2019 ABSTRACT (abstract only is available) Session: Human Wildlife
"SCGIS Scholarship’s Butterfly Effect: Conserving the Magical Mangroves "
M Abdullah Abu Diyan Bangladesh Cetacean Diversity Project, Bangladesh/Australia
This is a personal account of how my participation in the SCGIS scholarship program provided the means to implement GIS technologies for helping to conserve the magical mangroves of Bangladesh. The Sundarbans Mangrove Forest is the largest mangrove in the world shared by Bangladesh and India. Sundarbans is the last remaining habitat of the endangered Bengal tigers in Bangladesh and supports the largest known population of endangered freshwater dolphins – Ganges river dolphin and Irrawaddy dolphin. Climate change, poaching, habitat degradation, management issues, over-exploitation of resources, and human-wildlife conflict are some of the issues that make wildlife conservation challenging in the Sundarbans. Given the limitations, use of citizen science and GIS has been instrumental in establishing new sanctuaries inside the forest and providing vital support for completing multiple research activities aimed to gain in-depth understanding of this dynamic landscape and the population of wildlife. GIS was used starting from designing sampling methods to analyzing data, visualizing results in innovative ways to providing support for policy change dialogues, human-wildlife conflict to showcasing wildlife information to the local population for strengthening conservation efforts at local levels and generating love and awareness for wildlife conservation. The presentation attempts to demonstrate the importance for individuals from developing countries to have access to advanced technology and resources, and how this can become a game changer for wildlife conservation in challenging landscapes.