by Caitlin M. Snyder
Dr. Meredith L. Gore, Assistant Professor, Michigan State University’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife & School of Criminal Justice in East Lansing, Michigan, introduced an interdisciplinary framework for mitigating relationships between wildlife and humans called conservation criminology in a presentation held at SUNY ESF on Thursday, March 4, 2010. She presented her seminar “From lemurs to livelihoods: What can conservation criminology offer for resolving environmental risks in Madagascar?” as part of the Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, Adaptive Peaks, and Women in Scientific and Environmental Professions Speaker Series sponsored by the ESF Graduate Student Association, Department of Environmental & Forest Biology, and Women's Caucus.
Dr. Gore began by describing her personal background and experiences in her area of expertise, and posed questions to the audience about public perceptions of environmental behavior and risk, decision-making and policy, and the coexistence of wildlife and people. Using a case study, she described the socioeconomic and environmental status of both villages and ecosystems of Madagascar, and focused on lemur conservation to illustrate the need to ameliorate the imminent biodiversity crisis.
Despite numerous challenges facing the island of Madagascar (e.g., poverty, lack of infrastructure, corrupt governance, disenfranchisement, and climate barriers), Dr. Gore expressed promise by suggesting a novel, integrated approach that combines aspects of natural resource management, criminal justice, and risk and decision science. She discussed methods and solutions to environmental risks associated with human-wildlife interactions by providing critical inspection of the key characteristics, scope, and assumptions of this approach dubbed conservation criminology. Although there are many strengths and weaknesses still to overcome with its application, conservation criminology may be an opportunity to draw disciplines together and apply a progressive approach to research, teaching, and management of certain environmental risks. Dr. Gore provided a conceptual framework for conservation criminology in Madagascar, and discussed the advantages that it could bring such as better decision making, stakeholder engagement, law enforcement, and conservation of endemic biodiversity. Together, conservation biology and criminal justice have the ability to foster theoretical development and a positive interaction among livelihoods and lemurs.
Dr. Gore's formal training is in the human dimensions of wildlife management, and environment and resource policy. She is a member of the Environmental Science and Policy Program (ESPP), serves as core faculty with the Center for Advanced International Development (CASID), and collaborates with scholars in the MSU Risk Research Initiative and Office of Study Abroad. She also serves as core faculty for the Conservation Criminology certificate program, offered jointly by the Department of Fisheries & Wildlife and School of Criminal Justice. Her research interests focus on public perceptions of wildlife and environmental risk, human-wildlife conflict, community-based natural resource management, human dimensions of natural resource management, conservation criminology, and program evaluation. To learn more about her research, visit http://www.conservationcriminology.msu.edu.
For upcoming events in the Women in Scientific Environmental Professions Speaker Series, please visit: http://www.esf.edu/womenscaucus/speaker.htm.