ASG Regional Team:
Regional Co-Chair: Débora Leite Silvano
Regional Co-Chair: Cybele Sabino Lisboa
Programme Officer: Luis Fernando Marin da Fonte
Programme Officer: Iberê Farina Machado
Regional Members List: under construction
The regional branch of the Amphibian Specialist Group for Brazil (ASG Brazil) was officially established in 2006. From 2014 onwards ASG Brazil established a secretariat (ASG Brazil team), and a restructuring process was undertaken at the beginning of 2016. Since then, monthly online meetings are held to discuss its activities, and to decide the next steps towards the development of the Group. Over the course of these years, ASG Brazil has contributed to developing the Brazilian Amphibian Conservation Action Plan (BACAP), helped with the national conservation status assessment of Brazilian amphibian species, and organized symposia to discuss and give visibility to its activities.
Since the restructuring process our main objective has been to execute the BACAP. For this, we believe that it is very important to identify the stakeholders involved in amphibian conservation in Brazil. To begin with, we launched the official ASG Brazil website, e-mail and fan page, in order to open a communication channel. Given that our target audience is the Brazilian amphibian conservation community, the main language of communication is Portuguese. Furthermore, we have undertaken a massive review of the conservation actions involving amphibians that were being conducted in Brazil through an online survey to find out Who, Where, How and With Which Species these activities were being carried out.
From the analysis of this review, we were able to identify almost 400 people who, in one way or another, are currently involved in the conservation of amphibians in Brazil. We have also improved our understanding of the undertaken activities and identified gaps in knowledge and action. Based on this analysis, we developed the idea of organizing meetings to bring these people together, and to promote debates that contribute to the conservation of amphibians in our country.
The Amphibians in Focus (ANFoCO) initiative was thus born, a name that will be used for all the events organized by ASG Brazil from now on. The I ANFoCO: Brazilian Symposium on Amphibian Conservation was held on August 2018 at the São Paulo Zoo (São Paulo, Brazil), with the purpose of being propositional, and not merely expository. The event addressed five main themes: Public Policies, Education and Environmental Awareness, New Approaches and Technology, Applied Research and Conservation Strategies. Concerned with gender equality in science, we honoured 13 women with the Bertha Lutz Prize, in recognition of their work with amphibian conservation and herpetology in Brazil. We also awarded three early career students with the Young Conservationist Prize.
Regional Goals and Objectives
The principles of ASG Brazil are:
Unite: We believe that unity and collective work are fundamental to advancing and consolidating conservation actions with amphibians in Brazil.
Include and Encourage: In our diagnosis, we identified some groups that, unfortunately, are still on the sidelines of the scientific and academic communities. As a consequence, they are also often excluded from the execution and decision-making processes of conservation activities. The groups in question are women, young people, undergraduate students, and people from the North, Northeast and Centre-West regions of Brazil. With this in mind, we intend to encourage their engagement in conservation actions, stimulating their participation in our events by proposing quotas of attendance and discounts, and by offering awards in recognition of their work. We also intend to promote greater Brazilian participation in international conservation: although Brazil is the most biodiverse country on earth, we are still underrepresented in conservation teams working at the global level.
Innovate: We aim to bring new ideas and approaches when working with conservation. We intend to propose new conservation concepts; to encourage the use of new technologies to replace outdated scientific techniques or complement existing approaches; to propose and stimulate the application of strategies that work well in other countries but are rarely applied in Brazil; and, above all, to stimulate and encourage the next brilliant generation of amphibian conservationists in our country.
Produce: We seek to produce and to share novel amphibian conservation approaches and materials in Brazil, such as scientific articles, reports, lists, maps, videos, etc. to improve scientific knowledge and to raise awareness about our amphibian species, contributing to their conservation.
Current and Future Activities
Having restructured the group and laid the foundations for our future work, in 2019 we aim to expand our activities and to bring forth products that effectively contribute to the conservation of amphibians in Brazil. To start with, we plan to bring new members to the ASG Brazil Regional Group, by creating thematic action groups: Public Policies, Education and Environmental Awareness, New Approaches and Technology, Applied Research and Conservation Strategies. Every thematic group will be coordinated by one of the secretariat representatives, and the new members will be asked to propose and execute small projects with well-defined objectives and tasks (e.g. to create a protocol in Portuguese for disinfection of field material to avoid the spread of amphibian diseases). The call for new members will be open to everyone interested in collaborating with the group.
Moreover, in 2019 we will organize the II ANFoCO, this time as a workshop during the 9th Brazilian Congress of Herpetology to be held in Campinas, Brazil (July, 2019). We already selected three relevant topics and will create working groups and start virtual discussions even before the event. Based on these online discussions, during the workshop we will bring people together to: (i) formulate a unified national Terms of Reference document for environmental studies of anthropogenic activities that have an impact on amphibians (e.g. construction of roads, hydroelectric power dams, etc.); (ii) improve studies aiming to analyse the effect of pesticides on amphibians and to propose national policies to reduce negative impacts; and (iii) create, disseminate and encourage the use of popular science tools among Brazilian researchers, in order to better communicate to the general public the beauty and importance of amphibians.
Verdade, V. K. ; Valdujo, P. H. ; Carnaval, A. C. ; Schiesari, L. ; Toledo, L. F. ; Mott, T. ; Andrade, G. V. ; Eterovick, P. C. ; Menin, M. ; Pimenta, B. V. S. ; Nogueira, C. ; Lisboa, C. S. ; de Paula, C. D. and Silvano, D. L. (2012) A leap further: the Brazilian Amphibian Conservation Action Plan. Alytes v. 29 (1-4): 28-43.
Fonte, L. F. M. ; Lisboa, C. S. ; Machado, I. F. ; Ferrante, L. ; Silvano, D. (2018) Grupo de Especialistas em Anfíbios do Brasil (ASG Brasil): histórico, reestruturação e atividades atuais. Herpetologia Brasileira, v. 7, n. 1, p. 4-5.
Fonte, L. F. M. ; Lisboa, C. S. ; Machado, I. F. ; Ferrante, L. ; Silvano, D. (2018) Anfíbios em Foco (ANFoCO): Simpósio Brasileiro de Conservação de Anfíbios. Herpetologia Brasileira, v. 7, n. 1, p. 5-6.
ASG Brazil website: http://asgbrasil.wixsite.com/asg-brasil
ASG Brazil fan page: https://www.facebook.com/asgbrasil2/