Postdoctoral research fellow Dr. Eve Bohnett has embarked on a fieldwork journey in Chitwan district, Nepal. Her research is funded as part of a National Science Foundation grant to study coupled human-natural systems. In Chitwan district, there are distinct management zones where some areas receive funds to provide villagers with training and encourage participation in restoration programs. There are avenues for the conservation of wildlife that are compatible with wider forest management regimes ongoing throughout the area.
To understand how land management strategies influence local biodiversity, Dr. Bohnett will estimate occupancy and abundance of wildlife in the region using thermal infrared drones and a remote camera array. Wildlife of interest include greater one-horned rhino, Asian elephant, sambar deer, red muntjac, spotted deer, wild boar, Bengal tiger, and rhesus macaques. Additionally, she will implement a participatory mapping project to identify areas of key ecosystem services provisions such as grazing, firewood collection, fishing, or tourist-related camping. Her work will ultimately inform how we understand the complex relationships between socio-economic, cultural, and ecological factors.