News FocusEcology

Uncertain Future for Tropical Ecology

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Science  15 Apr 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6027, pp. 298-299
DOI: 10.1126/science.332.6027.298

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Paraecologists—locals trained to do the nuts and bolts of ecology research—are an example of excellent science on a shoestring. By hiring and training locally, scientists can boost productivity and cut costs, all while supporting conservation. Over the past 2 decades, paraecologists have discovered thousands of species and churned out hundreds of peer-reviewed articles. Although most paraecologists start with little science knowledge, some have gone on to earn advanced degrees and take key positions in national forest management and conservation. But paraecologists may be a vanishing breed; money woes are threatening the concept of local, long-term hiring for field research.

* Craig Simons is a writer in Beijing.

  • * Craig Simons is a writer in Beijing.