Impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on biodiversity conservation
It is too early to evaluate the overall impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on biodiversity and our ability to protect it, but some preliminary conclusions are possible. At this point, protected areas appear to be safe and, in many places, biodiversity is benefitting from reduced human activities. However, this may not be true everywhere, especially where enforcement has weakened but threats have not.
Impacts on research and conservation.
What kinds of consequences will disruptions to field and lab work during the pandemic have for the species and ecosystems we are studying, monitoring, and protecting?
What effects will reduced human impacts on wildlife and ecosystems during the pandemic have on wild species (e.g. ranging behavior, breeding) and ecosystems, and will any of these effects persist into subsequent years?
Will conservation budgets be reduced because of the economic fallout from the pandemic, and how will this impact both staffing levels, and conservation science and practice?
Will the ban on the capture, trade, and sale of live wild animals for food in China lead to reduced hunting pressure and the recovery of populations in the wild?
How has the pandemic crisis impacted people whose livelihoods depend on conservation and ecotourism, especially local people who live near and inside protected areas?
Impacts on education, training, and networking.
Will the career paths and prospects for the current cohorts of senior undergraduate and graduate students differ from those who came before and will come after them?
Will the current switch to online teaching for conservation science and related disciplines impact learning outcomes and will it have a long-term influence on how courses are taught in the future?
What role will innovations in online technology play in conservation learning and science post COVID-19?
Will the move to other models for conferences and networking have a permanent impact on if and how traditional conferences are held, and will these new models affect how research collaborations develop?
Can lessons learned about online communication during the pandemic be used to reduce travel-related greenhouse gas emissions in the future?
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