Sunday, December 25, 2011

Participatory 3D Modelling - Bwindi Impenetrable and Mgahinga Gorilla National Parks, Uganda

In 2009 a group of Batwa representatives from Uganda travelled to Ogiek communities in Kenya to learn about their situation and the different advocacy strategies they were using. One of these strategies was the use of Participatory 3-Dimensional Modelling (P3DM), which helped the Ogiek engage Kenyan agencies on their rights to their ancestral territory, the Mau Forest. The Batwa walked away from this visit impressed by the simplicity of the P3DM technique and hopeful of replicating it in their own context.

Two years later in June 2011, the Batwa, with support from the ARCUS Foundation, began their own three-dimensional modelling of their ancestral territory, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.  More than 100 representatives from the Batwa communities surrounding Bwindi, including youth, elders, women and men attended the exercise over a three-week period.

Uganda's first Participatory Three-Dimensional Modelling Project was organised in 2011 in Kisoro by the Batwa, former hunter-gatherers who were evicted from two national parks 20 years ago.

More information:


Friday, December 23, 2011

Mapping with Drupal: Navigating Complexities to Create Beautiful and Engaging Maps

Mapping with Drupal is a concise guide shows you how to create custom interactive maps from top to bottom, using Drupal 7 tools and out-of-the-box modules.

You’ll learn how mapping works in Drupal, with examples on how to use intuitive interfaces to map local events, businesses, groups, and other custom data.

Although building maps with Drupal can be tricky, this book helps you navigate the system’s complexities for creating sophisticated maps that match your site design.
  • Get the knowledge and tools you need to build useful maps with Drupal today.
  • Get up to speed on map projections, the ethics of making maps, and the challenges of building them online
  • Learn how spatial data is stored, input by users, manipulated, and queried
  • Use the OpenLayers or GMap modules to display maps with lists, tables, and data feeds
  • Create rich, custom interactions by applying geolocation
  • Customize your map’s look and feel with personalized markers, map tiles, and map popups
  • Build modules that add imaginative and engaging interactions
Mapping with Drupal: Navigating Complexities to Create Beautiful and Engaging Maps

By Alan Palazzolo, Thomas Turnbull
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Release: December 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Climate Conversations - Combining traditional knowledge and climate science in Chad

Bouba Mal Yaya is a herdsman from the Fulani-Mbororo peoples in Chad. Along with his fellow herders, he had been expecting good grazing for his cattle this year but this has not been the case.

He is confused and frustrated. He had always been able to rely on his people’s age-old knowledge of their ecosystem to sustainably manage grazing. This traditional knowledge has been used by his people to develop strategies to cope with seasonal weather patterns and manage their meagre resources.
The community has typically looked to the elders for predictions on rainfall distribution, drought and other seasonal patterns. Now, it would appear that the reliability of their prediction is undermined by increasingly unpredictable weather and climate conditions. Their livelihoods and future as a culture are under threat.
The cause? Climate change.
Mbororo herders travel over great distances to graze their livestock. The impact of climate change has reduced the capacity of their traditional grazing lands with droughts and dwindling resources pushing them to herd their livestock further afield.
Some have lost their stock and have been forced to change their way of life, becoming semi-nomadic or sedentary. These lifestyle changes are not easy, and the pastoralists experience extreme hardship and loss of culture. The decreasing reliability of the elders’ predictions has had an impact on their trustworthiness within the community, further destabilising life for these people.
The situation is frustrating for everyone involved, especially considering that information which could help the pastoralists maintain their traditional way of life is already at hand. Climate change experts use modern monitoring and forecasting systems to generate a vast amount of information on past, present and future climate scenarios at international, regional and national scales.
The difficulty arises in communicating this information to grassroots level in a language that the people understand and that takes account of their traditional knowledge, prediction methods and existing local approaches to decision-making.
In a bid to adapt to the changing conditions and maintain their customary way of life, the Mbororo peoples are coming together with other pastoralists, meteorologists and African policy makers.
They share information relating to traditional and scientific knowledge and outline their needs. They also look at how to improve the exchange of data, knowledge and information needed to improve policy making to boost resilience to climate change at grassroots level.
Thanks to the contributions of the pastoralists, climate change experts are developing a greater understanding of traditional knowledge. This will enable them to package their information in a more manageable and user friendly way for the local community.
By making use of innovative information and communications technologies and participatory mapping techniques pastoralists hope to provide scientists with valuable insights into local weather and climate patterns and reporting on the impact of climate change. This essential data will enrich the information base available for research and analysis, ultimately developing more nuanced and locally accurate weather forecasts.
This data can then be used by the pastoralists to adapt as necessary to the changing conditions without having to abandon their way of life. Involving indigenous communities like the Mbororo in this process also paves the way for the creation of inclusive and more successful policy.
National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) for climate change will have greater value if they recognise the authoritative nature of traditional knowledge.
As part of this process, a meeting was hosted in November 2011 by the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee (IPACC), the Association des Femmes Peules Autochtones du Tchad (AFPAT)  and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA). At the meeting, indigenous people’s representatives from Chad, Niger, Kenya, Namibia and South Africa gathered with meteorologists to discuss these concerns.
In particular, they looked at how traditional knowledge of pastoralism and atmospheric science can be combined to respond to climate change risks. Their findings reinforced the need for both groups to work together to share information, data and knowledge, tackling the climate change issue together.
In follow up to the meeting, a participatory mapping exercise will take place on the edge of Lake Chad in the spring of 2012. By coming together with the experts and policy makers to build a Participatory 3-D model (P3DM) of their land, the two communities aim to bridge the gap between traditional contributions to the understanding of climate change on a local scale and scientific approaches to the challenge involving everyone in this activity.
This is a first for the pastoralist and scientific community. Neither group can solve the climate change problem alone. Together they can make a lasting difference for science and for a traditional way of life.

Read more:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Participatory 3D Modelling in Chamkar Valley, Bumthang, Bhutan

BHUTAN, 10 October, 2011 - On the special request of Honorable Minister Dr. Pema Gyamtsho, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF), Bhutan, three staff members from MENRIS, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) visited Bhutan to organize a training workshop and built a Participatory 3D Model (P3DM) in joint collaboration of MoAF, Bhutan and ICIMOD's Mountain Environment and Natural Resource Information System (MENRIS) at Ugyen Brown Swiss Farm, Chamkhar Valley, Bumthang, Bhutan.

The workshop was officially started through a meeting which was held at Bumthang on 17 September, 2011. The meeting was chaired by the Honorable Minister and other attendants were Member of Parliament, Governor of Bumthang Zongkhak, Senior Leaders and Media persons. In the meeting, Minister highlighted the importance of P3DM for the development of Bumthang and he also briefed about the expectations from the model. Further, the location for the P3DM was also decided to build at Ugyen Brown Swiss Farm, which was near by the newly being constructed airport. In the meeting, on behalf of ICIMOD team Mr. Govinda Joshi gave presentation on about P3DM.

The workshop participants have been from different institutes, organizations and communities. All together there were 47 participants. However, there were maximum participants not more than 20 on a day. The background of participants ranges from students to officials to government representatives to local community people and so on. The coordination was very good hence the work progress was very much according to the schedule. After completing the P3DM closing a ceremony was held in presence of Bumthang Governor, senior leaders, local community, training participants, and media. During the closing ceremony Mr. Govinda Joshi gave a presentation highlighting the construction process of P3DM with outline of the training/workshop and acknowledgement for the support from participants.  There were also certificate distributed to the training/workshop participants who participated for the entire duration.  The P3DM was then formally handed over to the Governor of Bumthang Dzongkhak.

According to ICIMOD Participatory 3-dimensional modelling (P3DM) is gaining importance as a tool to understand geographical dimensions at a local level in support of community-based local level planning and decision-making. The Bumthang model represents a typical Himalayas mountain landscape. The exercise involved the local community drawn from a cross-section of Bumthang settlements.

The model took about two weeks to complete and is now displayed in the Ugyen Wangchuk Institute
complex at Brown Swiss Farm, Bathpalathang, Chamkhar Valley, Bumthang.

Source: ICIMOD, Mountain Geoportal

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Traditional Forest-Related Knowledge: Sustaining Communities, Ecosystems and Biocultural Diversity

Exploring a topic of vital and ongoing importance, Traditional Forest Knowledge examines the history, current status and trends in the development and application of traditional forest knowledge by local and indigenous communities worldwide.

It considers the interplay between traditional beliefs and practices and formal forest science and interrogates the often uneasy relationship between these different knowledge systems.The contents also highlight efforts to conserve and promote traditional forest management practices that balance the environmental, economic and social objectives of forest management. It places these efforts in the context of recent trends towards the devolution of forest management authority in many parts of the world.

The book includes regional chapters covering North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Australia-Pacific region. As well as relating the general factors mentioned above to these specific areas, these chapters cover issues of special regional significance,  such as the importance of traditional knowledge and practices for food security, economic development and cultural identity.  Other chapters examine topics ranging from key policy issues to the significant programs of regional and international organisations, and from research ethics and best practices for scientific study of traditional knowledge to the adaptation of traditional forest knowledge to climate change and globalisation.

"Forestry, the oldest of the resource management sciences, has been coming under pressure in recent years to incorporate multiple values. Traditional Forest-Related Knowledge is remarkable for its comprehensive coverage of world regions and 'hot' topics such as globalization, climate change and research ethics. It is a unique book, marking a breakthrough with its authoritative treatment of alternative sources of knowledge and multiple perspectives, and contributing to a paradigm change in forest management."

Traditional Forest-Related Knowledge: Sustaining Communities, Ecosystems and Biocultural Diversity

Parrotta, John A.; Trosper, Ronald L. (Eds.)
2012, 2012, XXVI, 621 p. 77 illus., 58 in color.