Media reporting on biodiversity loss often focuses on high-profile animals like elephants, rhinos and tigers. Less well known are the dramatic declines facing a range of other species, many of which play critical ecological roles and have profound importance for human economies, cultures and livelihoods. BAND funded National Geographic to report on some of these stories — including this award-winning piece on the illegal trade in the giant freshwater fish of the Mekong — through Wildlife Watch, its platform dedicated to covering wildlife exploitation.
Prior to European settlement, the landscape of the Southeastern United States was a mosaic of many habitat types, including significant and varied grasslands. These grasslands and the rich biodiversity they contain have been greatly diminished due to development, loss of large herbivores and fire suppression. A new article on Yale Environment 360 describes how a BAND Foundation grantee, the Southeastern Grasslands Initiative (SGI), is working to reverse this trend. Grasslands are one of the world’s most threatened biomes despite their critical importance for biodiversity, carbon sequestration and rural and pastoral communities. In addition to its support of SGI, BAND funds grassland conservation in Kenya, Tanzania and Mongolia.
With support from the Green Horizons Fund, Breakthrough Solutions has released a report outlining opportunities for promoting healthy soils and soil carbon sequestration through changes in agricultural practices. Protecting and restoring global soils is essential to limiting climate change and carries additional benefits for water security, biodiversity and sustainable rural livelihoods. The guide is designed as a tool for foundations and investors interested in this area.
It has long been understood that seizures can occur in people with Alzheimer’s, and this has been considered a potential factor in the progression of Alzheimer’s dementia. However, the links between Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy are poorly understood. With the BAND Foundation’s support, the Alzheimer’s Association convened scientific and clinical leaders from the epilepsy and Alzheimer’s fields to review current understanding of the biological mechanisms underpinning the respective diseases. The goal of this two-day meeting, held in September 2017, was to plan for future research and catalyze collaborations needed to identify novel diagnostic and treatment strategies. Results of the meeting can be found here.
Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) is the leading cause of epilepsy related mortality, yet remains poorly understood and hidden in the shadows. Despite its significance, health care providers are reluctant to discuss SUDEP and offer strategies that could mitigate this worst outcome of epilepsy. A new article in the American Academy of Pediatrics Journal, Pediatrics, describes elements of a BAND-funded effort to increase understanding and awareness of SUDEP among health care providers and patients at Children’s National Medical Center and the University of Virginia Health System. It underscores the importance of families and providers working in partnership to promote education and SUDEP prevention strategies.
The BAND Foundation supports the Mara Lion Project (MLP), which seeks to answer scientific questions essential to the conservation of lions in Kenya’s Maasai Mara ecosystem and to inform lion conservation more broadly. A fundamental challenge has been to develop an accurate way of measuring the density of lions across the landscape. This information is essential to tracking conservation success, guiding conservation investments and targeting efforts aimed at mitigating human/lion conflict — the latter being a major source of lion decline across the continent. MLP’s project director Nic Elliott has authored a new paper, just accepted for publication in the journal Conservation Biology, that reports on a new methodology for providing accurate assessments of lion numbers. This method, which estimates a total Mara population of 420 lions at a density of 16.85 animals per 100km2, will provide vital information on lion population trends in the years to come.