Buh was accepted as TTT Candidate for the SCGIS 2016 Scholar Training Program in Cameroon. The class was organized by SCGIS Scholar and Cameroon Chapter Leader Gaston Buh , with funding from Esri and the World Wildlife Fund Education for Nature program.
WWF is a leading Conservation organization in the world with many years of experience in this domain. Also involve in Climate change mitigation actions, Natural resources management, Local population livelihood improvement etc. We are just entering another dimension of conservation through the REDD+ process. MRV is an important component of this process that requires adequate skills in geospatial technology. I am greatly involved in this process and feel that I should update my knowledge and get more prepared towards delivering required results that meets international standards requirements. As a former scholar, I do strongly believe that through further participation, my skills cannot remain the same, but just the right time to get improved knowledge and face the new challenges to measuring carbon emission and from forest degradation and deforestation.
(Photo: Buh (L) With colleague on Field Mapping Project)
As GIS Coordinator for WWF, generally I am tasked with the following assignments
-Develop and maintained a geospatial database of projects in Cameroon
-Produce relevant maps for the projects as needed
-Monitor changes in vegetation cover of project area using relevant GIS tools
-Organize and manage the proper usage of GIS and related tools and ensure the adequate storage of the information on computers and the proper integration of the data into the project database
-Liaise with other organizations (UN, NGOS, international agencies, national counterparts) in order to identify existing geographic datasets, support inter-operability and data exchange, promote data management best practices, and provide technical support
-Provide strategic guidance to the Strategic Planning Support Team on data and information management needs for the threat-/risk mapping system
-Develop, organize and implement GIS and MIST training to MINFOF/MINEPDED, some NGOs and project staff
(Photo Below: Buh training field staff in GIS & GPS methodologies)
Please describe the history of your personal work in conservation and GIS: I got introduced into GIS in 2003, nearly 10 years ago. Since then I worked as a volunteer and later got a contract with the Limbe Botanic Garden GIS Laboratory. I worked also as a consultant for some time with GIZ (German International cooperation) still applied GIS in natural resources management in the southwest of Cameroon. Currently now working for WWF as the GIS and Database officer for its Cameroon program office.
Please describe your connection to the local SCGIS chapter: I am one of the national coordinating team members for SCGIS in Cameroon and have been an active member since the inception of this local chapter in 2007. I have been very instrumental with undertaking outreach events over the years and organization of some GIS training classes to members of the ministry of forestry and also some local staff members of NGO.
Please describe what is the most unique and the most challenging about the conservation/GIS work that you do: field based site work with constant movement to other project sites to extend the application of GIS. Image analysis and interpretation has been challenging excise and constantly require knowledge in this domain to complete GIS assignments. Considering the fact that I do work in remote areas, there are problems of internet connections and with occasional cut off from others. So any difficult will require self solving.
2013 Scgis Conference Paper:
Title: Relative Abundance and Distribution of large mammals in the Ngoyla –Mimtom Forest Block, South-East Cameroon
Abstract In the forests of Central Africa, the most important impact is hunting for meat and ivory, resulting first in the loss of the larger-bodied mammals, and later the loss of most of the smaller species. At some sites forest loss or degradation (by fire, encroachment, or both) are also very important issues. Little is known about wildlife population levels, their distribution, or the rate of loss in most of the region. Similarly, the degree of human impact is not well documented or quantified in most of the region. The conservation monitoring that WWF carries out in the region aims to detect if these losses are occurring, and why. The procedure is generally to establish a baseline of data through surveys using standardized, statistically robust field and analytical methods. Georeferenced wildlife and human sign are recorded within key conservation landscapes and mapped. These surveys are then repeated over the years and the data examined to see if wildlife populations and distribution have remained stable, increased, or diminished and if any human activity has intensified or spread further into previously remote areas. These data usually point to the reasons for loss of wildlife, and informed, adaptive management action can be carried out to try to reverse negative trends. In this case study. A survey on relative abundance and distribution of large mammals in the Ngoyla mimtom forest block, in the south east of Cameroon was undertaken. Transects of 2,5km of length were established following national norms. These transects were generated within quadrants of 5x5 km that provided a total of 385 transects of 920 km within the block. 8 field teams were constituted that mobilized over 117 persons who participated in the field data collection exercise. Field data were collected using Cyber tracker. Data was analyzed through the use of Distance and ARGIS softwares.
Organization name: Limbe Botanic Garden
My request to participate in the SCGIS annual conference is expressing my yearning to further build knowledge in the field of GIS that will permit me transfer this knowledge back to my home country Cameroon in order to provide better geospatial services that will robustly contribute toward effective and efficient nature conservation in this part of the world.
The Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing Laboratory of the Limbe Botanic Garden has been providing Geospatial services to the Cameroonian community and beyond for over ten years now. We have pursued every opportunity to raise awareness on the importance of GIS to the public in general, as well as children in particular, though no direct funding has been, or is currently, available (For example, World Space Week Celebrations - http://www.edennewspaper.com/Cameroon-To-Celebrate-World-Space-Week-For-First-Time.html?ac=0
, GIS Day celebrations - http://www.gisday.com/success2007/event8949.html
, organization of short trainings etc). The Laboratory has witnessed enormous challenges in terms of continuing to provide these services as well as meeting up with international standard; upgrading knowledge and consequently quality of services offers us opportunity to reach standards comparable with the ever changing global environment. Our ongoing lack of available means prevents staffs from attending national and international short training courses, partly due to lack of willing management; squeezing in necessary means for GIS in support of building staff and institutional capacity is a difficult priority. It is in this light that I feel a grant to permit me participate in this workshop could be the only means through which I could acquire new skills to transfer back in my home institution and therefore further foster GIS activities in my local community.
Please describe the history of your local work in conservation and GIS: This Geographical Information Analysis and Remote Sensing Laboratory is a component of the Limbe Botanic Garden that started operation some ten years ago. It brings together local community, land use mangers, research institutions, non governmental organistations, private companies and government organization to address their spatial information needs. This assists them to make sound decision on resources and improve livelihoods. This information is then presented for visualization by way of maps, graphs and tables.
The lab provides the following services;
- GIS Analysis (including landscape analysis and decision support systems to park managers, other protected areas manages and decision makers)
- Satellite Image processing/interpretation – Ecological change detection using time series imagery` `
- Map production, including participatory mapping
- Database development and integration with external databases (e.g Mt Cameroon Biodiversity Database)
- Training and /or Capacity building
The services provided span from community based mapping to space borne satellite image analysis to Biodiversity conservation activities in Cameroon.
With the ever increasing need for spatial information technology, the vision of the laboratory is to expand its activities to the entire cogon basin, thus becoming the central Africa Spatial Information Analysis laboratory.
One of the ongoing areas of most focus over the past few years is helping local communities with geospatial tools in the management of their forest This approach supports local community empowerment toward efficient management of community forests in a threatened rainforest area declared one of the World’s Top 25 Biodiversity Hot Spots. Communities empowered by conservation education regarding their local forests as well as by GPS and mapping training are able to better monitor changes and activities of their forests. As the value of education in Cameroon is very high as is awareness regarding need for forest conservation, this approach fills a necessary gap between awareness and action, in a locally appropriate approach to nature conservation. Demarcation and training with the local communities that live within and surrounding some of the oldest and most diverse remaining rainforest in the world reinforces protection of many endangered species of mammals, reptiles and flora and fauna in addition to providing a foundation for which communities can make better informed decision making; The use of geospatial tools are proven to contribute significantly toward sustainable forest management conservation activities around the globe. Conserving nature is a complex inter-phase requiring input from several sources this approach in Cameroon has led toward conservation for the benefit of future generations while permitting present generations to make educated use, optimally, of forest resources for their livelihood needs.
Please describe how you work in your local conservation and GIS community: The Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing Laboratory of the Limbe Botanic Garden work in collaboration with a number of locally based Non governmental organization who are directly involved in conservation work in Cameroon and beyond. This includes but not limited to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) GTZ, WWF, GFW etc. An example of these local NGOs is Center for Nursery Development and Eru Propagation (CENDEP) which was formed in 1999 following a training that was organized here at the Limbe Botanic Garden on conservation and agriculture, with focus on eru propagation by an assortment of motivated male and female individuals and farming groups. Contact information;
Some common initiative groups involved in conservation activities with which we work includes; Center for the Promotion of Conservation Agriculture (CIPROCA), Center for Conservation and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCDRR). In addition to the above mentioned groups, a number of others continue to facilitate conservation work in Cameroon. we lease with these organizations to assess spatial needs and provide geospatial services to each as requires. We very much work in collaboration with local community forest committees toward assisting them in the sustainable management of the local community forest. We also provide awareness programmes and short trainings to interested members of these different NGOs. We also work in collaboration with Global Forest Watch of the World Resources Institution whose primary mission is assisting the Cameroon government through the use of Satellite images to monitor illegal Logging activities in Cameroon. This contributes substantially toward good governance in the forestry sector. Moreover, it contributes toward sustainable management of the forest, creating more CO2 Sink in the atmosphere and thereby contributing toward reduction in climate change and climate variability.
Please describe what is the most unique and the most challenging about the conservation/GIS work that you do: Challenges regarding conservation are enormous. One of the most challenging in terms of GIS work is acquisition of field data of the present state of a feature of interest. The difficulties arises here because of the difficult landscapes and the tropical cloudy satellites images available to us in a number of work areas. Another challenge is securing funding for our GIS/Conservation activities.
2013 Scgis Conference Paper:
ABSTRACT: Cameroon mangroves are biologically productive with estuarine which serve as nursery, feeding and breeding ground for many kinds of marine organisms. Over the years, this productive coastal ecosystem has experienced the concentration of population, exploitation of natural resources, discharge of waste effluent and municipal sewage. Lack of adequate Geospatial data on distribution of these resources remains a hindrance to natural resource management in developing nations like Cameroon. The Limbe Botanic Garden GIS/RS Department was contracted by FAO of the United Nations to ascertain mangrove zones along the coastline of Cameroon. We classified the different mangrove species, developed an accurate Geo-spatial database with the distribution of mangrove zones relative to other land cover/Land use types. Provided training on data collection, storage and analysis to collaborating local institutions, Non Governmental Organizations, and Community Based Organizations helping local communities in their application and management of these reserves.