Adrian earned his PhD at Harvard University in 1997 and is now a Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and founder of the Carnivore Coexistence Lab. For the past 27 years, his research focuses on ecology, law, and human dimensions of ecosystems in which crop and livestock ownership overlaps the habitat of large carnivores from coyotes up to grizzly bears. He has authored more than 150 scientific papers on predator-prey ecology or conservation.

Lisa Naughton is a professor and chair of Geography at UW-Madison. She received her PhD from the University of Florida-Gainesville in 1996 and served as a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in 1997. Her research areas include biodiversity conservation in developing countries, social conflict and land use around protected areas, land tenure & property rights, attitudes toward wildlife, and wildlife conservation in human-dominated landscapes. She has long-term field studies in Uganda, Ecuador, and Peru, and has taught in Uganda, Chile, and Ecuador as a Fulbright fellow. In addition to her work in the tropics, she studies public attitudes toward wolf recovery in the upper Midwest states. Naughton directed UW-Madison’s Land Tenure Center (2009-2013) and Chaired the Nelson Institute’s graduate program in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development (2007-2010).

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