Thursday, March 15, 2018

Call to submit abstracts - SciDataCon _ IDW 2018

ORI Library submitted a session proposal (Session ID 210) to SciDataCon (The Scientific Conference addressing the frontiers of data in research) which has since been accepted. SciDataCon, which is an integral part of International Data Week (IDW), that will be held on 5-9 November 2018 in Gaborone. The theme of the week-long conference is The Digital Frontiers of Global Science. 

Session topic: Preservation of Personal Biodiversity Data Collections 

Session Type: Mixed Papers (research, practice papers and posters)

Session synopsis

Biodiversity data collections become more useful when such collection is available to support further research. The data “… remain embedded within a matrix of situational and summative information (Karasti et al., 2002)”, where their scientific value can be more readily evaluated, and the data better built upon with new observations. For this reason, natural history data should be preserved with links to descriptions of the conditions under which the data was obtained. These descriptions are often found in records made up of correspondences, field notebooks, reports, photographs and other grey literature.

Materials collected by a single scholar or natural history enthusiast – as opposed to those captured by institutions and projects - are attractive candidates for capture in electronic form because they promise a resource that is much more than the sum of its parts, a resource that reflects and, to some extent, recreates the knowledge of the collector and the context in which he or she worked.

Personal biodiversity collections, while common, are at high risk because they are often created informally and stored in conditions determined by the personal resources of the collectors. Their content can remain inaccessible to other researchers throughout the life of the owner, especially if the owner wishes to produce knowledge products based on the collected data, and can be lost upon the death of the collector.
Identifying such collections, recognizing and communicating their value, and negotiating their on-going preservation and use, should be considered essential activities in the role of memory institutions as data stewards.

Digitization projects that attempt to capture this rich combination of original materials and cultural context are resource -intensive exercises that require a high level of focus, dedication and know- how as well a significant investment in technology. While it is not necessarily difficult to obtain funding for this type of project , mainly because the work can be expressed as a project with a finite lifespan, it is a challenge to embed the work in a memory institution so that existing staff gain capacity without crippling current operations. Strategies to meet this challenge are needed.

This session intends to highlight the importance of preserving local personal collections of biodiversity data, and to discuss strategies and good practice in making their content and context available to support on-going research. Presenters will share experiences and case studies of rescued collections and those that are candidates for rescue, and successes and challenges in processing these collections.

Proposals are invited for the submission of abstracts by the deadline of Monday 30th April 2018 at http//  

Abstracts are invited on the proposed subtopics below;

1.      Rescue of research data at risk
2.      Long term digital preservation of biodiversity collections
3.      Challenges associated with digitizing and preserving biodiversity data in developing countries
4.      Processing  biodiversity metadata for use by researchers
5.      Encouraging entities and individuals to share their biodiversity collections

For further information on the conference, refer to:

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Friday, March 02, 2018

Botswana Carnivore Forum

The Botswana Carnivore Forum has launched  a website about large Carnivores in Botswana , with a focus on the following species: African lion, spotted hyaena, leopard, cheetah, African wild dog, brown hyaena, and Nile crocodile.

For more Information about carnivore species click the site below;

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Waterlilies, a plant steeped in history and tradition

In 2017,  Desert & Delta Safaris supported the Peter Smith University of Botswana (PSUB) herbarium. PSUB is making their collection of preserved plants useful and accessible to a wider public, including those who plan for and manage the future of the Okavango delta.

The legacy collection of specimens of the flora of the Okavango delta in northern Botswana housed at PSUB are gradually being prepared for digital scanning so that the digital image can be used to enter data into the BRAHMS database that is specifically designed for herbarium management. PSUB’s work focus this year has been on the personal collection of Mr. Peter Alexander Smith who spent more than thirty years living and working in Ngamiland. His collection of specimens dates back to the early 1970s, having digital images of them will remove the need to handle the actual specimens.

 As part of the project Mr. Mmusi Mmusi, one of the PSUB Herbarium Assistants wrote an article about the waterlilies of the Okavango Delta. For more information access the full article on the link below:

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Effects of the safari hunting tourism ban on rural livelihoods and wildlife conservation in Northern Botswana by Joseph E. Mbaiwa


 This paper examines the effects of the safari hunting ban of 2014 on rural livelihoods and wildlife conservation in Northern Botswana using the social exchange theory. The paper used both primary and secondary data sources. Data were analysed qualitatively. Results indicate that the ban led to a reduction of tourism benefits to local communities such as: income, employment opportunities, social services such as funeral insurance, scholarships and income required to make provision of housing for the needy and elderly. After the hunting ban, communities were forced to shifts from hunting to photographic tourism. Reduced tourism benefits have led to the development of negative attitudes by rural residents towards wildlife conservation and the increase in incidents of poaching in Northern Botswana. The implications of hunting ban suggest that policy shifts that affect wildlife conservation and rural livelihoods need to be informed by socio-economic and ecological research. This participatory and scientific approach to decision-making has the potential to contribute sustainability of livelihoods and wildlife conservation in Botswana.


Thursday, December 07, 2017

JRS Award to Develop a Low Cost Fisheries Monitoring Program for the Okavango Delta

 The JRS Biodiversity Foundation has announce  $180,900 grant to the University of Botswana Okavango Research Institute (ORI) to implement a pilot project to develop a scalable fisheries monitoring system in the Okavango Delta using low‐cost technology. Professor Keta Mosepele will lead the project.  

The Okavango Delta is a globally important freshwater wetland that supports a rich and diverse ecosystem in the otherwise arid southern African region. In addition to supporting unique flora and fauna, the ecosystem supports services ranging from crop irrigation to a growing tourism economy. Of particular importance is the Delta’s support of subsistence and small-scale commercial fisheries, which comprise the livelihoods of thousands of people.

Continue reading:

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Wildlife Techniques Manual, Volumes 1 & 2

Volume 1: Research.
Volume 2: Management

An outstanding resource on wildlife biology, conservation, and management. This comprehensive two-volume set provides detailed information on methods used in the field and laboratory.
Volume 1 focuses on research techniques.Volume 2 covers management methodologies. Topics include: experimental design, wildlife health and disease, capture techniques, population estimation, telemetry, vegetation analysis, conservation genetics, wildlife damage management, urban wildlife management, and habitat conservation planning.

A complete set of this book is available in the library.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Fisheries governance, management and marginalisation in developing countries: Insights from Botswana

 By Ketlhatlogile Mosepele  and Oluwatoyin Dare Kolawole


Globally, fish is a key source of food and nutrition security for all marginalized riparian communities. This is particularly so for Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Indeed, debates about power relations on fisheries governance underscore issues bordering on the quality of life and livelihood opportunities for marginalized, riparian communities. The fundamental problems impeding the ability of fisheries resources in a developing country like Botswana to contribute to food and nutrition security are governance issues and poorly-thought out management approaches. This study reviewed relevant literature and key informant interviews to elicit secondary and primary data on the management of the fisheries sector. Despite its middle income status, Botswana is still faced with food and nutrition insecurity. These can be ameliorated by increased supply of fish, especially to marginalised riparian communities. However, the fisheries sector is maligned in terms of access to human and financial resources. Governance of the sector is also misaligned between food production needs and conservation imperatives. Consequently, poor physical infrastructure (due to low government support and investment) has limited the optimal performance of the sector in enhancing people’ livelihoods. Key recommendations from this study include: (i) realigning fisheries legislation and governance, (ii) paradigm shift in management, (iii) increase funding for research and marketing, (iv) infrastructural development, (v) cultural shift in fish valuation, and (vi) participatory inclusion in decision-making. Ultimately, marginalisation can be reduced through devolution of power from the centre to the margins. This would contribute towards alleviating food and nutrition insecurity in the developing world.

 Continue reading: