The Central African Biodiversity Alliance is an international partnership that seeks to develop an integrated framework for conserving central African biodiversity under climate change that is both evolutionary-informed and grounded in the socioeconomic constraints of the region. At present, this partnership is funded by the National Science Foundation-Partners in International Research and Education program and the Arcus Foundation.
The Central African Biodiversity Alliance (CABAlliance) unites students and researchers from the U.S., European and African universities, non-governmental and governmental organizations around an innovative research, education and outreach program that seeks to identify meaningful conservation measures to mitigate the effects of habitat loss and climate change. Using multi-disciplinary approaches we are: 1) mapping environmentally-associated genomic and phenotypic variation in a broad range of species and assess how this overlaps with patterns of species richness and protected areas, 2) evaluating how evolutionary adaptation, phenotypic plasticity and landscape connectivity might mediate future threats and 3) developing an integrated prioritization scheme that ranks candidate areas for protection on their evolutionary potential, connectivity, estimated socioeconomic costs, degree of threat and cultural value.
Over the next five years, the CABAlliance partners will promote scientific collaboration and exchange between through: 1) undergraduate and graduate educational programs that will partner US and African students and provide cutting-edge training in the biological, environmental and social sciences; 2) annual professional development workshops for early career US and African scientists and advanced graduate students; 3) region-wide research symposia and scientific exchange; 4) bilingual distance-learning programs and 5) outreach to decision makers through policy workshops. These joint research and educational efforts will enhance existing collaborations and establish new partnerships that will build a foundation for lasting conservation efforts in central Africa.