Alfan A. Rija PhD)
Department: Wildlife Management
P.O. Box: 3073
Phone: +255 753933886
Research Area: Ecology, biodiversity and Conservation crimes.
I was trained in conservation and ecology with the first and second degrees, respectively, in Wildlife Management and Conservation Biology. My PhD training was in ecology/Biology with a particular focus on illegal activities in East African Protected Areas. Understanding the intricate interactions between humans and wildlife and biodiversity is central to the designing of “safe” methods upon which the three can sustain together. I have extensive experience in working in Tanzania’s national parks (TANAPA) both as warden and researcher. In 2009 I joined a highly challenging restoration project of the Kihansi spray toad with the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) as field research and Monitoring officer where I have ever since been researching on this amphibian species and other threatened biodiversity in the Kihansi gorge. My research is aimed at providing evidence based information to the policy makers to improve species conservation in Tanzania and across East Africa.
PhD in Biology-University of York, United Kingdom.
MSc Conservation Biology (First Class)-Victoria University of Wellington-New Zealand
BSc Wildlife Management (Upper second class) - Sokoine University of Agriculture-Tanzania
My interest is centered on understanding ecology and conservation of wild animals and plants and on the biodiversity, and the effect of climate change on these. I do research on the effects of human activities (both legal and illegal-poaching) on biological resources to understand their impacts on the viability of wild animal and plant populations. Also I do biodiversity inventory particularly of the spiders of Tanzania to understand community assemblages across a range of environmental parameters. Ecological restoration of threatened species is my passion and I am particularly interested in the ways on how reintroduced population establishes in new environment, the patterns of dispersal and foraging after release and reproduction as well as understanding their long-term survival.
In my research group, I welcome student research projects in any of the following fields;
- Invertebrate biodiversity research with a particular focus on how human activities my impact their populations.
- Amphibian research- all sorts of themes from basic to applied research and from ex situ to in-situ conservation.
- Plant-Animal interactions- Such project would be lined in understanding the basic but novel information on the biological and or ecological drivers of the interactions and how these regulate species populations.
- Illegal activities in protected areas from terrestrial to aquatic ecosystems and how these impact on species performance.
- Climate change impacts and biodiversity conservation.
While the above may provide insights and stimulate thinking among students, I also welcome student ideas on research that may fall outside the above list.
1. Rija, A. A., Khatibu, F. H., & Mwamende, K.A. 2010. Reclaiming the lost World: Kihansi spray toad reintroduction in Tanzania. 66-71 pp, In Soorae, P. S. (ed.) (2010) GLOBAL RE-INTRODUCTION PERSPECTIVES: Additional case-studies from around the globe. IUCN/ SSC Re-introduction Specialist Group, Abu Dhabi, UAE, xii + 352 pp. Available at www.iucnsscrsg.org
2. Rija, A. A. & S. N. Hassan. 2011. Population density estimates of some species of wild ungulates in Simanjiro plains, northern Tanzania. African J. Ecology 49: 370–372
3. Rija, A. A., Mwamende, K.A. & S. N. Hassan. 2011. The aftermath of environmental disturbance on the critically endangered Coffea kihansiensis in the Southern Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania. Tropical Conservation Science 4(3): 359–372.
4. Hassan S. N. & Rija A. A. 2011. Fire history and management as determinant of patch selection by foraging large mammal herbivores in western Serengeti, Tanzania. International J. Biod. Sci. Ecosy Serv & Mgt. 7(2): 122-133.
5. Rija, A. A., Mwamende, K. A., & Hassan, S. N. 2012. Notes on Feeding Habits of Spider Nephila sp in an Acacia woodland stand, Kenya. Journal of Biological Research, 3(1), 59-62.
6. Hassan, S. N., Salum, A., Rija, A. A., Modest, R., Kideghesho, J. R., & Malata, P. F. 2013. Human-induced Disturbances Influence on Bird Communities of Coastal Forests in Eastern Tanzania. British Journal of Applied Science & Technology, 3(1), 48-64.
7. Rija, A.A. 2010. The risks of relocating wildlife. Tanzania Wildlife Magazine-Kakakuona 57:5.
8. Rija, A.A. 2010. Incentives for conserving and greening our cities. Tanzania Wildlife Magazine-Kakakuona 57: 58 – 61.
9. Rija, A.A. 2011. Unsustainable harvest of wild ungulates around Tarangire National Park, Tanzania: lessons from population viability analyses. In J. Keyyu et al. (Ed) Proceedings of the 7th TAWIRI Scientific Conference (ISBN9987-9056-7),7:270–284.
10. Rija, A. A., Kohi, E.M., F.H. Khatibu & R. Muheto. 2011. Status and reintroductionof the Kihansi spray toad Nectophrynoides asperginis in Kihansi gorge: challenges and opportunities. In J. Keyyu et al. (Ed), Proceedings of the 7th TAWIRI Scientific Conference, (ISBN9987-9056-7), 7:11–20.
11. Madoffe, S.S., Rija, A.A., Midtgaard, F., Katani, J.Z., Mbeyale, G., Zahabu, E., Liwenga, E., Christopher, B.C. 2012. Preliminary Assessment of Forest Structure, Management and Carbon Stocking in Tanzania Miombo Woodland. Proceedings of the first Climate Change Impacts, Mitigation and Adaptation Programme Scientific Conference, pp 106-117.
12. Kideghesho JR, Rija AA, Mwamende KA & IS Selemani 2013. Emerging issues and challenges in conservation of biodiversity in the rangelands of Tanzania. Nature Conservation 6:1-29 doi: 10.3897/natureconservation.6.5407.
13. Rija AA., Said, A, Mwita, J. KA Mwamende 2013. Floss release, seed fall and germination of Ceiba pentandra in an urban environment. Open Journal of Ecology 6:423-430
14. Rija A.A. Bugingo, A., et al. 2014. "Wet season bird species richness and diversity along urban-rural gradient in Morogoro municipality and Surrounding areas, Tanzania." Tanzania Journal of Forestry and Nature Conservation 83(2): 1-13.
15. Soka, G., A.A. Rija and A. Owino 2014. Modeling black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) population performance in East Africa: the case of Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya. J Biodiversity & Endangered Species 3(2):1-6.
16. Rija, A. A., Said, A., Mwamende, K.A. Hassan, S.N., S. S. Madoffe 2014. Urban sprawl and species movement may decimate natural plant diversity in an Afro-tropical city. Biodiversity & Conservation 23:963–978 DOI: 10.1007/s10531-014-0646-1.
17. Rija, A. A., Goboro, E.M., Mwamende, K.A. Said, A., E. M. Kohi, Hassan, S.N., 2014. Activity patterns and fine-scale resource partitioning in the gregarious Kihansi spray toad Nectophrynoides asperginis in captivity. Zoo Biology 33(5): 411- 418, DOI: 10.1002/zoo.21163.
18. Rija, AA., Mgelwa, AB., A. Bugingo, K. A Mwamende 2014. Wet season bird species richness and diversity along urban-rural gradient in Morogoro municipality and Surrounding areas, Tanzania. Tanzania Journal of Forestry and Nature Conservation 83:1-13.
19. Rija, AA., Mgelwa, AB., Modest R, Hassan, S.N., 2015. Composition and Functional Diversity in Bird Communities in a Protected Humid Coastal Savanna. Advances in Zoology. 1-7, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/864219.
20. Modest R, Hassan, S.N., Rija, AA., 2016. Spatial metrics effect of forest fragmentation on forest bird abundance and site occupancy probability: the influence of patch size and isolation. Ostrich-in press
21. Rija, AA., CM Beale, CD Thomas (in review). Illegal activities contribute to population declines of megafauna in protected areas. Biodiversity and Conservation.
22. Rija AA. R.Critchlow & S.R.Moe (in review). Tree structure influences ants nest abundance and arboreality in an ant- Acacia zanzibarica mutualism. Journal of Tropical Ecology
23. Rija AA. A.Kimario & SN. Hassan (accepted). High richness in spider communities around homesteads reveals human-dominated environments are not wastelands. TJFNC
24. Katani JZ, Madoffe SS, Mitgard F. A.A. Rija et al. 2016 (book chapter) Climate change mitigation and adaptation through development of fire management strategy for the Miombo woodlands: A tool for carbon storage and sequestration. CCIAM book(in press).
Current and previous Research projects
1. Spatial and Temporal trends in Illegal activities in East African Protected Areas (2014/7). Lead by Alfan Rija
2. Improving ranger efficiency in detecting and preventing poaching in the Serengeti Ecosystem (2015/6). Rufford Small grant project Lead by Alfan Rija
3. Distribution and Population status of a newly discovered butterfly (Charaxes sp.) and its host plant in Kihansi Gorge forest (2014/5). The Whitley Wildlife Conservation project lead by Alfan Rija
4. Conservation pollination of the critically endangered C. kihansiensis, Kihansi Gorge forest ecosystem (2014/15) MBZ funded project lead by Alfan Rija
5. Seed predation and plant recruitment in an endangered C. kihansiensis 2013/14. Rufford Small grants project lead by Alfan Rija Click here http://www.rufford.org/projects/alfan_rija to view project report
6. Quantification of Carbon stock changes under different forest tenure and their implication to local livelihood in miombo woodland- CCIAM a 3-yr (2012 -2015) funded project lead by Prof. Madoffe.
7. Developing Fire Reduction Strategy for Miombo Woodlands as a Potential tool for Carbon Storage and Sequestration- CCIAM a 3-yr (2011-2014) funded project lead by Prof. Madoffe.
Paper at Scientific conferences:
1. Rija A.A., Katani JZ, Amanzi NS, E. Zahabu. 2016. Land use change dynamics in Tanzania’s miombo woodlands:implications for ecosystem services provision and restoration practice. Miombo Network Conference, Maputo, Mozambique
2. Rija A. A. 2015(poster). Illegal activities and population decline in protected areas: influences of socio-ecological factors. British ecological Society Conference. Edinburg, Scotland
3. Rija, AA. 2015. To what degree are illegal activities in protected areas a biodiversity problem? Poster presentation at the Biology Graduate Symposium, University of York, UK (May 18-20).
4. Madoffe, SS., Rija AA, Katani JZ et al. 2014. Fire reduction strategy as a potential tool for carbon storage and sequestration in Miombo forest. CCIAM scientific workshop-Morogoro Hotel (17-19 Feb, 2014)
5. Rija AA. & L. Mbwambo. 2013. Eyeing into the Tanzania's Miombo woodlands: status, threats, and conservation initiatives. Talk, presented at the Miombo Network Meeting between 23-25 July, 2013 in Maputo Mozambique
6. Rija AA. 2013. Conservation in the Changing globe: what does the future hold for the wildlife? Guest lecture Presented to the Student Conservation Forum (26 April, 2013), organized by Wildlife Student Organization of Sokoine University of Agriculture (WISA-SUA), Morogoro, Tanzania.
1. Rija AA. 2013. Ecological and socio-economic influences of carbon stocking in Miombo: initial insights. Talk, presented at the 9th Southern Africa Fire Network (SAFNet) Meeting (5-7 February), TAFORI Morogoro, Tanzania.
2. Rija AA. 2011: presented research paper on Diversity and Composition and diversity of spider assemblages in different land-use compartments in a tropical urban locality at 8th Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), Corridor Spring Hotel, Arusha Tanzania (From 6 – 8 Dec).
3. Rija AA. 2009: Presented two papers at the 7th Tanzania Wildlife Institute (TAWIRI) Scientific conference on a theme ‘Wildlife Conservation in a changing World’ (From 2- 4, December)
4. Rija AA. 2008: Presented a spoken paper at the 21st Annual Australasian Wildlife Management Society conference in Fremantle Western Australia, about “Human Impacts on Wildlife” (From 24- 27, November)
List of some past undergraduate students I supervised in my research group
1. Ana Kimario 2011. Diversity and community assemblages of spiders in different vegetation in the lawns of SUA (Published in Tanzania Journal of forest and Nature conservation)
2. Abubakari Said 2012. Floristic composition and diversity of backyard gardens in Morogoro municipality (Published in Biodiversity and Conservation)
3. Baraga Kisa Yusuph 2013. Awareness and conservation attitudes of people on the wild-extinct Kihansi spray toad (N.asperginis) in captivity, Tanzania (In review)
4. Mathias Ezekiel 2013. The daily activity patterns of the critically endangered kihansi spray toad (Nectophrynoides asperginis) in captivity, Tanzania (Published in Zoo Biology)
5. Julius Mwita 2013. The assessment of ecological factors affecting seeds germination and dispersal of the kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra) in Morogoro municipality (Published in Open Journal of Ecology)
6. Adili Bugingo 2014. Assessment of bird diversity, abundance and distribution along urban-rural gradient. The case of Morogoro municipality, Tanzania. (Published in Tanzania Journal of Forest and Nature Conservation)
7. Julius Andrew 2014. Invertebrate biodiversity on tree trunks in an urban environment (Unpublished)
8. Rehema S. Mchome 2014. The Ornithological repertoire of the Waluguru people and its implications for biodiversity conservation in the Uluguru mountains ecosystem. (unpublished)
RESEARCH AND CONSULTANCY:
Quantification of Carbon stock changes under different forest tenure and their implication to local livelihood in miombo woodland- CCIAM a 3-yr (2012 -2015) funded project lead by Prof. Madoffe.
Developing Fire Reduction Strategy for Miombo Woodlands as a Potential tool for Carbon Storage and Sequestration- CCIAM a 3-yr (2011-2014) funded project lead by Prof. Madoffe.
Seed predation and plant recruitment in an endangered Coffea kihansiensis 2013/14. http://www.rufford.org/projects/alfan_rija to view project report
Distribution and Population status of a newly discovered butterfly (Charaxes sp.) and its host plant in Kihansi Gorge forest. 2014/5. Supported by The Whitley Wildlife Conservation and Tropical Biology Association(TBA)
Improving Efficiency of Ranger Patrols in Detecting and Preventing Poaching in Serengeti National Park and Adjacent Reserves-Rufford Small Grant
Spatial and Temporal trends in Illegal activities in East African Protected Areas, supported by the Commonwealth Scholarship and WWF.