A Rocha helps protect 450,000 hectares of biodiversity-rich but threatened forests across four African landscapes with a national organisation leading the work in their own country. Mobilizing, sharing and using biodiversity data lies at the heart of the organization's interventions.
Yet a wealth of data remain locked-up and unaccessible in collections and reports which, if digitized and published through GBIF, could be used for decision-making, both now and in the future.
Through access to and optimal use of data, this project seeks to protect the important forests of each landscape notably the Atewa forest of Ghana, the forests of the Kwande and Oban-Liku in Nigeria, West Bugwe in Uganda and the coastal forests and kayas of Kenya—all of international conservation importance.
Existing GBIF publishers A Rocha Kenya, A Rocha Ghana, Kenya Wildlife Service and National Museums of Kenya will look to build capacity in partners including the African Butterfly Research Institute and the A.P. Leventis Ornithological Research Institute (APLORI) through accessing and digitizing data and putting them to good use.
The project will help to create the best “body of evidence” possible to guide the conservation work and policy decisions of our focal landscapes by:
- strengthening the capacity of at least 10 African organisations in data mobilization
- unlocking over 100,000 species occurrence records
- creating relevant and applicable tools to interpret data
- putting these data at the heart of decisions by NGOs and government agencies for the sustainable management of important African forest landscapes.
A virtual inception meeting was held in May 2021 where the project goals and ambitions were presented. Four organizations: A Rocha Uganda, A Rocha Kenya, A Rocha Ghana and CSIR-FRI have started publishing datasets. Three project team members participated in the BID Africa virtual data mobilisation workshop organized by GBIF. After the workshop, the team organized four training sessions to share the knowledge and skills gained with the project partners to build their capacity in data mobilization and publishing. The four training sessions conducted included the following:
- Data entry according to Darwin Core (DwC) standard
- Data cleaning using openRefine
- Metadata writing
- Data publishing
Going forward, data collection training is expected to happen in 2022 before the end of June and the skills and knowledge acquired from the data use workshops will be upscaled to team members at partner institutions. The timing was selected to coincide with the data use phase of the project.
Apart from the mandatory milestones, the project has contributed to the expansion of the GBIF network by registering one institution, A Rocha Uganda (ARU), as a data publisher. Two other institutions, have been registered in the GBIF Registry of Scientific Collection (GRSciColl), i.e. ABRI and CSIR-FRI.
So far, the project has accomplished publication of 10 datasets on GBIF. The datasets have a total of 13,657 records.