Since 2014, Yale ISTF has offered an Innovation Prize at its annual conference to honor outstanding initiatives and ideas related to tropical forest use and conservation. During the conference, the Innovation Prize presentations are moments when the theme of the conference is grounded in concrete case-studies and experiences.
The Innovation Prize finalists will present their project to conference attendees and each will receive a cash prize. A first and second place winner will be selected by conference attendees.
Tagbanua community & Center for Development Research (ZEF)
Representatives: Loreta Alsa (Tagbanua) and Denise Matias (ZEF)
Location: Palawan, Philippines
Description: Through a transdisciplinary approach, the project sought to understand the complexity of a social-ecological system in a forest landscape in the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve Palawan in the Philippines. The project focused on the ecosystem services derived from an indigenous community forest of Tagbanuas specifically from wild giant honey bees (Apis dorsata Fabricius, 1793) that the Tagbanuas traditionally hunt for honey and wax. The community has now started its own honey buying (eliminating the middle man NGO). On an ecological level, the community continued its sustainable harvesting protocol of only taking the honey part of the honeycomb and leaving the brood (baby bees) intact.
Aguaruna-Jívaro peoples & University of Georgia
Representatives: José Lirio (Aguaruna-Jívaro people) and Nico Arcilla (University of Georgia)
Location: Amazonas, Perú
Description: We use interdisciplinary approaches to explore tropical forest landscape complexity in collaboration with several titled communities of indigenous Aguaruna-Jívaro people in the Peruvian Amazon. We have documented Aguaruna-Jívaro forestry management practices and analyzed bird community responses to forest management practices. We have also investigated the correspondence between Aguaruna-Jívaro and scientific knowledge of avian diet and foraging ecology. Conservation achievements by collaborating Aguaruna-Jívaro communities include effectively protecting their titled land from colonization and conversion, and also tightly control commercial hunting and logging. Community leaders support forest and bird conservation efforts by banning the hunting of birds whose populations are perceived to be in decline, and supporting the establishment of a formal protected area, the Santuario Nacional Cordillera de Colán, adjacent to their titled communities.