An academic conference called the ‘Student Conference on Conservation Science (SCCS)’ was held for the 19th time at the University of Cambridge, with students from 55 countries participating. The conference was geared towards young and upcoming researchers in the field of Conservation Science. This year’s SCCS, saw the participation of three young Guyanese researchers: Meshach Pierre, Huichang Yang and Mahendra Doraisami; all three of whom graduated from the Biology Department at the University of Guyana. The three Guyanese researchers each presented their work in poster format. Meshach’s poster was titled: “Wildlife Management in Guyana.” Meshach’s research sought to analyze gaps that exist in terrestrial (land-based) wildlife research and management in Region Nine, Guyana. He combined scientific data and local knowledge to prioritize species and evaluate past conservation efforts. He found that terrestrial wildlife research conducted in Guyana often was not focused on priority species or regional management needs and was largely inaccessible to decision makers. Meshach is currently a student at the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) of the University of Oxford.
Huichang’s poster was titled: “Lowland tapir abundance in Guyana.” Her research was the first reported study on the abundance of tapirs within three logging concessions under different management in Guyana. She found no significant differences in tapir abundances between the logging concessions. However, she maintains that more research needs to be done before making any conclusions about their population in Guyana. Huichang’s research will help us understand the impacts of human activities on the lowland tapirs in Guyana. Huichang was last year’s best graduating student (Bsc) in the Department of Biology at the University of Guyana.
Mahendra’s poster was titled: “Carbon in the world’s trees and forests.” Mahendra conducted a global literature review of measured wood carbon. His research found that major forest carbon accounting protocols (e.g. those recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) may have made inaccurate assumptions about wood carbon concentrations, thus leading to overestimates of carbon stocks in tropical rain forests. This can have major implications for climate change mitigation. Mahendra recently graduated from the University of Toronto with a Master of Environmental Science degree (climate change impact assessment specialization).