I am a collections-based mammalogist by training. My main interests are the zoogeography and conservation of small mammals (mainly shrews, bats and rodents) of the Upper Guinea Region (Senegal to Ghana) of West Africa. Related interests are the biodiversity and continued conservation of “sacred groves” in Africa and the traditional and religious mechanisms that protect them and the fault-line of conservation and sustainable development in Africa.
Since 2000 I have also been involved in a long-term project monitoring the biodiversity and ecological succession on a private land parcel in Lincoln, Vermont, a project managed by Vermont Family Forest, Bristol. This year (2011) small mammal monitoring is in its 7th year.
Together with the curator of mammals Dr. C. W . Kilpatrick we are currently inventorying and computerizing the mammal specimens and DNA tissue collection at UVM using File Maker and eventually the networked program SPECIFY.
In a more applied research approach I have worked as an independent consultant with small teams conducting rapid assessments and baseline surveys of small and medium-sized mammals for a number of companies in Vermont (2009, Heindel & Noyes), Guinea (2008, SNC Lavalin Montreal/Rio Tinto Mining), Sierra Leone (2006, Nippon Koei UK) and Liberia (2010, Putu Iron Ore Mining).
At UVM I have taught:
Decher, J. R. W. Norris and J. Fahr. 2010. Small mammal survey in the upper Seli River valley, Sierra Leone. Mammalia (Paris), 74: 163–176.
Hoffmann, A., J. Decher, F. Rovero, J. Schaer, C. Voigt, and G. Wibbelt. 2010. Chapter 19 - Field Methods and Techniques for Monitoring Mammals. Pages 482-529 in Manual on field recording techniques and protocols for All Taxa Biodiversity Inventories and Monitoring (J. Eymann, J. Degreef, C. Häuser, J. C. Monje, Y. Samyn, and D. VandenSpiegel, editors). Abc Taxa, Vol. 8 (Part 2): 482-529
Decher, J., and J. Farh. 2005. Hipposideros cyclops. Mammalian Species 763:1-7.
McCullough, J., J. Decher and D. Guba-Kpelle (eds.). 2005. A biological assessment of the terrestrial ecosystems of the Draw River, Boi-Tano, Tano Nimiri and Krokosua Hills forest reserves, southwestern Ghana. RAP Bulletin of Biological Assessment 36. Conservation International, Washington, DC. 153 pp.
Decher, J. and J. Fahr. 2007. A conservation assessment of bats (Chiroptera) of Draw River, Boi-Tano, and Krokosua Hills Forest Reserves in the Western Region of Ghana. Myotis 43:5-30.
Decher, J., and L. K. Bahian. 1999. Diversity and structure of terrestrial small mammal communities in different vegetation types on the Accra Plains of Ghana.Journal of Zoology, London, 247:395-407.