Courtney Buoncore, 2018, Anthropology
This summer, I conducted research in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique. The park is at the forefront of an ambitious restoration project, designed to restore the ecological diversity and the political stability of the area following its collapse at the hands of civil conflict. It was the ideal place to study the nuanced relationship between society and nature, and the difficulties of conservation in such a dynamic and volatile system. The three graduate students I worked with offered me a much-needed insight into the intricacies of field ecology. Our research – examining fire and flood regimes, analyzing the dietary niches of ungulates, and performing exclusion experiments with waterbuck and floodplain vegetation – provided hands-on experience that has led me to think more deeply and concretely about conservation. My experiences in Mozambique have solidified my decision to turn to the field of wildlife conservation.