SCGIS 2015 Scholarship Program        (2015 main page)

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Here you will find information about our 2015 scholars. This group is selected by our chapters in 10 countries and regions around the world. We encourage all SCGIS members to find candidates doing work or needing help relevant to what you do, and to reach out and contact them, introduce yourself, see how you can help them. Those wishing to donate can do so at the official SCGIS site. DONT MISS the NEW Scholars Map Gallery !

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Page 1
Ms María Eugenia Iezzi, CeIBA/CONICET, Argentina
Mr Tsogtsaikhan Battsengel,The Nature Conservancy, Mongolia
Mr Stuart Roger Fulton, Comunidad y Biodiversidad A.C, Mexico
Ms Diana Marisol Paredes Olmedo, Wildlife Conservation Society, Ecuador
Mr Francis Okeke, Wildlife Conservation Society, Nigeria
Ms Sediqa Khatieb South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Ms Angela Tarimy, Finnish Assn for Nature Cons. Manondroala proj, Madagascar
Mr Zo Andriamahenina Tsino Heritiana, Blue Ventures Conservation, Madagascar
Mr Nado , Wangchuck Centennial National Park, Bhutan
Ms Lyn Ohala Santos Rodríguez, Amigos de Sian Ka’an, Mexico
Mr Bhuwan Dhakal,, Nepal / U of Florida


Page 2
Ms Tatenda Noreen Muchopa, Painted Dog Research Trust, Zimbabwe
Ms Špela Guštin, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Dr. David Squarre, Zambia Wildlife Authority, Zambia
Dr. Tomaž Podobnikar, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Ms Ernawati Apriani, WWF Indonesia
Ms Elkina Evgeniya, Transparent World, Russian Federation
Mr Peter Limbu, The Nature Conservancy Africa, Tanzania
Mr Dmitrii Sarychev, Crane Working Group of Eurasia (CWGE), Russian Federation
Mr Scott T H Bailey, South African National Biodiversity Institute
Dr Virginia Alonso Roldán, Centro Nacional Patagónico (CENPAT), Argentina


María Eugenia Iezzid

Email: maru.iezzi@gmail.com
*-Organization name: Asociación civil Centro de Investigaciones del Bosque Atlántico (CeIBA, civil association Research Centre of the Atlantic Forest). Instituto de Biología Subtropical, nodo Puerto Iguazú (IBS, Subtropical Biology Institute, Puerto Iguazú node) of the National University of Misiones (NU of Misiones) and the National Research Council of Argentina (CONICET).
*-Organization full street address (in your local format): Bertoni 85, C.P. 3370, Puerto Iguazú, Misiones.
*-Country: Argentina
*-Main email: CeIBA_Misiones@gruposyahoo.com.ar
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Please describe your conservation work: I am a 26 years old Argentinian biologist and I am a doctoral student. I am just starting my career as a researcher and I am very interested in focalize my actual and future work in biodiversity conservation projects. I want to participate in the SCGIS training program to develop more skills and abilities to solve questions of my doctoral project and other projects that I hope to develop in the future. I would like to apply my thesis results in management programs that will contribute in biodiversity conservation in productive areas. The organizations where I belong, the CeIBA and the IBS are located in a strategic and one of the most biodiverse areas of Argentina, where conservation and research activities are new and very necessary.  As new organizations, they are growing fast and we count with many students and new training needs. I am specializing on landscape ecology in productive areas and ecology of mammals´ communities, working with camera-traps. I would like to specialize in GIS also, what I consider is an elemental tool for develop of my work. With my work I´m evaluating the effect of the forest plantation configuration and the different landscape elements in the mammal assemblage. At the end, I hope to generate management recommendations to improve productive systems to be less harmful to biodiversity. For the future, I´m interested in contribute in animal conservation in my country. With my project, I expect not only to generate information for improving landscape management while contributing with mammal conservation, but also to learn more about conservation practices and how to be involved in the conservation policies of this region. My plan for the future is to continue with the research career generating knowledge that could be applied to conservation strategies. SCGIS program will be an excellent opportunity to training me in how to apply GIS skills in conservation practices and to strength the capacity of my work team in its biodiversity conservation actions.ddd

dMy work aims to evaluate the effect of different elements and configurations of the landscape on the diversity of mammals. Most of the landscape variables that may affect the composition of the native mammal community and species distribution and density need to be measured with a GIS project because they can´t be taken with field work. Particularly, in my doctoral thesis, I hypothesized about the effect of the sized of the corridors and native forest fragments, the distance to the continuous native forest block, the distance to rivers, the percentage of native forest around each station, the accessibility to each place, etc. on the mammal assembly. My goal with GIS use is to learn how to measure all this important variables and acquire expertise on analyzing landscape data to solve scientific and management questions. My project is aimed at generating knowledge and produce recommendations on how to improve landscape and plantation management to help the conservation of local mammals. I will develop models to predictive maps of probability of occurrence of some species and I will simulate scenarios of potential management actions at the landscape level (e.g. to increase the density of forest strips between pine plantations) and quantify how these actions affect the overall use of the landscape for each species. I would like to learn more about how to generate different maps which can express most of my future results.

ddPlease describe the work that your current organization does: CeIBA is a NGO created inyear 2005 for a group of biologists of differentdisciplines. These people have worked in the region for many years and decided to found the NGO with the main goal of creating an Institute that includes and gives the entire scientist the academic umbrella to develop studies related to conservation of biodiversity in Northeastern Argentina. As the result, in 2009 the IBS was consolidated with the NU of Misiones which helps just with rent facilities. During 2013, the Institute achieved to have a double dependence (NU of Misiones-CONICET), that allowed us extend the IBS budget for maintenance and improvements on facilities. When the NGO started, there were few biologists but now we are like 40 people with new projects, most of us with CONICET salaries or scholarships. The Institute doesn’t have money to develop member’s projects, so each group has to look for the financial support. There are many projects that received money from public entities like the National government (from the Agriculture, Livestock and Fishing Department) and from CONICET, but some projects needed to look for money from dinternational Foundations or don´t have money at all and use their salary or scholarship to face their project costs. The members or groups of the CeIBA (and IBS) are developing different projects that include the study of ecology, ecophysiology, taxonomy, genetics, etnobiology and conservation of mammals, birds, reptiles, plants, arthropods, among others. Most of the group’s activities are carried out in the Atlantic Forest of Misiones province, not only in the protected areas but also in productive areas, working with big forest companies and small farmers. Particularly, my work team develops projects about ecology of populations and conservation of large sized mammals as jaguars and giant anteaters, ecology of communities of medium to large sized mammals and rodents and primates´ behavior. We generate baseline information and management tools that are used in the local community, forest enterprises and protected areas with the main objective of conserving biodiversity in the region. Some projects, like mine, are developing in other sites of Northeastern Argentina too and need to have associations with other organizations. For example, my project develops in the Atlantic Forest of Misiones province and in the grasslands of Corrientes province. As I work in public and private protected areas and in forest plantations, I needed to generate relationships with many local organizations and enterprises, like the National Parks government, province government, others NGO, etc.

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Please describe your personal role in the organization: I´m a member of the CeIBA and IBS since 2013 when I came to Puerto Iguazú, Misiones to develop my doctoral thesis. I belong to a big group (about to 15 members) that is specialized on mammals’ ecology and conservation in Northeastern Argentina, and also part of the “Proyecto Yaguarete” of Misiones. When I arrived to Misiones, I joined a small work team that focuses their work on research and biodiversity conservation of terrestrial medium to large sized mammals in subtropical and productive areas of Argentina. With them I have started the project that would be my doctoral thesis. I have been involved since its beginnings in the development of this project and in April, 2014 I received a doctoral scholarship from the CONICET to pursue my doctoral studies at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Although my principal work is to develop my doctoral thesis, I have participated voluntary in CeIBA activities since I arrived. In “Proyecto Yaguareté” I collaborate in research and conservation activities for Yaguars (panthera onca) and Puma (puma concolor) in the Atlantic Forest of Misiones as capture with foot snare traps, camera traps installation for density estimates and data analysis. Also, I usually help to administrative activities in the NGO and in some particularly events like courses organization, scientific divulgation, etc.

d(Study area map of the northern province of Misiones, Argentina, with the location of 120 camera-trap stations separated in three treatments. The green areas correspond to native forest, the violet ones to forest plantations and the white ones to other land uses. )

Please describe what is the most unique and the most challenging about theconservation/GIS work that you do: d

The places where I work are biodiversity hotspots that contain endemic and endangered species and have suffered strong habitat destruction. The forest industry has converted several million hectares of Atlantic Forest and native grasslands into pine and Eucalyptus plantations in Argentina, but little is known on the effects of these plantations on biodiversity. Therefore, my work aims to evaluate the effect of different elements and configurations of the forest plantation landscape on the diversity of mammals. I am focusing the study on the mammals because several species are endangered, participate in key ecological processes and are sensitive to landscape transformation. The conservation of the native forests and its biodiversity depends on how the productive lands and the native forests are managed. Hence, what motivate me to develop this project is the final result, not only the academic result. I expect to generate recommendations for local timber companies, local producers and decision makers on how to improve landscape and plantation management to help the conservation of local mammals. Suggestions and recommendations that will come out of this project will also contribute to the improvement of conservation plans, legislation and to the development of regional FSC standards. I believe that the real conservation projects (or the really useful ones) are the ones which focalize in trying to conserve biodiversity in productive areas or in places with human conflicts are present. It is not enough to study biodiversity in protected areas. As human population is growing up, it is necessary to make this growing compatible with wildlife conservation. In my opinion, these kinds of works are more difficult because you need to create relationships with many institutions, companies, producers and local people, that it´s a hard work which needs a lot of dedication. Generate changes in productive systems or in the way that people thinks it´s, for me, a real challenge. At the end of my project, I hope not only to conclude the principal thesis aims, but also to generate a real change in the production system in the region, that would be more friendly with biodiversity conservation.

 

Live Map Application created by Ms. Iezzi during the 2015 UC Davis-SCGIS Web GIS Training Program.
"My map shows the medium to large sized mammals richness (number of species) per station calculated with rarefaction curves, in three different landscape components of the North of Misiones Province, Argentina. Each station consisted in one camera-trap that was active for 53 days in average."

 

 

Tsogtsaikhan Battsengel, Mongolia d
*-Organization name: The Nature Conservancy
*-Country: Mongolia
*-Main email: tbattsengel@tnc.org
*-Organization Web site URL if any: www.nature.org
*-Organization subject keywords (please see instructions): conservation, landscape analysis, protected areas,

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OVERVIEW: Tsogtsaikhan, or Tsogoo as he prefers to be called, is involved with highly advanced and very important projects in Mongolia.  Mongolia is going through a transitional period right now, with mining and oil interests starting to take a heavy toll on the landscape.  It is therefore important to support local conservationists with the skills and tools they need to prevent the destruction of a relatively unspoiled and rare grassland ecosystem. The TNC office in Mongolia is small and has only existed for seven years, but is composed of highly dedicated staff with a strong interest in GIS. 

(Photo Left, )

Tsogoo own words:: Please describe your current conservation work: At my current role in my organization, I use ArcGIS in my day to day work and I participate in three major projects: Landscape level conservation planning in the Central and Western Mongolia, Applying biodiversity offset in mitigation of impacts of extractive industry, and Wildlife connectivity analysis in the Mongolian Gobi. The projects require substantial amount of work in spatial analysis and its applications for the above mentioned biodiversity conservation work.

Please describe the work you hope to present at the conference::

Identifying Conservation Priorities in the Face of Future Development: Results of Ecoregional Assessment in the Mongolian Gobi”

: I will present a regional conservation plan for the Mongolian Gobi that balances the government commitment to protection of natural habitats with planned development of mineral resources and related infrastructure. To complete this analysis, we compiled available data, literature and expert knowledge to identify a set of priority conservation areas and built supporting information system that can guide decisions about habitat protection and mitigation.

1.  The Mongolian Gobi spans an area of 510,000 km2, or the southern third (32%) of the country that is bounded by the Altai and Khangai Mountains to the northwest, the Eastern Steppe to the northeast and the border with China to the south.  This region is one of the world’s largest remaining wild areas and supports a large assemblage of native wildlife.  However, the wildlife and pastoral livelihoods of this area are threatened by rapid growth in mining and related infrastructure.

d2.  We identified a set of areas that could maintain the biodiversity and ecological processes representative of the region, given adequate protection and management as high quality core habitat within a larger landscape matrix that supports habitat use and movement.  This set of priority conservation areas is referred to here as a portfolio.  The methods that we used were developed to address the scope and scale of conservation planning across the study area using available data. Focal biodiversity elements are defined by a mapped ecosystem classification and modeled habitat distributions of 33 species of birds, mammals and reptiles listed by the National Red Lists as endangered, threatened, vulnerable or near threatened.  We designed the portfolio to a) meet representation goals for the amount and distribution of each ecosystem type and b) optimize for ecological condition based on an index of disturbance and cumulative anthropogenic impacts.

3.  The portfolio includes a) areas already designated within the National Protected Area system, b) a set of other priority conservation areas including Important Bird Areas and the Tost Uul community conservation area and c) sites selected with the conservation planning software MARXAN to meet representation goals for ecosystems and optimize ecological condition.  The portfolio consists of 50 sites that cover 195,000 km2, or 37 % of the study area.  National Protected Areas are 57% of the portfolio area.  To evaluate the conservation significance of all planning cunits across the study area, we developed an index of the relative conservation value of ecosystem occurrences that is based on rarity and relative contribution to the MARXAN optimization.

4.  We identified areas of potential conflict between the conservation portfolio and areas leased for mining development or exploration.  Within these conflict areas, the areas a) with relative conservation value in the highest 30th percentile or b) containing high-value Khulan range were designated as areas to avoid development.  The remaining conflict areas were removed from the portfolio and replaced with sites of similar composition and condition outside existing leases.  We also identified six existing or planned transportation corridors that are potential barriers and urgent threats to wildlife movement.

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Live Map Application created by Mr. Battsengell during the 2015 UC Davis-SCGIS Web GIS Training Program.
This map shows conflict between Conservation portfolio sites identified by TNC Mongolia program and some human impacts. Background raster data is livestock density based on herders household location. 

 

Stuart Roger Fultond
*-Organization name: Comunidad y Biodiversidad A.C. (COBI)
*-Organization full street address (in your local format): Isla del Peruano 215, Lomas de Miramar, Guaymas, Sonora, CP 85448
*-Organization full mailing address, if different:
*-Country: Mexico
*-Work phone with country and area code: +52 622 222 4990
*-Work fax with country and area code: n/a
*-Main email: cobi@cobi.org.mx
*-Organization Web site URL if any: www.cobi.org.mx
*-Organization subject keywords (please see instructions): biodiversity, conservation, coast, fish, marine, monitoring, protected areas, sustainable fisheries.  

describe the work that your current conservation gis work: Comunidad y Biodiversidad A.C: (COBI – www.cobi.org.mx) is a non-profit dorganization dedicated to promoting the conservation of marine biodiversity in coastal communities throughout Mexico. COBI works in close collaboration with communities to promote public participation in order to take decision on how best to manage coastal resources. Community marine reserves are the main tool used by COBI however a range of associated programs are also promoted to ensure sustainable fisheries, promote sustainable livelihoods and empower the fishers. As a consequence of working with marine resource users in my role at COBI, I have developed a strong interest in marine spatial planning. This is a field that I think would not only benefit me personally, but also the work that COBI conducts in the Marine Reserve Program both along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef and also in our other areas of work throughout Mexico. I believe the next logical step after the creation of no-take zones to promote sustainable fisheries is to account for all marine resources users, particularly important in the area where we work as it is Mexico´s main tourism destination and resource conflicts exist. I would like to pursue this goal by gaining knowledge and experience in curating GIS data for spatial analysis in ArcGIS models or third-party software such as Marxan. Using participatory GIS (such as SeaSketch which I looked at recently) to map fishers´ traditional ecological knowledge would assist the work we are about to begin in the north of Quintana Roo where there are many fishers, many cooperatives and where the fishing grounds are mixed. In a conference in 2013 I learnt about the Sustainable Grenadines Project (http://www.grenadinesmarsis.com/) and the study by Aswani and Lauer in 2006 (Incorporating Fishermen´s Local Knowledge and Behavior into Geographical Information Systems for Designing Marine Protected Areas in Oceana), both great examples of the potential benefits of this kind of work

The Mission of COBI is: To promote the conservation of coastal and marine biodiversity through community participation.
The Vision:To be the leading non-profit organization in Mexico, which promotes and strengthens prosperous and responsible coastal communities to take care of their seas and coasts.

dCOBI was founded in 1999 in Guaymas, Sonora to promote the management of natural resources and coastal marine conservation in the Midriff Islands region of the Gulf of California. COBI currently has offices in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico City and the most recent in Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo which has been operating since 2008. We currently have 28 staff spread amongst the four offices, including admin staff. As I mentioned previously COBI is currently undergoing a national reorganization and from this year will no long operate along regional lines. The new program will focus on four key areas: Marine reserves; Sustainable fisheries; Capacity building with fishing cooperatives; and Public policy. The creation of no-take zones implies an opportunity cost to fishermen. To put it simply, they lose areas of their fishing grounds. COBI works with the fishing communities to allow conservation to be profitable and to improve the livelihoods of the fishers. This is mostly achieved by a combination of four methods. Firstly, territorial use rights are promoted. Fishers or fishing cooperatives that have exclusive use to fishing areas will tend to care for their fishing grounds, reducing the tragedy of the commons commonly seen when fishing grounds are open to all. Secondly eco-certification and market opportunities are promoted. The lobster fishery of the south of Quintana Roo was certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in 2012 as sustainable. This recognizes sustainable fishing practices and can lead to a higher market price. In other parts of Mexico, COBI has been involved in the MSC certification for Pacific lobster and Gulf of California Sardine fisheries. Thirdly, COBI has worked directly with fishing cooperatives to improve their business practices. This leads to more efficient market practices and results in improved income for the fishers. Finally community-led surveillance is promoted to protect exclusive use fishing grounds and prevent illegal fishing. Fishers are trained in surveillance techniques, fisheries law and in some cases we have been able to find funds to buy surveillance boats. When the fisheries operate in Marine Protected Areas COBI also helps the under-funded National Park Authorities improve their surveillance programsd

Please describe your personal role in the organization: I began working with COBI as a field assistant in 2011 before progressing to Field Coordinator in 2012. Due to recent internal restructuring I am currently Head of Marine Reserve Program, Mesoamerican Reef, although my job description remains the same. I am currently responsible for all activities related to our fish refuge (no take zone) and fish spawning aggregation site programs. Both programs involve long periods of fieldwork and extensive community involvement in which we train fishers to conduct underwater biological surveys to assess coral reef health and fish populations. I entered COBI just as the fish refuge program was reaching its implementation stage, and was responsible for collecting the final coordinates of the no take zones before the proposals were submitted to the government. As a SCUBA instructor, I trained the first group of fishers to dive and complete biological surveys, on a personal level I take great pride in seeing these fishers becoming highly competent in collecting biological data and also getting a deeper understanding of their fish stocks and the impact of fishing. This year (2015) we will collect the third year of data for the sites. Many sites are showing impressive biological recovery, especially for commercial fish and lobster.
As I have gained more experience in COBI I have become more involved in proposal writing and fund raising, although the majority of my time is still dedicated to fieldwork and relations with the fishers and fishing cooperatives. The recent reorganization of COBI along national lines is creating exciting new opportunities for collaboration with colleagues from our offices in Baja California and Sonora.

On a personal note, the fishing spawning aggregation project is now bearing fruit. The first ever protection of a fish spawning aggregation site under the new fish refuge legal tool in September 2013 in the Sian Ka´an Biosphere Reserve was a big highlight, and even more so when our monitoring program during the grouper reproductive season of 2014 showed that we had not only protected the spawning site of the endangered Nassau Grouper (Epinephelus striatus) which we knew was there, but also one of the Yellowfin Grouper (Mycteroperca venenosa) which not even the fishers knew about. And just this month (February 2015) we trained our first team of divers in Punta Allen, another fishing village in Sian Ka’an, and were able to document a spawning site with over 1,000 Nassau Grouper. A spectacular site and of upmost importance for conservation.

dPlease describe the history of your personal work in conservation and GIS: I began SCUBA diving at age 13 in the United Kingdom. Now that I almost exclusively dive in the warm Caribbean Sea it’s hard to explain why diving in cold, muddy, zero visibility English waters drove me to be interested in the sea! I studied Oceanography to Masters level at Southampton University, UK, and during my time at university I took advantage of my qualification as a diving instructor to work on conservation projects both in the UK with the university, and in Honduras with Operation Wallacea, a marine conservation NGO. In both areas my work mainly involved data or specimen collection for subsequent analysis.
In 2008 I arrived in Mexico to work with Global Vision International on their marine conservation projects on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. It was here, working with international and Mexican volunteers and directly with the local communities that I began to understand the wider implications of conservation work. I began to see the importance of not only collecting data but ensuring that the data was used to benefit local communities, especially those who operated sustainably. After taking a GIS course run by John Schaeffer of JuniperGIS in 2009 I was able to use basic GIS to document the invasion of the invasive Lionfish that arrived in the Mexican Caribbean. However it was until I entered COBI in 2011 that I began to make use of GIS for conservation planning on a more regular basis. Luckily COBI was in the position to make use the basic GIS skills I had to support its projects, and I was afforded the time to learn how to conduct new analyses (via online courses or through consultants) when needed. My current work has created my interest in marine spatial planning and participatory GIS – where we work with fishers’ traditional ecological knowledge to better understand potential areas of importance for protection.

It has only recently dawned on me that, basically, I love maps. As a child I would happily sit and read atlases for hours. The best book I read this year was On the Map: A Mind Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks, by Simon Garfield. It was whilst I was reading this book that I realized that for GIS, above it is the cartography that draws my attention.

Please describe what is the most unique and the most challenging about the conservation/GIS work that you do: The most unique part of my work, and occasionally the most challenging, is working directly with the fishing communities. COBI´s working model involves consulting fishermen at every stage of the conservation process and then training them to take part in conservation measures. This is unique in Mexico and involves developing strong relationships with the communities.

The awareness and understanding the fishers have of their fishing grounds is exceptional, and is one of the key reasons why I think having strong participatory GIS skills would be highly beneficial. After we had already found one of the grouper spawning aggregation sites by mapping, a fisher who used to fish grouper but now mostly catches lobster, approached us to ask if he could share his fishing ground information and join the monitoring effort. He said he knew a good grouper fishing spot and that he had marked it in his GPS. He said he hadn’t fished it for 8 years. When I loaded the data into ArcGIS I found his point to be 28 metres from the point we had been diving! And amazing lesson in the ecological knowledge of the small-scale fishers. If only we had approached him sooner!

One of the more challenging aspects of working with the fishers is try to change the perception of some of the older generations. Some of the older fishers were founding members of the fishing cooperatives and were lucky enough to have seen a relatively pristine ecosystem before overfishing, the massive coral die-off of the 1980´s, and recent effects of El Niño and higher sea temperatures have affected the fishery and health of the reef. They are however more reluctant to change their fishing habits and practices than the younger generations and, understandably, are sometimes less willing to support conservation efforts as they feel they will not receive the benefits of higher fish stocks in the future. This is where we have to look for ways for the entire community to benefit from conservation efforts. Whilst marking the no take zones we came across this problem. Many old timers were not happy with the limits and we ended up remarking one of the sites about 5 times until we got a general agreement. But it was worth the effort

Map Application screenshot of storymap created by Mr Fulton during the 2015 UC Davis-SCGIS Web GIS Training d

 

Diana Marisol Paredes Olmedo
*-Organization name: Wildlife Conservation Societyd
*-Organization full street address: Av. De los Granados N40-53 y París
*-Country: Ecuador
*-Work phone with country and area code: (+593-2) 2267-034
*-Work fax with country and area code: (+593-2) 2249758
*-Main email:   aburbano@wcs.org
*-Organization Web site URL if any:  www.ecuador.wcs.org / www.wcs.org

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Describe the work that your current organization does
: Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a private, non-profit international organization, whose main objective is the preservation of wildlife and wild lands. In Ecuador, the main focus of WCS is to conserve biodiversity at the scale of ecologically representative landscapes through applied research to guide the conservation of wildlife and their habitats, and promote partnerships with local communities and other stakeholders to promote activities and policies aimed at the conservation and ecologically sustainable development.
The mission of WCS is to save wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. In addition, WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth.
For the past ten years, WCS’s team of biologists, geographers, ecologists, resource managers, anthropologists, political ecologists, and environmental educators have been promoting a long-term conservation vision among stakeholders.  WCS has carried out diverse projects in the region, related to applied research, wildlife management, institutional strengthening, capacity building, and environmental education. Additionally, WCS helps strengthen the environmental governance of indigenous, government and local organizations. WCS has collaborated with local communities in developing new management strategies to improve their living conditions without threatening the integrity of the natural ecosystems in which they live. WCS-Ecuador has developed its first Strategic Plan that will serve as a guiding document to promote WCS’s vision and lay out strategies to ensure long-term biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihoods within the Ecuadorian landscapes.
Currently, WCS concentrates its efforts on the frontiers of conservation in the Ecuadorian Amazon in the Yasuní Biosphere Reserve (YBR) and Llanganates National Park (LLNP) in the Andes region.
These two landscapes contain large representations of undisturbed lowland tropical forests (YBR) and Andean forests and páramo (LLNP), which are critical for the conservation of key wildlife species and ecosystems in the country. Additionally, their location relative to surrounding protected areas makes YBR and LLNP essential for the conservation and restoration of connectivity between lowland Amazonian forests and the Andes, and to maintain connectivity along the Andean range.
WCS is committed to planning and implementing successful site-based conservation at the landscape scale, promoting the management of areas large enough to have conservation significance. Defining our work in terms of conservation landscapes allows WCS to bring together the necessary combination of elements to implement successful conservation strategies. This process involves identifying an appropriate mosaic of land uses, ranging from strict protection through public parks, to maintain a full complement of species and ecological processes.

To guide conservation, WCS generates applied scientific information and supports community-based management of natural resources in the Yasuní landscape. It promotes change locally through its long-term collaboration with communities as well as the strengthening of other stakeholders in the region. This is a strength that has been recognized by our local partners, and a niche that we feel we should continue to fill.  As we strengthen our program, we need to expand and complement our current activities to better influence conservation in Ecuador.

describe your personal role in the organization: I work for the GIS lab with another coworker.  My role in WCS is to provide support to the ecological and social initiatives. These includes the elaboration of basic maps, thematic maps, analysis of camera trap arrangements, selection of the best places to set up camera traps, and the generation of maps of field trips. - dCoordination and implementation of training events for mapping. This activity includes training in GIS (basic levels), GPS, SMART, and any other topics related to GIS and GPS use. - Support the development of landscape level analyses. This activity includes the development of threat maps for  Yasuní BiosphereReserve, and other landscapes. -Support  the collection of cartographic information; this activity includes data management, in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment and local governments, to ensure up-to-date spatial information is available. -Responsible for management and quality control of geographic database for landscapes, this activity includes management, compilation and usage of all this information. -Participation and attendance of field activities (e.g. Participatory mapping, survey information on land cover, threats, and socio-economic information). -Develop basic and thematic cartography for projects. -Support the research for new tools and mapping methodologies.

describe the history of your personal work in conservation and GIS:   Conservation of landscapes started being my passion since I was very young. The importance of nature for humans, and all the environmental problems that exist always troubled me, so I decided to learn more and get more involved. I figured out that the geographic engineering was the right fit for me and my personal interests. My main goal in conservation is to visualize the reality of the ground on a map, for effective wildlife conservation, improving environmental services and achievinge harmony between nature and humans. Another personal goal that has guided me from my beginnings in conservation is to help indigenous people in conservation and management of their territories. On the other hand, I really like the idea of keeping intact the intangible territory of uncontacted people in eastern Ecuador. My involvement in the GIS world has made me realize that GIS is a very important tool for decision making in conservation and for increasing awareness about environmental issues. My work in landscape conservation in Ecuador started with a very specific vision which was on rural territory management with the goal of helping people to legalize their territories. After this initial experience, I was involved in environmental statement programs for hydroelectric projects with the goal to make thematic maps to help identify suitable sites for construction to minimize environmental impacts.

d*-Abstract/summary of the paper you will present: The biodiversity of Yasuní Biosphere Reserve (YBR) is under pressure by a number of anthropogenic factors including road construction, illegal logging and oil extraction. In 2006 WCS developed a general map of the environmental problems of the Yasuní Biosphere Reserve to display the number and spatial distribution of six problems. In 2009 with additional data gathered in the field and information verified with locals, a new map of environmental problems was developed. The map reflects the severity of different types of human activities that are causing habitat alteration and have direct impact on wildlife populations, such as commercial hunting, subsistence hunting, population pressure, oil wells and logging. The assessment of pressures in the RBY was based on a gridded spatial model that incorporated information on the distribution of human activities present in the study area. Currently, my goal is to update the map of human activities including road construction areas, timber extraction areas, influence of oil exploitation, commercial hunting, and population growth. The range of severity ranges from 0 to 100, with 0 being the lowest and 100 the highest. All models will be classified by the spatial patterns to be compared with past years.
The current map visualizes spatial patterns of problems and can serve as a tool to assess the pressures on wildlife populations and to identify areas where you need to strengthen surveillance and identify monitoring points.
Also is expected to generate a comparative map between the three mapped periods (2006, 2009 and 2015) to find conserved, reclaimed areas and areas damaged during this time.

Live Map Application created by Ms. Olmedo during the 2015 UC Davis-SCGIS Web GIS Training Program.
This Map has the information of the Yasuni Biosphere reserve, included the Yasuni National park, the Communities that lives there, the intangible zone (home of no contact people), and the actual layer of oil blocks, some of them are active and others in progress to be active. 

 

 

Okeke Odinakachukwu Francisd
*-Organization name: Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
*-Organization full street address : Plot 302, Bishop Moynagh Avenue,State Housing
Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.
*-Country: Nigeria
*-Work phone with country and area code: 234 90 32353912
*-Main email: wcsnigeria@wcs.org
*-Organization Web site URL if any: www.wcsnigeria.org

describe the work that your current organization does: The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has worked to safeguard Africa’s great wildlife and wild places for the long-term benefit of the people of Africa and the world since 1920. Today WCS has the oldest, largest and arguably most effective field conservation program of any NGO in Africa. WCS’s mission in Africa is: to save wildlife and wild places by understanding critical issues, crafting science-based solutions and taking conservation actions that benefit nature and humanity. This mission identifies landscapes and species conservation as WCS’s core purpose, highlights the role of science in studying threats and designing interventions and recognises that conservation must benefit people to be effective and sustainable.
WCS has been supporting conservation and conservation-related research in Nigeria since 2001, working closely with the Ministry of Environment, Nigeria National Parks Service, Cross River State Forestry Commission, Bauchi State Government, universities, local NGOs and perhaps most importantly with local communities. In April 2007 WCS signed a five-year cooperation agreement with the National Planning Commission. WCS is based in Calabar and currently has three long-term projects in Cross River State: Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary, the Mbe Mountains and Cross River National Park; all of them focused on the protection of the critically endangered Cross River gorilla. In addition to these long-standing projects we now have two new projects: conservation of the Niger Delta red colobus monkey in Bayelsa State (since 2010) and elephant conservation in Yankari Game Reserve in Bauchi State (since 2009). In 2010, in recognition of its long-term commitment to the country, WCS established a country program in Nigeria. A key feature of our work in recent years has been the promotion of trans-boundary conservation between Nigeria and Cameroon.
dMISSION
To help conserve Nigeria’s wildlife and wild places by understanding critical issues, crafting science-based solutions, and taking conservation actions that benefit nature and humanity.
VISION FOR NIGERIA
WCS envisions a country where people value and embrace the diversity of wildlife, learn to live sustainably with wildlife, and ensure the integrity of the natural world.
VALUES
Our mission and vision statement are based on WCS’s core values. WCS strongly believes that:
 Nigeria’s wild species and landscapes are an immensely valuable heritage for the people of Nigeria and the world.
 The lives of current and future Nigerians will be enriched by wise stewardship of these wild species and landscapes.

ddescribe your personal role in the organization: Please describe your personal role in the organization:
Since 2008 I have worked as GIS and Database Management Officer for the Wildlife Conservation Society in Nigeria, with aid of GIS analysis and remote sensing technique to support the conservation of the Critically Endangered Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli). Since 2008, I have embarked on series of projects for biodiversity conservation in both Nigeria and Cameroon as a GIS Analyst. In 2008, I mapped the new boundary for Mbe Community Wildlife Sanctuary (MCWS) which was instrumental in resolving the boundary conflict among the nine communities holding claim to the ownership of the sanctuary. Also, I played a major role in the GIS analysis and mapping of following surveys:
“Wildlife and Habitat Assessment Survey of the Afi River Forest Reserve, Cross River State, Nigeria” April 2008,
“Great Ape and Drill Survey of the Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary, Cross River State, Nigeria”, July, 2009.
d“Gorilla Census of the Mbe Mountains Community Wildlife Sanctuary, Cross River State, Nigeria”, September, 2009.
“Gorilla Census of Boshi Extension and Okwa Hills, Cross River National Park, Nigeria” September, 2009.

I have been playing a crucial role in the cybertracker project implementation in Nigeria both in training Eco-guards/Rangers and actual cybertracker data analysis for annual report. In 2011, I was one of the five-team members for “REDD Feasibility Assessment in the Takamanda-Mone Landscape Cameroon” for the GIS and Remote Sensing analysis. While in 2012, my proposal for “Land Cover Change Detection in Afi/Mbe/Okwangwo Landscape” received “Planet Action” grant which was finalized in 2014. Also in February 2012, I conducted a training workshop for fifty (50) Cross River State Forestry Commission (CRSFC) officers on the use of GPS receiver for forest monitoring. Also a member of Cross River State REDD+ technical committee, I have actively involved in the preliminary data analysis.

ddescribe the history of your personal work in conservation and GIS: : Please describe the history of your personal work in conservation and GIS:
I have been involved in conservation with use of geographic information systems  techniques and remote sensing methodology for over five years now. My passion for conservation of biodiversity started years back in high school as a member of Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) club.
In 2006, as part of a community development project, I conducted a free training workshop  for about fifty officers of the Federal Road Safety Commission (the federal agency in charge of road traffic management in Nigeria) on the application of GIS in road traffic management.
Also, recently ( 2014) I conducted a six weeks training for post-graduate student of University of Calabar, Geography and Environment Science in the practical application of GIS in environmental research. The feedback from the department is quite encouraging as most of the trainees have started using GIS for their research work. I was actively involved in the training of journalist across six geo-political zones in Nigeria in the “news mapping” using GIS. This training has enriched their analytic skill in reporting news especially those that report conservation and environmental issues in Nigeria. The training was predicated on the fact that nothing enhances a story like a map. Readers can quickly glance at a map’s legend, colors, and labels to get pertinent details.

describe what is the most unique and the most challenging about the conservation/GIS work that you do: I find conservation research interesting because as it provides a source of inspiration and brings me in close contact with nature. I enjoy resolving environmental challenges with the use of geospatial technologies. Over the years I developed a special interest in knowing the impact of climate change on protected areas and vulnerable species in Nigeria.
Many laws on biodiversity and forestry  conservation are difficult to enforce because of the high level of poverty in the region. A lot of people in both the rural and urban areas depend on firewood and charcoal for cooking. Thus, the local trade in firewood and charcoal continue to thrive. The problem is aggravated by increasing food and fuel prices which force more people to depend on forest resources for survival. Improving forestry and wildlife management in Nigeria must therefore begin with the development of a proper legal and political framework for conservation management. Other measures include providing basic education on conservation for the general population of Nigeria. There is also the need to address the issue of poverty by providing proper economic incentives to improve the well-being of people around protected areas. This should however, go on hand in hand with the provision of adequate funding and staffing of protected areas in the country

 

 

Sediqa Khatieb sd
*-Organization name: South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
*-Organization full street address: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Rhodes Drive, Newlands, Cape Town
*-Organization full mailing address, if different: SANBI Private Bag x7, Claremont, 7735, South Africa
*-Country: South Africa
*-Work phone with country and area code: +27 (0)21 799 8800
*-Work fax with country and area code: +27 (0)21 762 3229
*-Main email: info@sanbi.org.za
*-Organization Web site URL if any: http://sanbi.org.za/

describe the work that your current organization does: The South African National Biodiversity Institute was launched in 2004 through the signing of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (NEMBA) 10 of 2004. Prior to 2004, SANBI was referred to as the National Botanical Institute (NBI). The NBI was an autonomous, statutory organisation established in 1989. Its key responsibilities where to conserve and study the flora of South Africa, educate the public and main various plant-based databases and libraries. SANBI’s Mission is to champion the exploration, conservation, sustainable use, appreciation and enjoyment of South Africa's exceptionally rich biodiversity for all South Africans. SANBI is involved in various learning networks. One of the learning networks that SANBI manages is the annual Biodiversity Planning Forum. The forum was established in 2004 and provides individuals and organizations the opportunity to share crucial lessons learnt while creating various biodiversity planning projects. The forum has quite a strong technical aspect to it. The forum attracts consultants, government officials and students from a wide range of institutions. In 2014 the forum had over 200 attendees.

personal role in the organization: In 2005 I was appointed at SANBI as a GIS technician. Since then I have worked my way up the corporate ladder and am now the Biodiversity GIS (BGIS) manager. My role as the BGIS manager is to manage the Biodiversity GIS website (http://bgis.sanbi.org), create and manage SANBI’s enterprise geodatabase, provide quarterly training sessions and provide GIS guidance to SANBI staff and affiliated students.   

sdhistory of your personal work in conservation and GIS: I completed my BSc degree in Environmental and Geographical Science, and Ecology at the University of Cape Town. Thereafter I attended the University of Western Cape, where I completed my BSc Honours degree in Environmental Science. It was here that I was first introduced to GIS. I must admit when I first started using GIS, I found the programme (ArcView 3.3) quite frustrating. It was tough trying to remember what each button and tool did, but the more I used the software the more proficient I became. I also recognized recognized the power and beauty of the tool. GIS isn’t simply about creating pretty maps and deciding on the perfect shade of blue to colour the ocean. It is the spatial querying ability of GIS is what fascinates me.  
Where does my passion for GIS come from? I don’t know. I guess I enjoy the struggle. GIS isn’t always straightforward. It often involves complex steps and workflows. You know what you want to do with your data, but figuring out how to get to there is a different story. I often have to test a number of tools, revert to manuals and review the outcome. But the high and satisfaction that comes from solving a problem is absolutely addictive, especially if you have spent hours trying to figure out the problem.  
And my love of conservation? I believe that certain things in life are simply inherent. I was born and raised in Cape Town, which is a beautiful city in South Africa. I spent my youth exploring the mountains and oceans; being surrounded by natural beauty. And I simply couldn’t imagine a world where I didn’t do my bit to conserve the natural environment. GIS is simply the tool I use to do my bit.  

sdwhat is the most unique and the most challenging about the conservation/GIS work that you do: I manage the BGIS website. The BGIS website has been in existence for more than 10 years. It was established in collaboration with IOI-SA and the University of Western Cape. Over the years the BGIS website has been heavily promoted. The BGIS website has been mentioned in several government gazettes and guidelines. Our website is so popular that if the server goes down for more than 30 minutes, an environmental consultant will complain. 
What is challenging about my job is that I do not have the technical skills to make any changes to the online maps. Last year June, our web developer unexpectedly quit and for six months after that we were sitting without a web developer. The result was that we could not add any new datasets to the system and there was very little we could do when someone reported a bug. We also had to cancel several planned training sessions in Pretoria and Durban.
And I hate that feeling of hopelessness. I hate constantly apologizing to our users and our data suppliers. I hated not being able to give users a timeframe for when a dataset would be online or when a bug would be fixed. I hated having to attend a workshop and promote the website, when I knew that development was stagnant. And I don’t ever want to feel that way again. I want to gain enough knowledge to make significant changes to the website.
The most exciting aspect of my job is definitely the training. It’s a great way for me to engage with our target audience and obtain feedback. I find that most often than not, students are more willing to make suggestions about your website when they are sitting in front of you. Training sessions are an easy way to gauge what is and isn’t working. There is also something deeply satisfying about educating someone and then watching them grasp a concept. I love that “light bulb” moment; the moment when the student realizes the various ways he or she can manipulate the information on the BGIS website to derive an answer. 

Live Map Application created by Ms. Khatieb during the 2015 UC Davis-SCGIS Web GIS Training Program.
I"I created a rather simple story map to give future SCGIS scholars an idea of what the scholarship programme is really like. It isn't all work. We occasionally to have the opportunity to explore our surrounds. "

d

 

 

Angela Tarimy, Madagascar mbola
*-Organization name: Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (FANC) – Manondroala project, Madagascar
*-Organization full street address: MICET - Lot VU 283D Villa Rotciv, Manakambahiny - 101 Antananarivo - Madagascar
*-Country: Madagascar
*-Work phone with country and area code: +261 3321 97703
*-Main email: angelatarimy@gmail.com
*-Organization Web site URL if any: http://www.sll.fi/madagascar

d
My organization - The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (FANC) in collaboration with Malagasy and Russian (NGO Transparent World) Partners is developing in Madagascar a new mapping tool for tropical forests, as local conservation tools, through the project called Manondroala. The word manondroala is Malagasy language, and it means showing the forest. It is also the name of an endangered local tree species that grows in the East coast of Madagascar – and is highly dependent       on the remaining forest areas. The aim of the project is to develop a forest monitoring network throughout Madagascar, for local to national level, from community associations to universities and to forest administration. So far, during the first three years (2012-2014), the project has trained and collaborated with locals in ten important forest areas of Madagascar in collection of field data, classification of different kinds of forest stands and the use of GIS (Geographical Information System) mapping tools. The project continues for the next 3 years (2015-2017) and will achieve the forests mapping of the entire country. Also, since 2012 until 2017, the project is supporting the reforestation activities of the local association called Mitsinjo, in Andasibe- Madagascar. The goal is to link fragmented forests in the forest corridor.
We use ArcGIS to identify new sites for reforestation and to optimize activities and to monitor the reforestation achievement.

your personal role in the organization: I am the National Representative of FANC in Madagascar and the National Coordinator of FANC project.
In addition with the project management, communication, Monitoring&Evaluation sides of my work, I am also in charge of :
- the identification of new reforestation site, the monitoring and optimization of reforestation work using ArcGIS 9.3.1
-the trainings for community-based organization and local actors.
Capacity building of local actors on forest mapping, on basic manipulation of GIS is important to make participative accurate maps which will be local tools for conservation.

mbolahistory of your personal work in conservation and GIS: Since 2003: I started to work in GIS when I was Responsible of Monitoring&Evaluation and the GIS system of the National Program fighting against the “Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome” (AIDS). At this time, we worked with MapInfo software.
2005-2009: Then I continued with Arcview when I was Responsible of Monitoring&Evaluation and the GIS system of the Regional good governance Program called ACORDS which Support Public and Rural Organizations in South of Madagascar (Program ACORDS)
2009-2010: I also worked with Arcview when I was the experts of Monitoring&Evaluation and the GIS system of the Nutritional Project in the South of Madagascar
2011-until now: I work with ArcGIS 9.3.1 to monitor the forests reforestation project of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (FANC)

what is the most unique and the most challenging about the conservation/GIS work that you do: The most challenging about my GIS work is to monitor reforested areas. Seedlings newly planted are not visible immediately on imagery, so it took time to visibly see forest structure changes on desktop. The most challenging about conservation work is the monitoring of the community based-organization’s field work and conservation work. Forest intactness and degradation is a complex processes, actors need right tools for real-time monitoring.

Live Map Application created during the 2015 UC Davis-SCGIS Web GIS Training.
Here is the map of Forest restoration of Andasibe Madagascar within the project Manondroala, a Cooperation between the Association Mitsinjo and the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation. The goal is to support community-based forest restoration in Madagascar.

 

 

 

Zo Andriamahenina Tsino Heritiana reindeer
*-Organization name: Blue Ventures Conservation
*-Organization full street address: II M 98 H Antsakaviro – 101 Antananarivo
*-Country: Madagascar
*-Work phone with country and area code: + (261) 34 48 984 85
*-Main email: info@blueventures.org
*-Organization Web site URL if any: http://www.blueventures.org

d
describe the work that your current organization does:
Blue Ventures is a science-led social enterprise that has been working with coastal communities in Madagascar to develop transformative approaches for nurturing and sustaining locally led marine conservation for over 10 years. We work in places where the ocean is vital to local people, cultures and economies, and where there is a fundamental need to support human development. In recent years, we’ve won international acclaim for our innovative approaches to addressing the challenges faced by coastal communities. Recent accolades include the Buckmintser Fuller Challenge, the United Nation’s Equator Prize and IUCN’s SEED Award- some of the most prestigious global awards for innovation in biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation.

I work specifically for the Blue Forests project, which has a diverse array of activities ongoing in six different regions of west coastal Madagascar (i.e., Ambaro/Ambanja Bays; Mahajamba Bays; Melaky Region; Belo sur Mer; Velondriake; Ambondrolava).  All activities are community centered initiatives which aim to harness the conservation, restoration and reduced-impact use of mangroves and related resources to secure existing livelihoods, explore alternative livelihoods, and safeguard biodiversity. The Blue Forests project, and all Blue Ventures efforts, involves close collaboration with community members, other NGOs, Malagasy and foreign Universities, and all levels of government in Madagascar.

Some notable milestones for the Blue Forests project to date include:

The Blue Forests project has been funded by the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and is currently funded by the Darwin Initiative, the Waterloo Foundation and the United Nations Development Program Global Environmental Fund. We also receive in-kind contributions and support from ESRI, Planet Action and Google.  We were also international observers and participants in the Environment Abu Dhabi funded Abu Dhabi Blue Carbon Demonstration Project and Northern Emirates Surveys; both of which directly involved our Malagasy staff.

reindeeryour personal role in the organization: I have been employed by Blue Ventures since December, 2011. Originally hired as a field technician, my roles and responsibilities are mow much more diverse, and revolve around helping to plan and conduct field measurement and mapping missions, create and maintain data-bases, and make results available for additional analysis and dissemination (e.g., in multiple data-formats; maps). This includes growing contributions to:
-Field surveys to estimate above- and below-ground mangrove carbon stocks
-Establishing mangrove management zones (i.e., conservation, restoration and extraction) to facilitate short- to long-term planning and help secure legal management rights
-Participatory mapping to understand past, current and future coastal resource use and help secure traditional user rights
-Ground truthing surveys to validate land-cover and participatory resource-use maps
-Establishing community resource-use management plans
Lastly, my involvement in our carbon stock and ecological characterization surveys, and ground truthing expeditions, has involved a decision making process and managing a team of colleagues to decide where and when we go to certain areas. As the navigator, I use multiple criteria (e.g., tides, access) to determine when and where we go. I also keep track of where we have been and help plan where to go next.

history of your personal work in conservation and GIS: Since late 2011, I have worked for the NGO Blue Ventures (BV), which works with coastalMalagasy communities on transformative, holistic marine conservation initiatives. Working with BV around my country and engaging with coastal communities throughout the west coast continuities to be a hureindeermbling and inspirational experience. While growing up I was aware that my country faced many challenges, the last several years have really opened up my eyes to the full scope of issues faced particularly be coastal communities, who seem to be amongst the most vulnerable people in an already extremely poor and disadvantaged nation, which houses unrivaled biodiversity. Though the challenges are immense, it is continually uplifting and motivating to work with my BV colleagues and within communities where people are clearly aware of the issues the face, and completely willing to do what it takes to spur both short- and long-term change. While I was not certain what I wanted to do with the rest of my life when I first started working with BV, by early 2012, it was clear to me, that helping to empower my fellow Malagasy through holistic conservation strategies was (and is) my calling.
My initial role as a field technician has expanded over the years, and on a part-time basis, I have received training related to the collection and use of geospatial data-sets to aid our organizational objectives. BV does not have a full time Malagasy geospatial technician; though it has been and remains high on the list of my career goals to transition in to such a role. This transition has been occurring slowly but surely, and overlaps with the core BV goal of capacity building within Madagascar; giving nationals the tools needed to work with coastal communities to help empower them to secure long-term livelihoods, access health-care and education, and safeguard biodiversity. Over the years, my roles in BV (as described above) have greatly expanded and diversified, allowing me to make much more meaningful and direct contributions to our core holistic conservation goals. While I was fortunate enough to receive SCGIS training in Madagascar, have received part-time training from BV’s two foreign geospatial scientists, and have independently trained myself through tutorials and text books (as described above) as time permits, I require additional intensive training to further my skills and enhance my abilities to work with coastal communities to optimally achieve our objectives. I know that the SCGIS Scholarship Program provides the perfect opportunity to receive this additional training and capacity building that I need to really ensure I can contribute as much as possible to empowering the coastal communities in which we work and in turn helping to safeguard biodiversity.

Live Map Application created by Mr. Andriamahenina during the 2015 UC Davis-SCGIS Web GIS Training Program.

This map explains and shows the mangroves  management  plan in our project areas but also I've put the deforestation analysis map to show to public the rate of the deforestation  of 14 years now. This mangrove management plan is from the result of participatory mapping within the deforestation analysis ; which mean we combined both of the result ( participatory mapping and deforestation analysis) for the decision maker in order to update a new management plan.

 

Nado
javierOrganization: Wangchuck Centennial National Park
*-Organization full street address:   Nasiphel, Bumthang   
*-Country:       Bhutan
*-Work phone with country and area code: 0975 03 634100
*-Work fax with country and area code: 0975 03 634103

dORGANIZATION’S WORK: Wangchuck Centennial National Park (WCNP) is the government organization functioning under Department of Forests and Park Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests. It is the largest National Park in the country covering 4,914 square kilometers. It is located in north-central Bhutan covering six districts. It was declared in 2008 coinciding with 100 years of Wangchuck dynasty as a tribute to their visionary and selfless leadership. It is also considered as the water tower as four major river system of the country flow through the park and numerous mountains remain under snow cover throughout the year.
The vegetation ranges from warm broadleaf forests to alpine meadows, spanning an altitudinal range     from 2,500 to 5,100 meters above sea level.  Over 693 species of vascular plants, 41 mammal species, 250 bird species and 46 species of butterfly have been recorded in the park.

Mission of WCNP
To conserve and manage natural biodiversity in harmony with people’s values and aspirations.
Goals

Mandates:

For the smooth functioning and the effectives services delivery and proper management of the he park WCNP is supported by three field offices. Field offices are located in east, central and west and each field office is headed by a Park Rang Officer with few field staff.

WCNP is funded by government for current expenditures (salary for staff, mobility, etc.) and very much dependent on donor agencies for the activities that require high investments. The management of WCNP implement mandates in close collaboration with Central and local authorities, local communities and non-governmental agencies.

javieryour personal role in the organization:  I am serving as the Range Officer of the Western Park Range under Wangchuck Centennial National Park. My roles are:
Allocation of natural resources to the park residents within range
Conduct survey and data collection from the field. 
Administer regular monitoring and patrolling in the park
Prepare work plan and field reports and submit to park Head quarters
Facilitate and monitor the development of ecotourism facilities
Management of forest nursery and seedling production
Law enforcement

history of your personal work in conservation and GIS: It is my 17th year working under Department of Forest and Park Services of Bhutan. Joined the department since 1998 and worked with a logging section for few years
Later I was transferred to a Territorial Forest Division which is mandated to execute the similar functions of Park in areas out of the protected areas. I had an opportunity to serve as the field In-charge of Forest Management Unit in the central part of Bhutan. From 2003, I was transferred to Social Forestry Division under Department Forests and Park Service and served as Assistant District Forest Officer. For more than ten years I was actively involved in;
Prevention of forest fire
Establishment of private and community forestry
Conduct awareness program and trainings related to conservation of environment and forest to local communities
Resource assessment, mapping and preparation of management plan for community forests
Facilitate and backstop forestry extension agents and community forest group in management
Carryout forest plantations in degraded areas
Management of forest nursery and seedling production for distribution to local communities I did Post Graduate Diploma in Participatory Forest Management
In 2013, completed Bachelor’s degree in Forestry.
I was using GIS since 2005 till date for certain work as part of my regular job requirement. The software that we use are Ozi explorer, ARCGIS 9.3 and Google earth to do simple GIS mapping and analysis. 

Live Web Mapcreated by Mr. Nado during the 2015 UC Davis-SCGIS Web GIS Training Program.
his map show the distribution of protected areas and biological corridors in Bhutan. Area in dark green shading is Wangchhuck Centennial National Park, the largest park in the country.

 

 

Train the Trainer Scholars: Lynn Santos and Bhuwan Dhakal

This is a special program begun in 2012 to train highly qualified scholars to become conservation GIS teachers in their own right, able to offer the courses, training and support that comprise the core of the scholarship experience to the conservation groups of their home countries.

Lyn Ohala Santos Rodríguezd
*-Organization name: Amigos de Sian Ka’an A.C.
title: Marine Conservation and Climate Change Program, Subdirector.
email address: lsantos at amigosdesiankaan.org
interest keywords: coral reefs, climate change, sustainable tourism, ecotourism, REDD+, mangroves, fisheries, conservation, sustainable development, certification, Corporate Social Responsibility
Organization name: Amigos de Sian Ka’an A.C.
Organization full street address (in your local format): Calle Fuego No. 2, Manzana 10, Supermanzana 4, Cancún, Quintana Roo, México. CP. 77500
Organization full mailing address, if different:
Country: México
Work phone with country and area code: +52 (998) 8922958
Work fax with country and area code:
Main email: amigos@amigosdesiankaan.org
Organization Web site URL if any: www.amigosdesiankaan.org
Organization subject keywords: Conservation, environment, biodiversity, caves karst, climate change, sustainable tourism, coast conservation, hydrology, mangroves, sustainable development, sustainable construction, coral reefs, wetlands, community involvement, local culture preservation, fisheries, economic development, local communities, Territory Ecological Ordenance, ecotourism, Sian Ka’an, Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula

Community and Training Work: As you may remember, as part of my responsibilities as Marine Conservation and Climate Change Sub director at Amigos de Sian Ka’an, I had several projects. One of them, the one I presented at the ESRI UC and SCGIS involved the identification of areas suitable for the establishment of no-fishing areas. Using the environmental analysis skills, I gathered together information about biologicald and socio-economical characteristics on the State and “cleaned” the duplicated data, I homogenized the metadata and organized the information. One of the participants of the project gathered together the legal information regarding the coastal zone (no-take periods and areas, fishing permits, natural protected areas, etc.) and I integrated those information with the one I previously organized. Once all the data were ready to be analyzed, one of the GIS colleagues inside Amigos de Sian Ka’an, with my support, developed a model to predict the best areas for the establishment of no-fishing areas. The model was built in model-builder and has been run with different ponderation values, in order to evaluate the difference in the results if you consider the biological or socioeconomic or legal area more important than the others. The results have been presented to the Alianza Kanan Kay, an initiative where more than 40 organizations work together in order to protect the marine areas of Quintana Roo and to establish no-fishing zones. The project also was accepted to be presented in the American Fishing Meeting, held in Mazatlan, México in April 2014 and will be presented in the 8th Coral Reef International Congress, which will be held in Puerto Vallarta, México, in May, 2015. Apart from this project, I developed a simple interactive map for the Kanan Kay Alliance, where all the members can see the areas where their projects have impacts and where we need to focus our efforts, in order to work all along the State. Other small works on GIS where used as well in my other projects, and I am still practicing the skills I learnt.
On the training area, I organized a course with John Schaeffer on December 2013, a one-week course where I was supposed to start the TTT program, but unfortunately, due to really difficult family situations, I had to interrupt the training and I couldn’t finish it. I know for sure, that most of the students that took that training will be interested in the more-extensive two-week training, and this will be my first focus when I come back from Davis being a certified instructor. Other than this group, I have a good relationship with people from universities at Mérida, Cancún and Chetumal, so I can offer the training for students at these universities, as well as some research centers and NGO’s. I am also willing to travel to other areas of Mexico to offer the training, taking advantage of the colleagues I know from other cities. As per the number of trainings, I commit to organize at least one course in 2015 and two trainings on 2016.
On the professional area, I’ve finished my projects with Amigos de Sian Ka’an last month, and I will continue working as a consultant with them and other NGO’s, as being required. In this specific moment, I am in charge of the Fundraise area for an Education-focus NGO and after spring break I will be developing new projects to be offered to organizations in the area. This situation implies that currently, I don’t have specific data to work with; however, I make the commitment to you that I will have a project to work with when needed.

describe the work that your current organization does: Amigos de Sian Ka´an is a non-profit organization that was founded in June of 1986 with the primary purpose of promoting, leading and supporting actions to preserve the natural and cultural resources of Sian Ka´an Biosphere Reserve and the surround areas, by working with local communities and the government. Now, Amigos de Sian Ka’an has extended its work to all the Quintana Roo Estate and has become the leading conservation organization in the area.

describe your personal role in the organization: I work at Amigos de Sian Ka’an since the beginning of 2012. I am the leader of the Marine Conservation and Climate Change Program at Amigos de Sian Ka’an. My responsibilities include coordinating specific projects related with marine resources and coastal management, and projects with a climate change focus. My Program has three main divisions: Research, Management and Monitoring.

dThe active projects I am currently executing during 2013 are:

We also have some projects that haven’t been authorized yet and some others we are working on to apply for funding. Additionally, I collaborate with different Programs at Amigos de Sian Ka’an, like the Freshwater conservation Program, the Ecotourism Program and the Special Projects Program.

describe the history of your personal work in conservation and GIS: My history working on GIS is brief; I used to make maps of the main areas of a hotel destination to monitor the extension of mangrove that had to be protected during the construction process. I used visible and infrared aerial pictures to digitalize the polygons in order to verify the health and extension of the ecosystem. I also made maps to establish monitoring zones on Coral Reefs.

describe what is the most unique and the most challenging about the conservation/GIS work that you do:
In Quintana Roo we have so much natural resources, it has white-sand-turquoise-sea beaches, tropical jungle, mangroves, the Mayan culture and so many wonders, that’s why this area has become the one with higher population growth rate in all the country. The population only in Cancun (north area of the Estate) has passed from 4000 to 850,000 on 40 years. Right now it’s the most important tourist destination with a contribution of 80% of the Estate‘s economy. This has added important and significant pressure to the coastal ecosystems. A study that Amigos de Sian Ka’an performed in alliance with local partners showed that 50% of the original mangrove surface has been lost and the 50% that remains is highly fragmented and isolated. Also, only about 30% of the sewage on the Estate is treated and the rest goes to the underground system.
The Yucatan Peninsula is a karstic platform with no superficial watersheds. The highly porous rock allows filtration and thus, pollution of the underground freshwater that is actually, the only source of drinking water in the area. After the Amazon jungle, Quintana Roo has the largest best preserved tropical jungle and unfortunately, more jungle areas are being deforested, fragmented and changed so proper territory ecological ordenance programs are imperative.
Quintana Roo shore is part of the Mesoamerican Reef, the second largest coral reef after the Great Barrier at Australia. Corals in the area had been impacted by pollution, exploitation, overfishing, mangrove deforestation and non-responsible tourism. The ecological condition of reef, according to the 2012 Report published by Healthy Reef for Healthy People (with some data produced by Amigos de Sian Ka’an), shows that none of the coral reef in Mexico is in a good ecological condition, all of them have some level of impact and more of 50% of them severely damaged.

 

 

Bhuwan Dhakald

*-Organization name: Action for Conservation and Sustainability (ACS) (Currently Studying at the University of Florida)
*-Organization full street address (in your local format): Babarmahal, Kathmandu, Nepal
*-Organization full mailing address, if different:
*-Country: Nepal
*-Work phone with country and area code: +977-1-4331134
*-Work fax with country and area code:
*-Main email: bhuwan_dhakal@hotmail.com

Community and Training work: Time has changed since. I was accepted at the University of Florida for my PhD program the same year, and I was soon here in August. I was lucky enough that the grant we submitted the same year about Human-Elephant conflict in Eastern Nepal was accepted. That allowed me to go Nepal at least once a year. In the last three years, I have been to Nepal three times, primarily for my field work. But I took that opportunity to think and implement my ideas on how I can transfer my knowledge to the young scholars and the community. SCGIS Nepal was a good platform for me to transfer that knowledge. Every time I have been to Nepal, I have provided a short training (3 days to 1 week) on conservation GIS to the young graduates. Thanks to the support of ESRI license and books, I have been able to transfer the knowledge to the young graduates who are interested in GIS and conservation. Before being a SCGIS scholar, I was an environmental GIS trainer at Resources Himalaya Foundation. Further, I have also given trainings to the government employees on basic tools of ArcGIS.

I look forward to continue my training whenever I go to Nepal. Most of the time, I am also providing online support for the young students. Please refer the next page for my detailed plan of GIS training in my region. For my research, I am working on how to reduce Human Elephant Conflict in Eastern Nepal. I am using GIS to understand vulnerabilities of the people in that region. There hasn’t been much research regarding use of GIS to understand wildlife vulnerability. I am planning to use the model Cutter (1997) she developed for county level hazard assessment in United States (http://training.fema.gov/hiedu/docs/hrm/session%206%20-%20handbook%20gis-based%20hazards%20assessment.pdf). If I could be able to work in this, I believe it will provide a unique methodology for conservation/wildlife sector. In this regard, if I get selected for the TTT program, I will develop the exercise for this. This will benefit everybody in the conservation sector by being able to understand how we can seek support from one field to another, or from one country to another. Further, I can develop other exercises using kriging technique, buffer tools, etc.

describe the history of your personal work in conservation and GIS: I am from Nepal, a small and one of the least developed countries located in the heart of the Himalayas. The mountain ecosystem supports a magnificent array of plants and wildlife diversity that have been under peril with growing challenges of climate change, local people’s natural resource dependency, and myriad other threats. Given the challenges for natural resources management due to internal and external conditions, it is paramount to mitigate the impacts with sustainable strategies to maintain the optimal balance between people, natural resources conservation and livelihood issues.d

For the past five years, I have observed the conservation sector of Nepal to be limited with respect to the lack of quality human resources. The scarcity of personnel that have cutting-edge scientific knowledge, and the lack of use of advanced research techniques and methodologies in research are major impediments for effective biodiversity conservation in the country. This has had a direct effect on conservation policy and implementation. In order to increase skilled human capacity and institutional development, it is critical for young scholars such as me to be well-trained and equipped with contemporary knowledge and produce research outputs that are scientific and applicable at the field level.

Being the student of conservation science and having ample experience in the field of Conservation GIS, I envision the need of paradigm shift in conservation research through the apropos use of GIS and remote sensing. Though there are many people working in the field of conservation, still there is the trend of applying traditional methods, and only few have adequate knowledge in the sector of GIS and remote sensing for conservation research. Recent studies have shown that application of GIS and remote sensing can make conservation studies, in the mountainous countries like Nepal, more effective. 

It has been more than five years; I have been closely working with GIS in conservation research, and have found the need of maximizing its use for training young scholars for building next generation conservation leaders. Without adequate knowledge on the GIS science, it is very difficult for conservationists to deal with the newer challenges of conservation including climate change.

In this regard, it is very much important for me to take advanced level GIS training, so as to capacitate myself for better conservation research in Nepal. As I represent both sectors, I feel I am the appropriate person to take this training. But attending this training is contingent upon getting grant, as I cannot afford to pay such high amount. Thus getting grant and the training opportunity will be a life time opportunity, which will allow me to have critical thinking on new research ideas for better conservation in Nepal.



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