Watching Forests to Preserve Habitat and Save Wildlife
JGI recognizes the importance of engaging local people in the protection of their forests, along with all of the plant and wildlife that call it home. With the use of emerging mobile mapping technologies, we are able to empower local communities and protected area rangers to better locate and report in near-real time human impacts on the environment, which enables decision makers to respond to emerging threats and changes in the landscape.
Watching forests involves the participation of Village Forest Monitors (VFMs), who are community members selected by their village governments to patrol their forest reserves who are equipped and trained by JGI and partners to use these mobile technologies. Protected area rangers are able to access forest loss alerts from Global Forest Watch and report instances of deforestation using Android smartphones, tablets running Open Data Kit, and the newly developed Forest Watcher apps. The data they collect is used to inform local conservation decisions and contributes to the larger monitoring of the health of chimpanzee and other great ape habitats across Africa. From above and from on the ground, we’re protecting essential forest areas in the most efficient and accurate way.
Community forest monitoring is an integral part of our Gombe-Masito-Ugalla program in Tanzania, and our conservation efforts in western Uganda and eastern DRC.
Photo credits on this page, top to bottom and left to right: JGI/Shawn Sweeney