Guest blog by the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation.
“You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”
Conservation requires science for a well-founded understanding of the ecosystems our communities depend on. What we found in years of working with coastal resource managers, however, is that this science needs to be effectively visualized and communicated to mobilize leaders and stakeholders into concrete actions on the ground.
Our NGO’s role at the Southern Negros Coastal Development Management Council is to support the member local government units (LGUs) of the city of Sipalay, municipalities of Cauayan and Hinoba-an, and partner agencies, in strengthening and sustaining the network of marine protected areas in this governance alliance. These LGUs have limited access and capacity for GIS mapping technologies that are crucial for participatory governance and zoning of marine protected areas and adjacent coastal communities.
The global mapping and monitoring tool Allen Coral Atlas assists our work at the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation (PRRCFI) with these local resource managers and LGU personnel. The Allen Coral Atlas has the ability to provide these stakeholders open source information with attributes such as the habitat cover, connectivity, and proximity of ecosystems with satellite imagery.
Kim Casipe, biologist and project manager for the ‘Sustainable protection of coastal ecosystems and communities from the impacts of climate change’, commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), has been demonstrating the use of Allen Coral Atlas to enrich our local partners with new tools useful to their mandates of coastal resource management.
With access to platforms like the Allen Coral Atlas, community leaders now have an instant visual and technical reference for the coastal ecosystems they protect and sustain, such as core and buffer zones of marine protected areas, especially at PRRCFI’s home base at the sanctuary of Danjugan Island in South Negros, and its network of MPAs.
Images provided by the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation, 2022.