PhD Student (completed)
James McNamara has now left ZSL.
- 2009-2013: PhD Student, Imperial College / Zoological Society of London.
- 2007–2009: Senior Consultant for fuel cells and renewable energy technologies,
- 2006–2007: Project Manager, Chimpanzee Conservation Centre, Guinee.
- 2004–2006: Policy Advisor, Defra.
- 2003–2004: MSc Environmental Science and Technology, Imperial College
- 1999–2002: BSc Physics, Bristol University.
My work, which is being carried out in partnership with the Grantham Institute for Climate Change , the Zoological Society of London and the Imperial College Conservation Science research group, is looking at the effects of climate change and other drivers on biodiversity loss in West Africa.
Unsustainable hunting of bushmeat is widely regarded as the main driver of biodiversity loss in West Africa, particularly in rural areas where communities rely heavily on their natural resources for their livelihoods.
The behaviour of the hunters is itself influenced by many factors such as changes in food prices or the introduction or enforcement of new regulation or policy. It is now also becoming increasingly apparent that climate change is impacting the natural environment, and playing a part, both directly, such as through changes in rainfall or fruiting behaviour and indirectly, as a result of changes which might affect harvests and drive humans to seek alternative incomes from logging, hunting or fishing.
There is a clear need to better understand the link between climate change and the drivers that affect human hunting behaviour and the resultant biodiversity loss if management strategies are to be better designed and understood. The question is particularly relevant in biodiversity hotspots where local communities rely heavily on their natural resources for their livelihoods. Any degradation in wildlife populations threatens not only important and rare species, but also has a direct impact on the local quality of life of the communities that rely on them. If local economies and livelihoods are to prosper and grow sustainably and if management strategies are to be well informed and their impacts understood, there is a clear need to better understand the link between conservation and sustainable production in light of climatic changes.
This work will use this information on market trends and species sales as well as information on changes in land use and numerous interviews with local communities to develop a quantitative bio-economic model to improve our understanding of what influences bushmeat hunting, and how this links with biodiversity loss and the sustainability of local economies.
Dr Marcus Rowcliffe (Institute of Zoology)
Dr E.J. Milner-Gulland (Imperial College)