From the field: Joys and challenges
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From the field: Joys and challenges

A couple of hours outside of the city of Cuenca, the truck begins to ascend the western cordillera of the central Ecuadorian Andes. As we gain elevation and leave the bustle of the inter-Andean Valley behind, the terrain gradually transforms to the soft, open landscape of the high altitude grasslands known as the páramo. Though […]

Beer, kindred spirits and collaboration
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Beer, kindred spirits and collaboration

I recently received a request from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to tell them about a collaboration that started at a conference that led to an exciting new discovery, or to a new way of thinking about questions. AAAS is compiling such stories from scientists to illustrate the importance of face-to-face […]

We want to get our share of it
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We want to get our share of it

“So, what have you heard about climate change? How would you define it?” Yonas asks the farmers in Askuna Abo. Yonas is my research partner from Gondar, Ethiopia. We are meeting with the farmers for a focus group discussion on climatic variability. We already knew that the guys in Askuna Abo are a well-connected and […]

Half full, half empty
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Half full, half empty

Recently Erin posted on the MRI FB page an upbeat note on soil conservation in Ethiopia, about how the country is making progress again the horrific loss of topsoil that has seemed endemic to the Ethiopian highlands. As I had recently visited the Simen Mountains National Park in the company of Willem Ferguson of AFROMONT […]

Wisent on the rebound?
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Wisent on the rebound?

The situation of wisent (European Bison – Bison bonasus), the largest terrestrial mammal on the continent, is far from secure. After centuries of habitat loss and degradation and severe poaching resulted in the near-extinction of wisents in Europe, efforts have been underway to restore this great species to the Carpathian Mountains, part of the species’ […]

Mountains turning into frozen human-waste lands
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Mountains turning into frozen human-waste lands

Dealing with tourists’ waste is always a problem; they usually have a lot of disposable goods and aren’t necessarily invested in the area they’re visiting. The problem doesn’t start and stop with trash, however. Where to put tourists’ natural waste is an important matter for local governments and planners. This issue becomes especially important in […]