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News | Robert Bosch Junior Professorship 2018: species protection and the sustainable use of resources in Africa

Robert Bosch Stiftung’s Junior Professorship for the “Sustainable use of natural resources” goes to Dr. Jacqueline Loos

How can the natural environment be protected without causing the local population to go hungry? When it comes to species protection and the maintenance of biodiversity in developing countries, this is a central question. The environmental scientist Dr. Jacqueline Loos of Leuphana University in Lüneburg, Germany, aims to answer this question with her research. The recipient of the Robert Bosch Junior Professorship 2018 is working on a research project entitled: “Wildlife, Values, Justice: Reconciling Sustainability in African Protected Areas.” Her research focuses on the effectiveness of nature reserves in Zambia and Tanzania, where more than a third of the surface area is protected.

 

Dr. Jacqueline Loos, Robert Bosch Junior Professorship 2018 (Photo: Robert Bosch Stiftung / Robert Thiele)

 

Conservation and the sustainable use of resources

Addressing population growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is a major challenge. Loos has concluded that a nature reserve can only function and fully serve its purpose if the local population does not suffer as a result of it. A balance must thus be struck between protecting the environment and making sustainable use of local natural resources. With her research, Loos aims to help draw a realistic picture of local realities, and to reconcile them with conservation and species protection initiatives.  “The fight to maintain biodiversity cannot succeed if the local population is starving,” says Dr. Loos. “If we want to ensure that nature reserves function properly, the local population must also benefit. We must thus take their needs into account and involve them in decision-making process.” Loos also uses modern technology for her research, such as drones and automated image processing. Her aim is to gather information on animal populations at her study site. Loos is set to receive a total of one million euros in funding from Robert Bosch Stiftung over a period of five years.

More than a million euros in funding

Robert Bosch Stiftung aims to strengthen sustainability science in Germany. To this end, it has offered the Robert Bosch Junior Professorship for the “Sustainable use of natural resources” since 2008. The initiative funds research at German universities or research institutions with up to a million euros over a period of five years, and aims to help solve urgent socio-ecological challenges that are relevant especially in developing or emerging countries. The research findings should contribute to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The following video presents more information about the research project.