The current National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP 2015-2020) for Tanzania emphasizes the need for mainstreaming freshwater biodiversity information into sector policies, plans, and programs, however, the lack of accessible, reliable, and ready to use freshwater invertebrate data hinder its effective implementation and thus realization of NBSAP 2015-2020 targets. Inadequate information on the geographical distribution of FIB further hampers decision-making for conservation.
This project aims at collating existing freshwater insect, mollusc and crustacean (FIMC) species data in northeastern Tanzania from various institutions and sources, including
- Tanzania Biodiversity Information Facility (TanBIF)
- river basins,
- natural history collections
with the goals of creating an accessible FIMC database to supplement the existing database under TanBIF, developing species distribution maps, establishing monitoring protocols and producing assessment status (IUCN Red List category) that can be adopted by policymakers and be integrated into decision-making processes by different stakeholders in different sectors.
The project outputs will be used as a framework to guide the formulation of effective FIMC conservation-related policy and guidelines that will address NBSAP 2015-2020, Aichi biodiversity targets and fulfilling national obligations. The long-term project objectives are to contribute substantially to the formulation of a platform where stakeholders feed FIMC data to foster conservation and sustainable use of freshwater ecosystems. This will promote the formation of linkages between TanBIF/GBIF and identified FIMC data holding stakeholders for sustainable monitoring of freshwater invertebrates at large.
An inception meeting was held in July 2021 and through this meeting all team members familiarized one-another and got a common understanding of the project goals and expected outputs. Awareness of the importance of mainstreaming Freshwater Insects Mollusks and Crustaceans (FIMC) data and enabling effective decision-making was enhanced among team members.
The project has made significant progress toward achieving its mobilization and evaluation phase deliverables. This includes:
- the first set of FIMC occurrence data set has been published through GBIF
- the FIMC data module within TanBIF portal is in formulation following user needs
- the project is currently processing Geo-coded data/GIS data for FIMC map development following the identified user needs
Communications made during various meetings and platforms have been contextualized to reflect the specific needs of user categories amongst these stakeholders. Emphasis has been put more on stakeholders responsible for conserving both the FIMC biodiversity and their habitat, the fisheries, communities who need to conserve the food chain to ensure sustainable fisheries production, and water basin authorities who need to monitor water quality indicators using some of the FIMC biodiversity data being mobilized. To communicate the results of the project the links to the published data have been shared through the NM-AIST website and shared with the key stakeholders and biodiversity informatics group in Tanzania.