Monday, July 28, 2008

Digital maps to manage forest resources

Learning to digitally map their forests has empowered a group of landowners of Dreketi, on Vanua Levu, to better manage their resources.

The group of landowners from the villages of Keka and Vatuvonu of the Yavusa Drawa are the first in the Northern Division to learn about digitally mapping their forests.

The landowners' forests have been managed under the Sustainable Forest Management Project since 2003 and are the model project for the country.

GTZ official Jalesi Mateboto said the five-year project would phase out by December and that the landowners were being empowered now with management skills that would help them to continue to manage their forests in a sustainable manner long after the experts had left.

"With these mapping skills they are able to identify which sections of forests must not be harvested, which have been harvested already so that they don't continue to indiscriminately log their forests," Mr Mateboto said.

"Sometimes after three years of logging some landowners realise they don't have forests left to log, food disappears from streams nearby and the ecosystem which they are part of collapses," he said.

Mr Mateboto the mapping skills allowed landowners to identify the land use system that best suited a particular area of land.

"They can allocate a certain piece of land for agriculture, for forestry and the part that must not be harvested at all or disturbed," he said.

"What we have wanted them to understand is that they are part of the forest ecosystem and when the forests die, their livelihoods die as well.
"So with this digital mapping system they are better in control of how their forests are used," he said.

As part of their training GTZ has equipped the landowners with the Global Positioning System to gather information about their forests and which is then stored into a MapInfo Software.



Post a Comment